Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Zanzibar International film festival to focus on SA

Celebrations The 7th ZIFF Festival (25th June - 4th July) 2004
of the Dhow Countries will recognize the global significance of South Africa's tenth anniversary of independence. Film and Music and Performing Arts programmes will feature South Africa 10! with cutting edge and award winning film making and musical performances.

Amongst the movies shown is Sidney Kentridge's Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris.

The evolution of the South African film and music industries into global players has particular resonance for East Africa and the Dhow Region. Through workshops, discussions and other film and music industry events the experiences and professional know-how will be shared with the aim of empowering the film and music industries within the East African and the Dhow Regions.

The festival which is held annualy on the beautiful Zanzibar Island will feature the following impressive South African features, documentaries and animation.

A Fisherman’s Tale
And There In The Dust
Being African
Being Pavarotti
Bessie Head
Black Sushi
Body Beautiful
Byale / Female circumcision
Culture Clash
Die Tamat / The Tamat
Felix in Exile
Freedom is a Personal Journey
History of The Main Complaint
Hot Wax
Ikhaya / Home
Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris
Memories of Rain
Mine
Mix
Monument
Mozart-The Music of the Violin
Nabantwa Bam / With All My Children
Pitch Fever
Senter / Center
Small Street
Sobriety and Growing Old
Soldiers of the Rock
Solly's storyStereoscope
Strong Enough
The Flyer
The Zanzibari Connection
Through the Eyes of my Daughter
Triomfeer / Triumph
Under the Rainbow
Weighing…and Wanting

Read more

Get the festival programme here

Friday, June 25, 2004

Wat kyk jy? - The final frontier


Irak lief Wat Kyk Jy Posted by Hello

To explain the Wat Kyk Jy? website to someone who’s not Afrikaans is a pretty tall order. But in short, it’s a South African site written in Afrikaans about everything that’s wrong with being Afrikaans… and yet being damn proud of it at the same time.

www.watkykjy.co.za is the shamed family member of the rainbow nation. He’s your dirty uncle with the Scopes (top shelf mags) under his mattress, your cousin that married your cousin, your aunt that dresses up like a 80’s weather presenter and gave birth to a daughter with a tail. We all have them… don’t we?

WKJ? has one mission, one goal… if it’s zef, we’ll cover it, we’ll write about it, we’ll live it. Which bring me nicely to “zef”. “Zef” is a unique Afrikaans word – it’s slang for bad taste, tacky, kitsch (but not in an ironic way), bonehead and everything else that’s just a bit off. Examples being; patch leather jackets, guys in pick-up trucks listening to 2Unlimited, mullets, souped-up cars with topless girls on the bonnet, the list is endless. Yes, it is true that a lot of these things do rear their ugly heads in other countries too, but Afrikaans culture is the mothership of “zef”, the daddy so to speak.

The name Wat kyk jy? literally means “what are you looking at?” but can also loosely be translated to “What’s your problem?”. It’s usually the last words you hear before the punch lands, your head hits the floor and you wet yourself with fear. It’s the words so often used by the Afrikaans alpha male – the embracer of all things zef.

www.watkykjy.co.za is a community, a collective in the true sense of the word for people who share a common crappy backyard. Everyone can contribute, but primarily it’s the musings of the founding members who tell their stories to the Afrikaans massive. This is the sub culture’s only true bombastic voice, frank about their mistakes, lovingly embracing their shortcomings. WKJ? has a cult following because it cuts through the bullshit, it’s honest and upfront and doesn’t make excuses. This website is proud of being South African even if it is a bit special-needs, twisted and born with a tail.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Skilpoppe


Die lewe is maar moeilik Posted by Hello

Skilpoppe is a South African Afrikaans feature film based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Barrie Hough.

Skilpoppe tells the story of Anna Meyer, a schoolgirl who has recently been awarded the role of Juliet in her school production of “Romeo and Juliet”. Her apparent inability to embrace the darker aspects of this role is a symptom of the turmoil she is experiencing in her real life – turmoil caused by her gay older brother’s suicide a few months earlier. The story traces her attempt to hold her family together while ensuring that she herself does not fall apart.

The Meyer family’s inability to deal with their tragedy leads to repressed emotions and literal flight from the problem. Anna’s parents leave for a European trip while her older sister, Elise, seeks the blissful void found in the drug, crack. Anna is left to contend with Elise’s downward spiral and the presence of her shady boyfriend, Julian. Her strongest ally is Ching-Kung – her brother’s Taiwanese lover – whose presence is strongly resented by her parents.

As Anna tries to hold the home together, the rehearsal process of playing Juliet serves as a catalyst for her own buried feelings of guilt and remorse to come to the surface. Add into her dilemma a burgeoning romance with her real-life Romeo, and Anna soon realises that even though she tries to display maturity beyond her years, she is only a seventeen-year-old girl – a girl who is not coping. The return of her parents and her opening night force Anna to confront her own role in her brother’s suicide and set the stage for an emotionally cathartic finale.

Skilpoppe taps into the zeitgeist of the South African youth – where tragedy is a part of life and growing up can be a brutal but beautiful experience. This is a story that has great appeal to a youth audience across cultural and racial boundaries (reflected in the fact that the novel continues to be prescribed as a set work for all language groups in secondary schools nationwide). Losing a family member to suicide is a concern felt by families in every community. Skilpoppe is a cautionary tale about the breakdown of communication that is caused by fear of cultural, sexual or ideological differences, and of the devastating aftermath wrought by this. It also suggests that healing can take place when these lines of communication are opened.

Skilpoppe is directed by Andre Odendaal from a script by Lizz Meiring, who also takes a leading role as Anna’s drama teacher and confidante. Talented newcomer Kate Ascott-Evans takes the pivotal role of Anna. She is supported by two legends of South African stage and screen, Marius Weyers and Sandra Prinsloo, who play her parents. Other key roles are filled by Paul du Toit, Kenneth Fok, Therese Benade, Makgano Mamabolo and June van Merch.

Skilpoppe the novel was first published by Tafelberg in 1998. It is an insightful, compelling and moving look at a South African family tragedy, seen through the eyes of a seventeen year-old girl. Since its publication, Skilpoppe has received three literary awards including the Sanlam gold prize for Youth Literature. It has been nominated for the IBBI International Youth Literary award and is currently in its fifth printing.

Penguin Films is adapted the novel into a feature length made-for-television film as part of M-Net’s Movie of the Month initiative. This initiative was created by M-Net to give a boost to the local film industry and commission eight new local feature films. Skilpoppe was one of the eight projects chosen from over one hundred entries. The screen adaptation was done by accomplished actress and playwright, Lizz Meiring.

