The last few years have proved turbulent for the international film industry. A wave of merger and acquisition activity has allowed the large entertainment companies to exert influence over the film value chain and raise entry barriers. At the same time there has been an organisational shift away from hierarchical production to a looser network structure wherein companies act as financing and distribution hubs, mobilising resources from outside. Although this has meant greater flexibility and lower overheads, it has also made assembling resources more problematic. These trends have important implications for South Africa, both threatening and opening up opportunities for the local film industry. This article looks at the current status and structure of the sector in an attempt to determine the implications of the international trends. It suggests that in this new arena, competitiveness is increasingly reliant on ease of contracting; audience development and effective distribution. As such, it reviews ways in which both the public and the private sector can help develop the responsiveness necessary for long-term growth.