Feeding the Film Industry

Sixteen-hour days, hundreds of hungry crew members, and a lot of pressure—two Garden Route caterers share their experiences.

Film locations (whether in a studio or on location) are closed sets where the shooting schedule strictly adheres to the call sheet for that day.

It’s not an environment where the cast and crew can’t go to nearby restaurants when they’re hungry, have a leisurely bite, and then return when they’re done.

Time is money, and keeping a couple of hundred film crew members fed swiftly and nutritiously so they can return to the process of making art is demanding work.

Pl Catering is based in Sedgefield, Garden Route, and is owned by Ian Perryman and Dale Engelbrecht.

They are thrilled to have had the opportunity to offer their services to the film industry, with additional productions and upcoming prospects on the horizon.

“Tourism is a passion of mine, and since arriving in the Garden Route in 2005, I quickly learned as a new business owner that foreign holidaymakers disappear during particular times of the year, and you have to start looking for other businesses to keep your doors open,” says Ian Perryman.

“Throughout my early years as a Sedgefield accommodation provider, I was fortunate to meet with a few individuals from the film industry, both local and international.”

They came to the Garden Route to scout for the ideal location and suppliers and to determine what was needed for their upcoming production.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a local film organization in the Garden Route to go to for information?” they’d ask.

In later years, the Garden Route Film Commission came along, and I duly registered as a member to be an accommodation supplier and, more recently, as a catering company. I didn’t really understand the needs of the film industry, but through guidance and support from the GRFC, I have been able to work through film tenders and referrals and secure contracts for catering and as an accommodation provider”, said Ian.

“What a difference these opportunities have made to our small business and others that we support locally.”

In 2021 and 2022, we catered for a crew of over 200 people, filming a reality series for a German film company.

“Just in catering, this created employment for 25 people from the Plett community and dozens more from the rest of the Garden Route in other departments,” said Dale.

They had 7 weeks of hands-on training, learned new skills, and earned a salary.

PL Catering had a local spend in year one of R1,535,000.00 and in year two of R2,320,000.00.

This was shared locally with Garden Route suppliers for food, drinks, packaging, and staffing.

Financially, the following areas benefited:

Plett 38%, Knysna 30%, Sedgefield 12%, and George 9%

The financial impact of such a production in our area is huge and so needed after COVID.

A very grateful Ian Perryman from PL Catering and Pelican Lodge Guesthouse would like to thank the team at the Garden Route Film Commission for continuing to bring awareness to film in the Garden Route area in a way that attracts more prospective production companies to come capture this area on film and support locals.

Patrick Walton, Chairperson of the Garden Route Film Commission, responded, “Film tourism has the potential to generate increased and consistent sales for local tourism businesses providing bespoke services such as overnight accommodation, transport, and catering, and it is critical that the Garden Route industry capitalizes on this opportunity to further drive South African tourism and boost the local economy.” “A thriving film industry benefits the tourism sector tremendously, which ultimately contributes to the growth of the local film industry, economic development, skills development and job creation.” Working alongside of the local Municipalities and Tourism organisations, the GRFC has seen a marked increase in film productions in these areas.” added Walton.

Back Left to Right: Ian, Gavin, Barnaby, Themba
Middle: Siya, Thandi, Brenda, Paula, Carol, Felicia, Deverdine, Sharlene, Dale 
Front:  Nadene, Elna, Sesley

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