The marketing bit:

Skilpoppe follows in the tradition of films like “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Billy Elliot” as a depiction of youthful experience in a realistic, sometimes humourous, often harrowing and uncompromising manner. It deals with universal issues that include suicide, drug abuse and homophobia in a specifically South African context.

Skilpoppe is funded by M-Net, Sasani and Penguin Film Services and produced by Roberta Durrant of Penguin Films. It was shot in Cape Town.

Forgiveness

Written by prolific scribe Greg Latter, directed by lauded commercials director Ian Gabriel, produced by Cindy Gabriel (Giant Films) and starring internationally recognized South African actors Arnold Vosloo (Hard Target, The Mummy and The Mummy Returns), Zane Meas (Isidingo), Quanita Adams (Valley Song, At Her Feet) Christo Davids (Shooting Bokkie) and Lionel Newton (Jump The Gun), is due for release in South Africa in 2004.

Forgiveness is based on the story of Tertius Coetzee, an ex-apartheid policeman, (played by Vosloo) who resigned from the South African Police Force after giving evidence at the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings. He has recently been granted amnesty for his crimes but remains tormented by a bad conscience - the family of one of the victims he 'eliminated' did not come forward during the hearings and, for Coetzee, forgiveness remains incomplete. His search for the Grootboom family leads him back to the windswept town of Paternoster and triggers a ferocious series of revelations as events rapidly spiral in and out of control.


Staan dood stil, anders...  Posted by Hello

The story of one man's quest for absolution amid a people destroyed by the weight of his sins.

Synopsis

Granted amnesty for crimes committed in the name of Apartheid, ex-South African cop Tertius Coetzee, played by Arnold Vosloo, still feels shackled by the sheer weight of his sins. For Tertius and his bloodstained hands, forgiveness lies in the windswept, austere fishing town of Paternoster, where the family of one of his victims live. As he enters Paternoster, Tertius realizes that this final mission for redemption could be his last.

With the help of the local Priest, Tertius is able to set up a meeting with the Grootboom family. Although loathe to have the murderer of their son, Daniel, enter their house, the Grootboom family acquiesce. An awkward and uncomfortable atmosphere pervades the tense setting. The father, Hendrik, (Zane Meas) is a fisherman, barely able to support his wife, Magda (Denise Newman), eldest daughter, Sannie (Quanita Adams) and youngest son, Ernest. (Christo Davids) The last thing they need is for the past to be dug up. It turns ugly, as an especially outraged Ernest and Sannie confront Tertius. How dare he set foot in their house?

Tertius leaves the Grootboom household resigned to the fact that forgiveness will seemingly never come. Sannie, meanwhile, makes a call to Llewellyn Meintjies (Elton Landrew), Daniel's former friend and activist comrade. The news that Tertius is in Paternoster hits too close to home for Llewellyn, after-all he and his two comrades were the reason Daniel was tortured to death by the police. Llewellyn hatches a revenge scheme and implores Sannie to do whatever she can to keep Tertius in Paternoster, until he can round up his "brothers in arms", thunder into town and exact poetic justice.

So begins a visceral race against the clock, as Sannie begins to doubt her feelings of anger toward Tertius, and tries to notify Llewellyn and his fiery comrades, Zuko (Hugh Masebenza) and Luke (Lionel Newton), to turn back. But the angels of death are fueled by a dark secret that spurs them on relentlessly through the harsh outback of the Karoo desert. Retribution, culpability and forgiveness are all on the cards, and all bets are off!

The marketing bit...
Forgiveness is the first, highly anticipated, debut film by director Ian Gabriel. The elegiac and harrowing story comes from the pen of prolific screenwriter Greg Latter. Expect an evocative journey into the heart of darkness where the sins of the past are revisited in the present. Like Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas and Eastwood's Unforgiven, the powerful themes at work in Forgiveness will cast a lasting spell over you.

Duration 115 min
Production Date 2004
Format HD and 35mm, Dolby SR 5.1
Production Company Giant Films

Executive Producers Jeremy >> Nathan and Joel Phiri
Writer >> Greg Latter
Director >> Ian Gabriel
Producer Cindy >> Gabriel
Director Of Photography >> Giulio Biccari
Production Designer >> Leon van der Merwe
Editor >> Ronelle Loots
Production Company >> Giant Films

Key Cast
Tertius Coetzee >> Arnold Vosloo
Sannie Grootboom >> Quanita Adams
Hendrik Grootboom >> Zane Meas
Magda Grootboom >> Denise Newman
Ernest Grootboom >> Christo Davids
Father Dalton >> Jeremy Crutchley
Llewellyn >> Elton Landrew
Luke >> Lionel Newton
Zuko >> Hugh Masebenza
Eva >> Nan Hamilton


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

SA final entries up 14% at Cannes

The number of South African entries remained consistent with last year's good showing, with film seeing the biggest increase: 158 entries compared to 133 in 2003. Predictably, the USA has the most entries, with 2660.

More Hollywood stars heading for Cape Town

A big yawn!

The list of Hollywood stars jetting into the Mother City for film shoots is getting bigger - Oscar winners Nicolas Cage and Sean Penn will be filming new movies in Cape Town. Cage will be playing a Russian arms dealer in the film Lord Of War.

It is written and directed by Andrew Niccol, who was nominated for an Oscar for writing the screenplay for The Truman Show and also directed Gattaca.

Filming is expected to start in Cape Town in August. Cage is also one of the producers of the film. The movie also stars Monica Bellucci, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto and Donald Sutherland.

South African actress Tamsin MacCarthy, 30, is hoping to play a part in the movie. "I've auditioned for the role of a woman who has a brief affair with Cage's character while he is in Mozambique," she said.

Penn and his wife, Robin Wright-Penn, star in The Last Face, which will be shot in Cape Town next month.

The movie, directed by Erin Dignam, stars Javier Bardem and Wright-Penn as two relief workers in Africa who fall in love.

Penn has a supporting role as a journalist.

Source: IOL.co.za

Monday, June 21, 2004

Surfrikan - Dialectics from Durban

Howzit bru,

What's vaaing ekse? This page makes me woes. You ou's don't have a span of words from Durban! A connection at graft dialled me into your website yesterday, and it made me lag. I am an expat from Durban, with a porsie in Sydney, Oz. It was keef to read this but made me mal that I couldn't choon the ous at graft. Blind ekse.


No idea what this person is on about? Then see the dictionary of South African surfer slang here.

Some examples...

Aikona
(No way, absolutely not)

Aita! ('Ay-tah')(Greeting)
"Aita brah!" Originated in the townships among the youth, and still used. It's common among politically correct (PC) people. Rabid racists in the past have miraculously become PC people.





