By Phindi Maduna On 3 to 10 March 2018, Brand South Africa once again partnered with RapidLion – the South African International Film Festival to celebrate filmmaking at the Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg. The festival aims to market a variety of films from Africa, its diaspora, and the BRICS formation countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).This is the second year that Brand South Africa has partnered with the festival. This growing partnership is in line with Brand South Africa’s role to manage the reputation of the country. The South African film industry is a key selling point for our competitive edge as a nation and it plays a significant role in promoting the Nation Brand domestically and internationally.South Africa’s film industry is quite critical in how we are able to showcase the country in a positive light. Domestically the country is capable of producing world – class productions that are internationally acclaimed. Films like “Kalushi” and “Inxeba” (The Wound), have successfully addressed a wide range of social, economic and political issues in South Africa whilst promoting and creating awareness of South Africa as a culturally diverse country. South Africa also has top – notch, home grown talent that can compete with the best in the world; John Kani, Kim Engelbrecht and Anant Singh, to mention just a few.The local film industry has been able to positively influence the South African Nation Brand by building on our reputation for breath-taking and adaptable locations; highly skilled film crews, exceptional production facilities, and well equipped production companies who have been central to the production of international films and television shows.The benefits of South Africa’s growing film industry are clear, it brings foreign direct investment into the country. This involves the transfer of skills and development, creation of employment opportunities for many and enhancement the country’s international reputation.At this year’s festival, on 6 March, Brand South Africa hosted a consultation session with industry stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors under the theme Closing the loop – A strategy towards a sustainable independent and prosperous South African film industry. This session aimed to get ideas on better developing the industry.In this workshop Brand South Africa engaged with filmmakers on what the best strategy is to develop a film industry that the country can rely on to promote South Africa internationally on a long-term basis.“We recommend that the government creates a parallel film industry eco-system for the support of black film practitioners and make sure that all components of that eco-system and all the participants within that eco-system work together to maximize profits that are ploughed back into that eco-system to make more profitable films. This is what we call the ‘Closing the loop’ strategy”. Eric Miyeni, founder of RapidLion.It was concluded that coordination between all industry stakeholders is needed moving forward.