Durban FilmMart is Looking for African Film Projects with Strong Narratives

Submissions for documentary and feature film projects in development for the Durban FilmMart  (DFM) close next week on 31 January 2020. The organisers are making a special call-out to documentary filmmakers who have projects to submit.

“We invite documentary filmmakers to submit their projects no matter how early in its development it is, so long as it has a producer and director attached to it,” says Don Edkins well-known documentary filmmaker and the DFM’s documentary film mentor. “The DFM is a brilliant way in which filmmakers are able to galvanize interest in their ideas, get people excited about being involved or helping them develop the project. It may be that the project could then be taken to its next level by being invited to another market for further development, or find financing through the pitches. The possibilities are endless.”

The DFM, which takes place from 17 to 20 July 2020, will host 10 documentary and 10 feature projects at its co-production and finance forum. The producer, director or writer on the project must be an African citizen and can either be living on the continent or in the Diaspora.

‘Documentary filim has over the last years really come into its own,” enthuses Edkins. “We see how the genre has evolved from its more information-driven newsreel-style to a narrative or ‘story-driven’ approach,” he says. “It makes the film genre so much more accessible for its audience, drawing them in and engaging them, yet still making strong statements or creating its requisite impact.”

Countless film projects have gone from a simple concept and idea at the Durban FilmMart to the big screen over the 11 years.

Some examples include the 2011 project Buddha in Africa directed by Nicole Schafer (SA) which premiered at HotDocs 2019, and had its SA premiere at Encounters and won Best SA Documentary at DIFF making it eligible for consideration for an Oscar nomination.  2014 projects which made it to the big screen include Kula – a Memory in 3 Acts directed by Inadelso Cossa (Mozambique), The Colonel’s Stray Dogs directed by Khali Shamis (SA), The Sound of Masks directed by Sara Gouveia (SA/Mozambique), Alison directed by Uga Carlini (SA). The 2015 alumni projects which were completed include Amal directed by Mohamed Siam (Egypt), Not in my Neighbourhood directed by Kurt Orderson (SA), The Giant is Falling (working title After Marikana) directed by Rehad Desai (SA) had its international premiere at IDFA. The 2016 project The Letter directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King (Kenya) premiered at IDFA in 2019 and also from that year, Working Womxn directed by Shanelle Jewnarain (SA) is in production.

“There are plenty more examples of films that have pushed through from their initial concepts, into production and then onto distribution and or screening,” says Edkins. “The documentary film community in Africa is still small and working with the DFM we try to find new talent constantly and work with the industry to hold space for the documentary. I know there are highly creative and talented people out there who have brilliant ideas, and I would like to encourage them to submit these for consideration for this year’s edition.”

To submit a project go to

14th Annual South African Film & Television Awards Returns to Joburg

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) today officially announced that the SAFTAs (South African Film and Television Awards), will be hosted on the 27th (Craft Awards) and 28th (Main televised awards) of March 2020 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Gauteng. Having had a stint at Sun City in the North-West Provinces the SAFTAs are back in the city of gold. The NFVF, as the custodians of the SAFTAs mandated by the Department of Sports Arts and Culture, is proud to present the 14th instalment of these awards that recognises and honours South African talent, under the #LoveSATalent banner.

Over a two-day extravaganza, the industry will gather to once again witness the celebration and reward of the golden horn, as decided by a panel of over 200 judges. In a process that is run independent of any interference from the NFVF, the industry is called upon to make submissions in different categories and judging panels bear the heavy task of reviewing, debating and ultimately choosing the worthy nominees and ultimate winners.

This mammoth undertaking of running the industry awards would not be possible each year without the support of broadcast partners, commercial entities, as well as strategic partners who come on board to ensure that the industry gets the recognition they have worked hard for and the celebration they deserve. Some of the partners on board for SAFTAs 14 include but are not limited to Brand SA, SABC, M-Net, Mercedes Benz, Mall of Africa and Total.

From the most dramatic cinematography and characters we love to hate and gripping storylines, the SAFTAs 14, will bring all the drama and intrigue as the country’s production teams vie for the behind the scenes awards at the Craft Awards on Friday, 27 March 2019, and the main awards show on Saturday, 28 March 2019. Rolled out in their honour, the red carpet is sure to dazzle as the stars come out to play. Audiences will not be left behind as they too would have had their chance to participate in deciding the outcome of two Public vote categories: Most Popular TV Soap or Telenovela and Best TV Presenter   

 “We are cognisant of the criticism that has been levelled towards the SAFTAs in past instalments and we are keen to show the industry our commitment to benchmarking against best practise. To that end, the NFVF team met and consulted with the BAFTA’s team to see what learnings could be incorporated into making these awards better and as a result, some categories were revised, and we feel we are inching closer to having an award show with proper and continued industry buy-in.” Commented Makhosazana Khanyile, Chief Executive Officer of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF): “Ensuring the credibility of the awards within the industry meant reaching out to some production companies that had previously boycotted the SAFTAs and we are pleased to announce that both Word of Mouth Production (Muvhango) and Ferguson Films (The Queen) have once again entered their work for consideration into the awards. And we continuously aim to improve the prestige of the golden horn.” further commented Makhosazana Khanyile.