Saturday, June 19, 2004

Weekend tribute to beloved country

Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff is hosting a weekend of films that demonstrate the vibrancy and variety of contemporary South African movie-making. The South Africa on Film celebration, which runs from June 18 to 20, includes 14 films.
The festival opens with a screening of Saturday Night at the Palace, a gripping thriller that analyses white working-class fears and prejudices. It follows two working class whites who arrive at an isolated roadhouse and proceed to take out their racial frustrations on the black waiter.

Soldiers of the Rock is an impressive student-fuelled feature film, directed by the star alumnus of the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance. It plays at Chapter on June 19.

On the same day, there is a film that all the family can enjoy, the classic movie Cry, The Beloved Country, which stars Sidney Poitier.

Welsh hero Stanley Baker heads the cast of Dingaka, which will be screened on June 20. He plays a lawyer in this story of a tribal African who comes to Johannesburg to search for a sangoma who was responsible for the death of his son.

Also featured is racial vampire horror Pure Blood , the documentary Karoo Guitar Blues and Dust Devil.
The closing film in the South Africa on Film season is Gums and Noses, a black comedy about cocaine, advertising and self-esteem.

Read more

Friday, June 18, 2004

Dust Devil

South Africa/UK/1994/100 mins/18. Dir: Richard Stanley.

On an endless stretch of road in the Namibian desert, a hitch hiker – who is in fact a soul taker – hitches rides and takes the lives of those who are tired of life. The impoverished town of Bethany, where everything is dying, beckons him. Only the seer, an unemployed ex-projectionist, can see the outcome. Steeped in the mythology of Africa, Dust Devil is South African director Richard Stanley’s finest work.

http://kwailawai.blogspot.com/2004/06/dust-devil.html

Dingaka

Welsh hero Stanley Baker heads the cast of Dingaka as a lawyer, with leggy dancer-actress Juliet Prowse as his leading lady. Ken Gampu’s amazing presence and mellifluous voice carried the film and its story of a tribal African who comes to Johannesburg to search for a sangoma who was responsible for the death of his son.

South Africa/1964/90 mins/PG. Dir: Jamie Uys.

Pure Blood

Ken Kaplan

Winner of a Lucio Fulci award for Best Film at Rome’s Fantafest, Ken Kaplan’s feature debut is an audacious mix of horror genre conventions and acerbic references to South Africa’s past and present.

These are no ordinary bloodsuckers, these are racist vampires who insist on an Aryan lineage to the fluids they consume. Graced with a great soundtrack of 60s hits, the film shows a great talent for the fantastical, delivered with teeth planted firmly in the cheek.

South Africa/2001/90 mins/18. Dir: Ken Kaplan.

Cry the beloved country

UK/1951/103 mins/PG. Dir: Zoltan Korda.

Sidney Poitier is among the stars of this classic exposé of racist attitudes, with a script by the author of the original novel, Alan Paton. The Reverend Kumalo journeys apprehensively to Johannesburg to find his errant son. His experiences of the city soon confirm his fears. The son is played by Lionel Ngakane, who became a figurehead for the post-apartheid South African cinema and who died at the end of 2003.

Soldiers of the rock


The soldiers of the rock Posted by Hello

An immensely impressive student-fuelled feature film, directed by the star alumnus of the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance.

Inspired by a news report about a fatal rock blast in the Harmony gold mine, the film tells the story of Vuyo, a student whose father dies in a mining accident and gives up his studies to experience for himself the dangerous working conditions that were his father’s everyday reality. An award winner at the 2003 Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival and 2003 Sithengi Cape Town International Cinema Festival.

South Africa/2003/98 mins/ctba. Dir: Norman Maake.



Saturday night at the palace

Two working class whites arrive at an isolated roadhouse on a motorbike and proceed to take out their racial frustrations on the black waiter.

Paul Slabolepsky, who wrote the play upon which the film is based, plays a violent, unemployed racist psychopath with a big mouth and director Davies, although limited to the single location of the drive-in diner, creates a cinematically complex work which operates as a gripping thriller while at the same time analyzing white working-class fears and prejudices.

The film deals with an evening in the lives of three South Africans, two white and one black. The black man, September (John Kani), works at a roadhouse at which all three characters are destined to meet later that night.

Synopsis
It is September's last night on duty at the roadhouse before he leaves to visit his family who he has not seen for two years. His wife and children live far away in a black homeland and are not permitted by law to live with him in the city.

We first meet one of the white characters, Vince (Paul Slabolepszy), at a soccer stadium where he has just been dropped from the team. Through his friend Forsie (Bill Flynn) we learn that Vince has been kicked out of the house they share together. Forsi has been saddled with the responsibility of breaking this news to Vince by Dougie (Arnold Vosloo) who is in charge of the house.

Vince and Forsie meet downtown on the way to the party. Too scared to tell Vince he no longer has a room at the house, Forsie tries unsuccessfully to get Vince to call Dougie from the party. Vince catches Forsie trying to leave the party without him. Forsie is desperate as he now has no alternative but to return home with Vince.

As a last attempt Forsie stops at the roadhouse hoping to find a callbox. It is at the roadhouse that the main action of the film takes place.

Vince and Forsie arrive as September is closing the roadhouse for the night. Finding the callbox out of order Forsie must finally confront Vince with the news himself.

Tensions build and September finds himself the scapegoat for Vince's frustrations and racial prejudice. Vince also lets loose inside the roadhouse kitchen destroying everything he can lay his hands on. September is responsible for the roadhouse, but his position is made more untenable because of working and living in a white area without a pass.

Vince's revelation that he had 'had' Forsie's dream girl, Sally (Joanna Weinberg), earlier that night at the party precipitates unforseen consequences for all three.

At the end of the film Forsie is faced with a choice which is in small the dilemma of the white South African today.


South Africa/1987/89 mins/15. Dir: Robert Davies.

Starring Bill Flynn, John Kani, Paul Slabolepszy, Joanna Weinberg, Arnold Vosloo

Director(s) Robert Davies

Screenwriter(s) Paul Slabolepszy, Bill Flynn

Production Company Davnic





Revolution in London's trendy hub


The revolution continues Posted by Hello

They might not sport Hoxton fins but Revolution is playing in London as part of the City of London festival on Friday 9 July at the Spitz in Shoreditch.

More about Revolution - Identical twins George and Joseph Mothiba have come a long way since the days when they were backing dancers for leading house music DJ Christos in the mid 90's.

In 2002, after having released two albums, this Afro-house production and DJ duo who were born in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, had their breakthrough success with an album called The Journey.

