Brand South Africa is proud to have collaborated with RapidLion – The South African International Film Festival – for the third consecutive year, hosting a panel discussion under the theme, “taking local cinema to South Africa’s masses”. The creative industry in South Africa evolves in leaps and bounds at an ever-increasing pace, and for this reason it is necessary to take stock of the strides taken and to identify tangible and sustainable opportunities for mass audience to have access to South African films and local cinemas.Brand South Africa’s participation at the RapidLion Film Festival extends from the 2018 Nation Brand Forum, where the role of film and the creative industries in shaping the Nation Brand was a vibrant topic on the agenda.The session sought to delve deep into the state and accessibility of South African cinema and exposure to local content by the masses. On the panel was actor and director of LK Theatres, Hlomla Dandala, Kasi Movie Nights’ Producer Thapelo Mokoena and The Peoples Fund founder, Luyanda Jafta, who gave us an extensive framework of just how much the film industry has improved since the traditional bioscope era.Although much growth has been achieved over the years, a great need remains to expose the broader South African audience to local content and films. This would, however, require an appetite for local authentic stories, adequate investment and financing from industry and ease of access for people to enjoy a cinematic experience, particularly, outside of urban areas.Watching a locally-produced film used to have limited audiences, but with product offerings like Kasi Movie Nights and LK Theatres, the script has been flipped. The panellists spoke about the different means in which they’ve packaged their cinema offering, taking cinema to eKasi (townships). These production houses have put research, innovation and fun behind taking the films into the community, aiming to create an experience beyond the classic 22-metre screen, popcorn and Coca Cola-style.“The South African Nation Brand is influenced by creative industries including music, film, visual arts and design (to name a few). This is definitely one-way of utilising a positive brand image of the country that is influenced by its people, telling their own stories through the film industry. The RapidLion Film Festival is a perfect fit in gaining insight from the creative industry on measures to advance South African arts and be recognised as competitive global player,” said Brand South Africa’s Dr Petrus De Kock who moderated the panel discussion.The Film Festival kicked off on Friday 1 March 2019, and is still currently running at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg, until 10 March, ending off with the prestigious Awards ceremony.About RapidLionRapidLion recognises the achievements and excellence of filmmakers who are born in Africa, are members of the African diaspora and are citizens of BRICS countries.