The 14th SAFTA’s ceremony will broadcast LIVE on Saturday, 28 March 2019 on SABC 2 at 19:00 from Sandton Convention Centre.

Follow the SAFTAs on all social media platforms for regular updates. Twitter: @saftas1 Instagram and Facebook: @saftassa

Uzalo Season 6 – New Faces Join cast!

It’s been six years since multiple award winning TV drama Uzalo hit South African TV screens, building up a loyal following by delivering riveting storylines, loveable characters and heart-stopping cliffhangers that kept audiences coming back for more.

The drama, now going into it’s sixth season, began as a 3 day a week broadcast on SABC1, and since then, has built up to South Africa’s most popular drama, airing 5 evenings weekly.   In it’s 6 years of existence, Uzalo has turned a host of unknown talent into household names and showcased the province to devoted audiences nationwide.  The drama has also been home to some of South Africa’s most established acting talent, who’ve played a major part in creating the magic that viewers have enjoyed.  

True to form, the beginning of every season brings on fresh faces on Uzalo –  viewers will be introduced to a number of new characters who’re set to deliver exciting twists to existing storylines. The timid but suspicious Thulani, played by Thulane Shange enters as the long lost son of Gxabhashe (played by Mpumelelo Bulose)  . Classy and dignified,  Khehla’s mother Nomcebo “Cebo”, played by Nombulele Mhlongo will also joining the cast to add her own brand of spice to the plot.  Rounding off the new faces is the perfect gentleman and savvy businessman,  Mpumelelo “Mpume”, who will be portrayed by Fezile Makhanya – he’s set to shake up Sbu’s world in an interesting way.

With each new season comes the inevitable bittersweet goodbye – The much loved Khehla Qhabanga’s son, played by Thobani Nzuza will bid the series farewell.  

As always, we’re excited about the new talent joining and cast, and the three new faces joining the family are no exception.” Comments Brenda Mukwevho Creative Director and DirectorWe have some great plot twists coming up, and cannot wait for audiences to see what the cast will deliver!  We also thank Thobani for the great work he did as part of the Uzalo family – he gave his all, and we are grateful to have been able to work with him.”

#MyRadioPeople : Vuma FM’s Gabriel Sithole

Why radio?After all these years, radio is still cool and relevant. Besides, chicks dig it. 

Which other radio stations have you worked at?Community:

Comuta FM (Johannesburg)

Radio Helderberg (Cape Town)
Commercial: Gagasi FM (Durban)

Kfm (Cape Town)

East Coast Radio (Durban)

Vuma FM (Durban)

Did you study radio? No. I have never studied for radio. I guess it was a natural talent…if there’s such a thing. 
Besides Radio, which other side projects are you currently busy with or are involved in?Now you talking! I’m on my exit in radio. It’s been 20 years. Basically, since Thabo Mbeki was president. Since Tata was alive. Since Desmond Dube was funny. Naah, It’s time to go. 
I’m a professional Wildlife &Nature Photographer, Ford Wildlife Foundation ambassador, Conservationist and qualified SA Specialist in Tourism. 

Who is your South African Radio Icon?I would say the late Bongani Cyril “Kansas City” Mchunu and Mandla Malakoane. The rest I work/have worked with in various stations, so they are my colleagues per say. 

What can we expect from you in the next 5 years?Expect to see my work on National Geographic on TV and endless interviews on newspapers. Expect to see the BEST Wildlife Photographer in Africa, a Black one at that. 

How often do you listen to other radio stations and which radio stations do you usually listen to?
Hardly hey. I like Radio 2000. They are talking to me age-wise and music-wise. They are the cool nerds! 

What has working on radio taught you?You can get fired anytime. Never settle down in one place. When you late for work…everybody knows. Unpaid leave is real on radio! On the positive, it is humbling to be able to touch people’s lives on a daily basis. There’s a difference between speaking and talking. Find that difference. 

What advice can you give to aspiring radio broadcasters?Okay. Honestly speaking. Don’t be you-there’s social media for that…be relevant. Don’t debate anything on air-be engaging…learn atleast five new things a day.  Engagement means you are able to listen. Debating means you are unmoved. Radio is like a football career. You will swop teams. You will have difficulties. You won’t impress management all the time. RUN from fame…just do your job.  South Africa has 11 official languages. If you broadcast in one language for 40 years, will that make you a legend in radio? Should we honour you? Let that sink in!!!!

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