The Journey takes you on an exciting trip that explores the richness of African music; from the entrancing rhythms of Southern African people like the Venda, Pedi and Tsonga as well as interpretations of Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti's Afro-beat sound. But the song that truly drove the album was their remix of 'Vhavenda' a 1973 track by South African guitar legend and creator of the Malombo sound, Dr Philip Tabane. Pride in homebrewed stuff is more than a political statement; it gives South African an identity stamp unlike any other sound. As group member Joseph says "look at the music done by the old guys, there's no way a European guy will play the guitar the same way we do.(...)”

In 2003 Revolution teamed up with Tabane again on their album The Journey Continues, where they also worked with celebrated Zimbabwean musician Andy Brown.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Animation World Magazine - Explores the animation industry in South Africa

Animation magazine is astounded by the "growth of animation and visual effects studios" in South Africa. Now, as with ads and features, doing your animation in South Africa is being touted as a cheaper but high quality alternative. But we are still waiting for South Africa to not only produce for overseas budgets, but to produce more of their own animated features.

"Traditional animation and stop-motion have a presence, as well. Most 3D companies have a traditional animation department, though the quality often suffers from the lack of focus. However, a few studios are completely dedicated to non-3D forms of animation and their work is world-class."

Read more

Times Online - Director Wayne Cramer on the Cooler

South African Director Wayne Cramer on his new movie the Cooler, starring Alec Baldwin, Maria Bello and William H Macy. Cramer says "I first came to work in the United States in 1986 after I'd finished national service in the South African military. There were no opportunities in South Africa at the time. No one was interested in my scripts, or even in hiring me as a production assistant.

I think I always knew that I was going to have to leave and go to America to get started - once I'd cracked the US, I would be in a good position to be successful in the rest of the world. I told myself that I had to start at the top. It took a long time, but it was the right strategy for me.
"


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Economist.com - South Africa's film industry is growing but needs to produce its own material

But what the industry says it really wants is more home-grown achievement. It is rare for a local film to earn big money or critical acclaim, let alone both. The biggest success was “Mr Bones”, a slapstick comedy featuring lots of flying animal faeces, which grossed over 32m rand ($3.7m) in 2001 and reached European screens. Last year “Stander”, a Johannesburg film about a cop-turned-bank-robber, packed local cinemas but did not play abroad.

Read more

sundaytimes.co.za - New investment initiatives for SA film

Two new investment incentives will be launched in the next three months promoting labour-intensive activities in the South African economy, says Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa.

Speaking in his department's vote in the Old Assembly, he said they were incentives for a call centre and back-office-processing industry as well as an incentive for the film industry.

He said "more than R500-million in investment incentives" would be allocated to enterprises in the current financial year - but said a further R32-million would be allocated to the development of sector strategies.

South Africa's priority sectors include clothing and textiles, agro- processing, metals and minerals, chemicals, the automotive sector as well as tourism, cultural industries like music, film and crafts and information and communications technology.

4th Annual UpOverDownUnder film festival

The 4th Annual UpOverDownUnder film festival is calling for entries now! We're looking for up and coming Australian, New Zealand and South African filmmakers based in the UK to show us your best. There are two ways you can get your film screened at this year's event:

One - submit a pre-made feature or short film for screening in the festival. Places in the main programme are limited but if you're from Australia, New Zealand or South Africa and have a film we simply 'have to screen' send an e-mail to:programming*at*upoverdownunder.co.uk with a brief synopsis, your contact details and one of the programming team will get back to you. Make sure you have a preview VHS or DVD available to send if required.

Two - make a film for the shorts competition. Films need to be 3 to 7 mins long and have some reference (all be it a vague one) to the 2004 theme 'The other side'. The top 10 films will be screened before a 500+ audience at a major London cinema and be in the running for top prizes. Deadline for entries is Monday August 23 so loads of time to grab some mates and get filmmaking!

To download an entry form and filmmakers pack go to www.upoverdownunder.co.uk and click on filmmakers.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Gums and Noses - Premiers at Durban

A black comedy about cocaine, advertising and self-esteem, Gums and Noses is a roller coaster ride which captures the protagonist’s descent in the dark world of addiction and dependency.

Gums & Noses is a wacky, sassy, sexy and invigorating joy ride through the yuppie world of advertising. When a colleague has a nervous breakdown, aimless James is unwittingly launched into the cut-throat, fickle, false and highly pressured career as advertising creative. When inspiration finally begins to flood through him, his boss, clients and bank manager are all ecstatic. Hooked on the buzz of success, James immerses himself deeper and deeper into drug underworld, until reality, literally, knocks at his door.

Dir: Craig Freimond.
South Africa/2004/90 mins/ctba.


6th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival

The 6th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival will run from 16 July – 1 August in Cape Town and 31 July – 8 August in Johannesburg this year. Encounters is a well established festival which showcases documentary film from here and abroad, continually seeking unique and exciting stories to share with a South African audience.

Encounters : South African International Documentary Festival & aboratory
Tel: + 27 21 426 0405
Fax: + 27 21 426 0577
Email: info@encounters.co.za
Web: www.encounters.co.za
Festival Directors: Steven Markovitz & Nodi Murphy

Durban International film Festival

14 - 27 June, 2004

The Durban International Film festival is an established international film festival and the largest of its kind in South Africa. This year, two landmark occasions will be celebrated: the 25th Anniversary of the Durban International Film Festival and 10 Years of Democracy in South Africa.

In a much-improved year of production the 2004 DIFF hosts four world premieres of local feature films.

This includes the ground-breaking Zulu-language film Yesterday, starring Leliti Khumalo, directed by Darrell Roodt and produced by Anant Singh and Videovision Entertainment. Forgiveness directed by Ian Gabriel, is from the innovative DV8 project, and is a moving examination of betrayal, resolution and revenge that marks a brave new direction for South African cinema. The sci-fi-ish music-drama The Sunflower is another all-KZN production from Marc Wells and DuMarc Studios, whilst the predominantly Afrikaans youth-film Skilpoppe is directed by Andre Odendaal and produced by Penguin Films.

South African premieres of local feature films include Craig Freimond's Gums and Noses about an ad-exec's cocaine lifestyle which is the zany new offering from the production team of Robbie Thorpe, Akin Omotoso and Kgomotso Matsunyane, and, finally making its South African debut, The Wooden Camera, directed by Ntshavheni Wa Luruli. Already the winner of international awards, The Wooden Camera traces the lives of two boys who make choices between a gun and a camera that seal their destinies.

A festival flagship this year is the Project 10 series of documentaries celebrating a decade of democracy, produced by SABC1 and the National Film and Video Foundation in co-operation with the Maurits Binger Institute in Amsterdam, and distributed by Film Resource Unit.

