4413 Lazarus and tag

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Lazarus Attorneys provides Entertainment Law services to a local and international client base.


Lazarus Attorneys provides legal services to established and emerging businesses and creative individuals in the feature film, television, music, new media and creative industries worldwide.

The firm draws on the industry specific knowledge and experience of its founder, Deborah Lazarus, who has over 20 years’ experience working in the Entertainment Law field. Operating out of Cape Town, South Africa, Lazarus Attorneys offers world-class legal expertise and services to clients in South Africa and internationally.

Our clients include award-winning production companies, independent producers, script writers, directors, performers, composers, musicians, authors, fine artists, financiers, investors, insurance companies, completion guarantors, sales agents, distributors, and media corporations.

View information about our legal services offered, here.

Legal Services
Comprehensive industry knowledge, sector focused expertise

Lazarus Attorneys provide advice on, negotiate and draft all agreements relevant to the development, production and exploitation of feature films, television programmes and series, new media productions, music and the creative industries generally.

Our comprehensive entertainment law services for feature films, television programmes and series and new media productions include the following:

Our feature film, television and new media production development services include:

– advice on financial structures for film, television and new media productions

– negotiating and drafting financing and investment deals

– chain-of-title analysis and the preparation of chain-of-title and copyright reports and reviews for financiers, distributors, and production companies

– advising on and negotiating and drafting:

  • option / purchase and rights acquisition agreements for life stories, novels, screenplays, remakes, sequels / prequels, spin offs and formats
  • international and local South African co-production agreements including multi-jurisdictional co-productions and official treaty co-productions
  • producer, executive producer, director, script writer, performer and other talent and crew agreements – including WGA, SAG-AFTRA and DGA member agreements
  • joint venture and collaboration agreements
  • corporate formation, shareholder and other related agreements
  • development and commissioning agreements
  • composer, synchronisation, and master use music licensing agreements and publishing agreements
  • distribution, pre-sale and sales agent agreements
  • collection account management agreements
  • completion bond agreements
  • confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements
  • escrow agreements for WGA, SAG-AFTRA and DGA talent


– production rebate, tax incentives and tax credit applications advice


All pre-production, principal photography and post-production legal services including:

– cast and crew agreements and releases

– location agreements

– service level agreements

– product placement agreements and sponsorships

– electronic press kit agreements

– immigration law and visa requirement advice

– production insurance policy and claims advice

– all legal matters related to and arising during production

We assist producers and content owners in meeting the legal requirements necessary for proper delivery of their production to the distributor or OTT platform.

We also provide legal support to distribution companies.

Our assistance includes:

– conducting chain-of-title and copyright reviews and compiling reports on the productions’ existing agreements

– advising on terms contained in distribution agreements and any distributor compliance requirements

– assisting clients with any legal deliverables required by distributors and OTT platforms, including drafting agreements, collating and listing relevant documentation and drafting any affidavits relevant to delivery

– negotiating and drafting license agreements and purchase / sale agreements

In addition to our transactional entertainment law practice we provide:

– copyright protection and enforcement advice and litigation and dispute resolution services

– trademark registration and enforcements services

– defamation and personality law advice and opinions

– registration of copyright in cinematograph films services legal assistance

– immigration law and visa application services and advice

– film censorship and media law services

“Deborah has been in our corner at Be Phat Motel Film Co since the inception of the company. Over fifteen years, she’s overseen our biggest and smallest projects, navigated our trickiest deals, laid a rock-solid legal foundation to all of our work and fought hardest for us when we needed it. Her meticulous attention to detail and uncompromising commitment to her clients’ needs is unparalleled. I can’t more strongly recommend her.”

Sean Drummond

Be Phat Motel Film Co


Deborah Lazarus is the founder and director of Lazarus Attorneys Inc.

A leading South African ENTERTAINMENT LAW attorney, Deborah Lazarus has extensive experience representing and advising corporate and individual clients on all sides of the entertainment industry.

Admitted to practice law in California and South Africa, Deborah spent 4½ years in Los Angeles working at a top boutique entertainment law firm where she gained invaluable experience and knowledge relating to high-profile A-list talent deals, studio deals and the workings of Hollywood.

Since 2007 Deborah has provided legal services and advice to the entertainment industry in South Africa and also to clients in other parts of the world.

She has worked on hundreds of entertainment law related matters and her clients include film makers, production studios, financiers, distributors, writers, directors, producers, composers, musicians, performers, completion bonders, fine artists and other corporations, businesses and individuals working in the film, television, music industries and involved in content creation and exploitation.

Deborah has successfully negotiated and closed film and television production deals with contracting parties in, amongst others, the United States, Canada, Brazil, the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, South Africa and Mauritius. She has also been involved in and advised clients on complex multi-jurisdictional financing and co-production deals.

Deborah created an Entertainment Law certificate course for the University of Cape Town’s Law @ Work programme which she taught to film producers and attorneys in South Africa.

Deborah has also spoken at film festivals and entertainment industry events, including the Durban International Film Festival, the Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival and for events and lectures organised by the Cape Film Commission about entertainment law and intellectual property law.


Admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa   (1996 –2010)

Member of the State Bar of California   (2005 – to present)

Admitted to practice as an Attorney in South Africa   (2011 – to present)



Bachelor of Arts (English and Archaeology) (1991), University of Cape Town

Bachelor of Laws (1994), University of Cape Town

View Deborah Lazarus' IMDb profile

“I have known Deborah for more than 15 years. During this time I have used her services in both my professional capacity and personally. She has acted for Hollard Film Guarantors in drafting completion guarantees which are very specific contracts for the Entertainment Industry and has recently completed a suite of complex documents encompassing a host of agreements about life rights.  She is incredibly thorough and will not “sign off” until every possibility has been explored.

I have no hesitation in recommending her to Producers in the Entertainment Business.”

Paul Raleigh

Hollard Film Guarantors

“Deborah has worked with Spier Films for over 10 years on multiple different national and international film and television productions and co-productions. She has expertise, not only in regard to Los Angeles based Guilds and US lawyers, but also in regard to the legal and financial matters in the entertainment business in South Africa.

Apart from her expertise and experience, however, Deborah also brings a dedication to her work, and a work ethic, which I have not found before. Deborah and I have spent many a night dealing with US transaction that have gone into the morning hours and there has never been a time she was unavailable. She has often gone well above and beyond the call of duty.

Finally, in her thoroughness, I have always known Deborah has our back covered when it comes to the large transactions we have done together. In our business this invaluable comfort.”

Michael Auret

Spier Films

Of the hundreds of entertainment law related matters we have provided legal services for, below are some projects we can publicly disclose:

“What makes Deborah Lazarus a very fine lawyer for representation in the media industries, is that she is extremely thorough, very knowledgeable on the complexities of intellectual property law and understands the constraints and pressure under which creative people, generate work. Debbie constantly makes sure that you are aware of the implications of each step in the legal process, has great talent and expertise in the commercial skills of drafting agreements and has the rare skill of being able to consider both sides of often difficult contested situations and negotiate deals with a practical head but never forgetting who she represents. Her warmth and interest in the arts, adds to a very engaged relationship.”

Philip Miller


Image: Tobias Reich – unsplash.com


Physical Address:
Unit A14
The Woodstock Foundry
150,170 Albert Road
Cape Town
Western Cape

Postal Address:
Suite #195
Private Bag X18