The strong international line-up of films includes Marco Tullio Giordana's Best Of Youth (La Meglio Gioventu), an award-winning epic which follows an Italian family from the end of the 60s to the present day using the most crucial events and sites of Italy's history as the backdrop. Anything Else, directed by Woody Allen, is a witty romp with Allen in characteristically paranoid form, while the controversial Dogville, directed by Lars von Trier, has Nicole Kidman as a desperate woman on the run from gangsters. Crimson Gold (Talaye Sorgh) directed by Iranian Jafar Panahi (who will attend the festival) won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, and is the poignant story of lonely pizza deliveryman's experience of humiliation. Last Life In The Universe, directed by Thailand's Pen-ek Ratanaruang, is a magic-realist film where two people on the run meet and hide out together, hoping to find love, life and redemption. Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi is a rousing, 19th century samurai tale of an eponymous blind masseur and master gambler. Zatoichi won major awards at the Toronto and Venice film festivals.

The festival will present around 300 screenings, most of these premiere screenings in South Africa. Feature films will be supplemented by topical documentaries and short films. Skills and training, at various levels, are made available through a series of free seminar and workshop programmes, including an intensive 4 day video production workshop for first-time filmmakers run by Audio-Visual Centre (UKZN), workshops with young filmmakers of the MUFIP project at Ekhaya in KwaMashu, and other workshops in partnership with Imagination Lab, Sithengi, AFDA, GDTV, DIT and Stable Theatre. A highlight of the festival is the participatory presence of local and international filmmakers and film industry personalities who make valuable contributions to the festival programmes.

Principal screening venues are the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre; CSE at The Workshop; Nu Metro CineCentre at SunCoast; Cinema Nouveau at Gateway; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu; Stable Theatre in Alice Street, plus various tertiary institutions and community venues.

Principal sponsors of the event are the National Film and Video Foundation, National Lottery Distribution Fund, Hivos, Ethekwini Municipality, City of Durban, and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal. For more details contact 031 260 2506; e-mail: cca@ukzn.ac.za or see website: www.cca.ukzn.ac.za

Saturday, June 12, 2004

No plastic surgery

"Everybody is slim and they did not even have plastic surgery," - Hollywood director Robert Towne, shooting a film in Cape Town, said the people were ideal and the environment is "like an invitation to step back into the past" to the California of 1933.

Friday, June 11, 2004

SA Film - Films at the The National Arts Festival

Six film premières head the film programme for the 2004 National Arts Festival (Grahamstown, 1 to 10 July). Three of the new features are South African, and their high quality bears testimony to the increasing sophistication of our film industry.

The Wooden Camera by Ntshavheni wa Luruli is expected to attract considerable audience interest because Chikin Biznis -The Whole Story, Luruli's earlier film, topped the box office polls for three festivals in succession. Another new film, A Case of Murder, by Clive Howard Morris sees Afrikaans rock singer Steve Hofmeyr cast as an amoral killer. Catherine Stewart's Transit Café tells of a rural wastrel up to no good in the city.


SAfilm - Interview with Hakeem Kae-Kazim

The Nigerian film industry has garnered much attention over the past few years. Nollywood, as it’s often called, has become the third largest film industry in the world, after the Indian and American markets. Its films are shot in a few days and then go straight to video for a massive video market. SAfilm spoke to South African based actor and producer Hakeem Kae–Kazim (God is African) about shooting a Nollywood film in South Africa, and what our local industry could learn from our Nigerian brothers.

Hakeem argues that although shooting in this manner has caused quality to suffer, the simple story lines are all important. "We need an audience, we need to create a film-going audience, we need to create appreciation of our own stories and of our own films." That's were low budget film making plays a role.

Read more

Bitterkomix at the ICA - audio recording


Bloed sweet Posted by Hello

Kwailawai* recorded Conrad Beukes's and Anton Kannemeyer's - creators of Bittercomix - talk at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Please note that the introduction by the Guardian's Steve Bell is not very audible. Also excuse the whirrr of the MP3 recorder hard drive. File size 44MB, duration 1 hour. Download the clip here.

Hayek and Farell: Cape Town, a great location for a shoot

Farrell, along with Academy Award nominee Salma Hayek and film producer Robert Towne, is in Cape Town for the shooting of the film Ask The Dust.

Both praised the city for its beauty and the friendliness of South Africans.

The film tells a love story set in Los Angeles against the backdrop of the Great Depression.

Towne said weather conditions, Cape Town's location and the dunes of Bloubergstrand suited their production plans perfectly as it resembled what California was like 70 years ago.

"California is so heavily built up and Canada could not provide the aesthetics we were looking for. In addition to the physical layout of Muizenberg and the rolling dunes of Bloubergstrand, Matjiesfontein gave us the desert setting for the film," Towne said.

Hayek, who plays a Mexican beauty named Camilla who hopes to change her life by marrying a wealthy American, said: "When I wake up and I see the sun rise it is unlike anywhere else in the world. The days, even when overcast, are stunning and fitted in with the setting of the film."

Farrell, an Irishman, said: "I'm happy to be here. Bringing the shooting here was not about it being less expensive. We could not find elsewhere what we found here in South Africa."

Among his most recent movies are Phone Booth, Minority Report and The Recruit.

allAfrica.com - Johannesburg to build a film city

Premier Mbhazima Shilowa this week took the war against Cape Town to another level announcing that authorities would build a 'film city'.
'Together with key stakeholders in the sector we will develop a 'film city' that will include Hollywood-class sound stages,' he stated.
He asserted that this would add further value to Gauteng's world-class film infrastructure and promoted Gauteng as a destination for international film production.
The move is consistent with trends in entertainment growth in Johannesburg, especially the money spinning film and television industry."
This puts Johannesburg and Cape Town in a neck-and-neck battle for supremacy in the multibillion Rand entertainment industry.

The Mother City is building its a state-of-the art production studio, set to put Cape Town as a leading home to movie and film making.

However, the City of Gold remains miles ahead of the coastal city as about 77 percent of all the television broadcasters and the country's television production industry reside in Gauteng.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Bitterkomix a history

A great link to a short history of Bitterkomix. This was written when issue 7 was published.

They are counter-culture, underground, trendy, popular, vulgar, bitter, and rebellious social critics...They are Bitterkomix.
By Nadine Hutton

Poking fun at the crumbling edifice of Afrikaner culture, subverting the images, distorting the holy icons and braaing the sacred cows, bitterkomix creators Joe Dog and Conrad Botes do what they do best — make comics.

Read more

To get an audio interview they did at the ICA in London, go here.

Yesterday


Leleti Khumalo Posted by Hello


Hailed as a breakthrough for indigenous South African languages, Durban movie producer Anant Singh's Yesterday is shot entirely in Zulu, with English subtitles.

Directed by Darrel Roodt and starring Leleti Khumalo, the film - which was shot in the Bergville area of KwaZulu-Natal - tells the story of a young HIV-positive mother, named Yesterday, whose migrant mineworker husband refuses to accept the situation.

Left to fend for herself and her young daughter, played by Johannesburg newcomer Lihle Mvelase, Yesterday's dream is to live long enough to see her child go to school.

Read some reviews of Yesterday here.

An in depth look at Yesterday...

HER name is Yesterday because her father felt that things were better yesterday than today.

Too bleak for your liking? But that’s reality for the young mother who discovered that she had HIV.

Billed as the first international film in the Zulu language with English subtitles, Yesterday was shown in a special screening last Wednesday in Bangkok in conjunction with the 15th International AIDS Conference.

Despite the tagline that “love has the power to change our tomorrows”, you wish that yesterday will come once again for the protagonist who has seen beauty in those bygone days before the infection.

Leleti Khumalo who plays the title role in Yesterday.
But thankfully, director Darrell James Roodt went easy on the melodrama and Yesterday, played by Leleti Khumalo (of Sarafina! fame) portrayed a simple, courageous woman without self-pity.

The movie, shot in South Africa, tells of Yesterday’s twice failed attempts to see a doctor for her persistent cough despite having to walk two hours from her remote village of Rooihoek to the clinic. There is always a long queue but there are only so many patients that the doctor could attend to.

Finally, a kind village teacher paid for a taxi so that Yesterday could reach the clinic early and be among the first to see the doctor.

This, ironically, is the start of an even longer bitter journey for Yesterday as she discovers her condition, her husband’s brutal response, the stigma, and eventual widowhood when her husband dies of AIDS.

Other than the friendship of the village teacher, Yesterday’s source of strength is her young daughter Beauty.

When the doctor commented one day about Yesterday’s remarkable well-being, she replied: “Until my daughter goes to school, I will not die.”

This is a contrast to the first time when she finds out about her infection. Then, she had asked the doctor sadly: “Am I going to stop living?”

The movie is also about forgive-ness. Yesterday stays by her husband’s bedside throughout his final days despite what he has done to her.

At his deathbed, the man calls out for Beauty. “It’s Yesterday,” his wife replies. That perhaps is one of the most poignant moments in the movie.

The movie doesn’t preach. Neither does it speak of the good old days. It is just a simple story of a young mother’s triumph in her losing battle against AIDS.

During a press conference after the movie screening, Khumalo explained that “in Zulu culture, we forgive a lot.”

“Yesterday was mostly alone in the village. Maybe she even had to bury her husband herself as the villagers didn’t want to have anything to do with him,” she said.

The actress, in an interview published by South Africa’s Sunday Times on June 6, remarked that this was the first time she had acted in Zulu and she loved the experience.

“The fact that it was shot in KwaZulu-Natal, my home, made it easy and exciting for me.”

Khumalo, 34, also reportedly said that she had much in common with her character.

“She is a woman married into a rural family with many challenges. I am married into a traditional family so I know some of her challenges,” said the South African actress who played Sarafina in the musical and in which she was nominated for a Tony award for best actress in recognition of her Broadway effort.

The lovely actress will soon be seen in Hotel Rwanda with Nick Nolte.

Roodt, when asked during the press conference why Beauty was not tested for HIV in the movie, explained that he did not want to over elaborate on anything. Neither did he want the movie to dwell on how Khumalo’s husband, a miner who works far away from home, was infected in the first place.

“It’s not a documentary. I try to avoid as much sentimentality as possible. We kept it simple, besides showing how lonely Yesterday is, and her desolation,” he said of the movie that was shot within a month last October in central Eastern South Africa.

However, one criticism which surfaced about the movie on the Internet is that the film, ironically, perpetuates social stigma when it showed scenes of villagers wanting to get rid of the sick couple.

Yesterday is supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation as part of an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.

Producer Anant Singh, who was present in Bangkok, said the film will be released in South Africa on Aug 20.

“We are also planning for theatrical release in the United States,” he said, adding that the Bangkok screening was the first time outside of South Africa after its outing at the 25th Durban International Film Festival last month.

Anant and Roodt have worked on several anti-apartheid films like Sarafina! (starring Whoopi Goldberg, 1992) and Cry, the Beloved Country (starring James Earl Jones, 1995).

The producer’s next project is Long Walk to Freedom with Morgan Freeman.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Hijack stories


Guns and blue skies in Hijack stories Posted by Hello
Soweto, South Africa. Sox is a young black actor from a wealthy family. His upbringing has ostracized him from the Black community, but his skin colour also keeps him from the White community. Then he gets the opportunity of a lifetime: a gangster part in a television series. But Sox has lived a sheltered life. In order to play the role, he must get street-wise and fast. He hooks up with Zama, a childhood friend turned criminal, who agrees to teach him the way of the underworld.


Writing credits (in alphabetical order)
Lesego Rampolokeng story
Oliver Schmitz

Cast (in credits order)
Tony Kgoroge .... Sox Moraka
Rapulana Seiphemo .... Zama
Percy Matsemela .... Fly
Makhaola Ndebele .... Joe
Moshidi Motshegwa .... Grace
Emily McArthur .... Nicky
Owen Sejake .... Bra Dan
Harold 'Speedy' Matihabo .... Kenneth
George Lamola .... Steve
Robert Whitehead .... Casting Director
Molemo Maarohanye .... Bar youth
Nimrod Nkosi .... Bar youth
Shane Maja .... Bar youth
Tumisho Masha .... Bar youth
Arthur Molepo .... Brixton cop
Carl Beukes .... Brixton cop
Charlotte Butler .... Clinic nurse
Dolly Rathebe .... Mrs. Biteme
Thembi Seete .... Hip girl
Lorraine Mbhephi .... Hip girl
Andy Mnuguni .... Hip girl
Rami Chuene .... Jolly
Andrew Wilson .... Medic
Catherine Cooke .... Medic
Meshack Mavuso .... Papplas man
Eloise Cupido .... Shop assistant
Phuti Mosimo .... Soweto youth
Donald Mnangalane .... Soweto youth
Marcel Van Heerden .... Toyota owner
Margaret Williams .... Waitress
Lele Ledwaba .... Production secretary
Phumale Mbele .... Girl at Zama's house
Napo Majeane .... Zama's girlfriend
Harriet Lenabe .... Raragwanath nurse
Romina Dagostino .... Pajero couple
Gideon Koegelenberg .... Pajero couple
Vanessa Cooke .... BMW hijack victim
Fiona Ramsey .... Sox's agent
Homsa Nene .... Himself
John Matshikiza .... Director
Mncedisi Shabangu .... Bra Biza

Produced by
Philippe Guez > producer
Pierre Hinch > line producer
Michael Markovitz > associate producer
Nadine Marsh-Edwards > co-producer
Christoph Meyer-Wiel > producer
Marc Sillam > associate producer

Original Music by
Martin Todsharow

Cinematography by
Michel Amathieu

Film Editing by
Oliver Schmitz
Derek Trigg

Casting by
Christa Shamberger (as Christa Schamberger)

Production Design by
Carmel Collins

Set Decoration by
Larry Le Roux

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Isaac Mavimbella > assistant director
Lance Samuels > assistant director
Barry Van Niekerk > assistant director

Sound Department
Tschangis Chahrokh > sound re-recording mixer
Marcel Spisak > supervising sound editor
Richard Sprawkins > sound designer

Special Effects by
Janek Zabielski > special effects coordinator

Stunts
Anthony Stone > stunt coordinator

Other crew
Eva Hardebeck > assistant editor
Jürgen Jansen > production accountant
Fabienne Octobre > focus puller

SA siren to sizzle in B'wood

Pooja Bhatt sure has a good eye for spotting beauties. And this time it’s not a Dilli ki kudi or a South Indian babe that has caught her attention. It’s the light-eyed firang bombshell Ilene Hamman, who’s the lucky gal!

This international supermodel is from South Africa and will star in Bhatt’s next venture Rog , which is "an erotic murder mystery." Rog , (we’re only guessing) promises to be along the lines of Paap and Jism . Maybe it’s a trilogy...

Ask the Dust to be shot in SA

Playbill News: Wicked Tony Winner Takes Brief Hiatus Mid-June: "As previously reported, Menzel will co-star in Robert Towen's 'Ask the Dust,' an adaptation of John Fante's novel. Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek head the cast of the film, which will be shot in South Africa. Menzel, according to Variety, will play Vera, 'who harbors an unrequited love for the Farrell character Arturo.'"

San Francisco festival sees premiere of South African film

In Thursday's world premiere of "The Death of Tarzan," a 30-minute film about post-apartheid South Africa, the audience is given a glimpse that goes beyond the country's poverty and petting zoos, and into a world of urban and underground African musicians and artists.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

City of London Festival features South Africa while Ukkasie 'Vangs gees'

Read the kwailawai* review of Ukkasie here.
 
This year's City of London Festival aims to focus on the "artistic vibrancy of South Africa". Besides featuring jazz legends like Hugh Masakela, it includes a showing of a small selection of films including Amandla! A revolution if four part harmony and Hijack stories.

On the other hand, a South African festival initiative - UKKASIE - will have South Africans 'vang gees' or catch spirit in very disparate venues. The Royal Albert Hall and the now famous Leytonstone Zulu's bar.

The City Festival, is bound to attract the high-minded and non South African audience to the beautiful Barbican center. The latter to atract mostly Afrikaans ex-pats looking for a taste of home.

Neither festival's cater for allot of current cool and popular South African music. Nope, there's no Fokofpolisiekar's, Boo's, Skwatta Camps, Oskidos (or BOP's), Andries Bezuidenhouts, or Valiant Swarts. There are some exceptions, Revolution is an outfit very much like BOP (Afro-house), and will be playing at the Spitz as part of the City festival.

With a band with name like Klopjag - UKKASSIE might spring a few surprises? And UKKASIE features not only the Afrikaans Hoer Seunskool Choir, BUT "the Moeder sokkie"! Nogal. The Mother of all traditional Afrikaans dance parties. Now that *should* be facinating! Kwailawai will keep you posted.
 
Read the kwailawai* review of Ukkasie here.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Slate - Skwatta Camp is rapping for the people

"We've aligned our music strongly with the economic struggle, with what people are going through," 21-year-old Shugsmakx told me as he sipped on a fruit shake, which he pushed out of frame before I took his photograph, so that he'd look tough. "We are the youth. We have a voice and need to speak. … We talk about things that happen around us, we just reflect the world."

Sowetan-born Shugasmakx and his six partners did just that by composing the controversial song "Politics," from Skwatta Camp's 2002 album, Khut en Joyn, which ruffled some ANC feathers when it hit the airwaves. Skwatta Camp effectively took the liberation struggle's old tool, repackaged it, and unleashed on its inventor.

Jump the gun

Jump the gun is arguably one of the best and most mature efforts in South African cinema to date. Arnold Shepperson, reviewed it in 1997.


Jo'burg frolicks - The sparks fly Posted by Hello

JUMP THE GUN

Living in hell and loving it – that’s the premise of Les Blair’s acute comedy, Jump the Gun, which won six South African film awards.

SYNOPSIS
In Jump the Gun, Clint, a sparkie (electrician) who earns his living working on oil rigs, has come to Johannesburg for a rest and vacation. For him, this means alcohol and sex (when he can get it). But once he arrives back in his home town, he realizes that things have changed. Johannesburg has become very `African'. Gugu, a beautiful and ambitious woman with similar interests also arrives in the city on the same day, running away from her problems with men. As they each work their way through the shebeens and bars of Johannesburg and Soweto, they encounter damaged survivors of the old South Africa, now learning to co-exist in the new. It's a hard world but always bristling with opportunities. Clint and Gugu end up sharing a bed together. This provides the opportunity for Clint to have his first proper conversation with a black woman.

SYNOPSIS
This film depicts the ways white South Africans succeed (or fail) to negotiate their country's political transition. Lionel Newton's portrayal of Clinton, a retrenched white electrician, and Baby Cele's stunning performance as Gugu, the refugee from KwaZulu-Natal's poverty and violence, are signs that South African cinema has plenty of depth in performance.

The film's starkly realistic depiction of black township life - set in Alexandra - reveals the seedy underbelly of a society in transition. Thulani Nyembe as Bazooka the gangster plays up victimhood at the expense of the choices people had to make during the struggle.

The strength of the movie lies in its performances, developed through a system of workshopping based on the South African performers' actual immersion in the worlds their characters inhabit. The scene in the gun shop is itself almost worth the price of admission. The long shot in which all three white men mime their fantasies with unloaded weapons is both perfectly delightful and entirely in character with South African white male subjectivities.

(Reviewed by Arnold Shepperson, 1997)

The script for 'Jump the Gun' emerged from months of workshops where the actors developed their characters. Being character driven the locations had to suit the characters and we had to recce hundreds of locations before the right ones were found. These tended to be low life bars, shebeens, brothels and seedy hotels. - David Barkham (Production Designer)

1996. Produced by Indra la Lanarolle. Channel 4, London.

Cast
Director >> Les Blair
Screenwriter >> Les Blair
Baby Cele >> Gugu
Lionel Newton >> Clinton
Michele Burgers >> Minnie
Thulani Nyembe >> Bazooka (Zoo)
Rapulana Seiphemo >> Thabo
Danny Keogh >> J.J.
Joe Nina >> Henry
Nomsa Nene >> Sis Buleng
Marcel Van Heerden >> Johnnie
Vanessa Cook
John Simon Jones >> Gun Shop Owner (as Simon Jones)


Sunday Times - Baby Jake hits the big screen

Sugar Ray Leonard did it. So did Lennox Lewis. And now Jacob "Baby Jake" Matlala will show his boxing prowess on the big screen.

The diminutive former world champion is set to make his film debut in the upcoming film Crossover, a joint South African-Canadian production which will be shot in Gauteng in the coming weeks.

Friday, June 04, 2004

SSONET - Proteus, a gay-themed historical SA epic that features botany

In Proteus, gay Canadian director John Greyson and South African activist Jack Lewis tell an interracial gay love story set in South Africa and Amsterdam in the early 18th century. Rijkhaart Jacobsz, a white Dutch sailor, and Claas Blank, a Hottentot servant, were imprisoned on Cape Town’s Robben Island between 1718 and 1735.

Jack Lewis stumbled upon the original transcript of Jacobsz and Blank’s trial for sodomy and knew he had a little-known true story with contemporary ramifications. The story also revolves around the quest by closeted Scottish botanist Virgil Niven who, whilst working for famous Swedish botanist Linnaeus, tried to name and cultivate all the sub-species of the South African plant once known as sugarbush and now identified as Protea.

Read more about it

Directed by: Jack Lewis, John Greyson
With: Neil Sandilands, Rouxnet Brown, Shaun Smyth
Country: Canada, South Africa
Year of Production: 2003
Running Time: 97 minutes

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Bitterkomix in London and in Conversation with the Guardian's Steve Bell


'n Grafiese stryd! Posted by Hello
Bittercomix will feature in London as part of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)'s Comica festival.

Currently another festival, Comics Brew is at taking place in South Africa.

IOL - Singh's Yesterday to premiere in Durban

Durban-based film producer, Anant Singh, announced that the world premiere of Yesterday, the first-ever isiZulu feature film, will take place on June 14 when it opens the 25th Durban International Film Festival.

Yesterday is a groundbreaking film shot in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal. The film with English subtitles, is written and directed by Darrell James Roodt. It stars Leleti Khumalo (Sarafina!), Kenneth Khambule (Backstage, Generations, I Dreamed Of Africa), Harriet Lehabe, Camilla Walker and child star Lihle Mvelase, who makes her feature film debut.

Yesterday is a moving story of a young mother named Yesterday who falls ill and discovers that she is HIV-positive.

allAfrica.com - Thieves a Blow to US Filmmaker

What began as an earnest attempt to celebrate 10 years of freedom in South Africa ended in a serious setback for an American independent filmmaker last week when burglars made off with a haul of expensive equipment.

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Jesse Stagg, who grew up in Cape Town, recently returned to South Africa to shoot a dramatic short film celebrating post-apartheid youth culture.

The film, tentatively entitled Freedom Kids, was co-written by Stagg and his father - the writer and co-producer of Stander - and featured an all-South African cast. It will be entered into both the Cannes and Sundance film festivals next year. "We will finish the film no matter what," said Jesse. "But there's no doubt this is a huge setback."

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

New comics magazine: Stripshow


Hond se gedagtes Posted by Hello
*Stripshow* is a new, all female comics publication that came into being at the end of last year.

Seven female comic artists from around the country contributed to this ride into the psyche of the woman. The editors are Leonora van Staden and Nicolene Louw, both currently Masters students at the University of Stellenbosch and students of Anton Kannemeyer.

The magazine was launched in Darling at Evita se perron and Pieter Dirk Uys opened the event. Some of the original works formed part of an exhibition of satirical works by students and lecturers from the fine arts Department at the University of Stellenbosch.

Stripshow notably contains contributions by Paddy Bouma, Karlien de Villiers and Leonora who have all previously published in Bitterkomix. The asset that everybody is the most proud of is the foreword written by Antjie Krog. Stripshow is a self published effort and is available at selected (South African) bookstores for R29,50.

The Comics brew festival brings comics culture to SA


A hell of a hot festival Posted by Hello
The festival - organised by Biterkomix founder Kannemeyer - is an initiative to showcase, develop and establish comic strip drawing in Southern Africa.

The SABC1's Documentary project

Project 10 "a bold and captivatingly honest series of documentary films that will afford viewers the opportunity to reflect on what a decade of democracy has meant for all South Africans."

Some of the filmmakers featured in their own stories. This personal narrative approach has been seen as a key selling point to international audiences. Ten of the Project 10 films were premiered at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival in February this year, in the International Forum of New Cinema category, and two, namely The Meaning of the Buffalo, and Home / iKhaya, were screened at the Sundance Film Festival in the USA in January.

THE FILMS ...
1. BELONGING
Born into exile, Kethiwe returned to South Africa with her family 10 years ago. Now, with her British accent and hip lifestyle, Kethiwe is struggling to find her own niche in the new South Africa. This film follows a young woman?s journey to find the place she can truly call home.

Directed by: Minky Schlesinger and Kethiwe Ngcobo

Khetiwe Ngcobo grew up in London. She graduated with an Honours Degree in Cultural Studies from Portsmouth University, and returned to South Africa in 1994. She has developed and produced a number of television drama series, documentaries and comedies, locally, for the SABC and eTV, and internationally, for TVE, UNESCO and London Weekend Television.
Minky Schlesinger began her career in theatre as an actress after completing her studies at the University of Cape Town. Her passion for writing resulted in her switching to film, where she became a writer on documentaries. Her directorial debut happened in the mid 1990?s working on documentaries, and in 1998, after participating in the M-Net New Directions initiative for her short feature, Salvation, she moved into drama. She has since directed a number of other films for the SABC and has obtained extensive experience as a writer and producer.



2. HOT WAX
Ivy, a black beautician with white clients, is privy to so much more than just anti-aging secrets. Eavesdrop on intimate conversations from a beauty salon in this insightful documentary that breaks down social and racial boundaries.

Directed by: Andrea Spitz

Andrea Spitz holds an Honours Degree in Dramatic Art, and an Mphil in Environmental Science. In 1999/2000, she produced the first visual Environmental Impact Assessment for a project in Mozambique, and went on to be selected to participate in the Encounters Documentary Workshop for filmmakers who had not had work commissioned or screened on television. Her project, Voices Across the Fence, was commissioned and completed in 2002, and was commissioned to make the documentary I Will not Go Gently for SABC3.

3. BEING PAVAROTTI
A 13-year-old boy from a shantytown near Hermanus, Elton?s extraordinary voice is all he really has. Watch, and listen, as he tries to realise his dream against the harsh realities of poverty, parental pressure and the absence of love.

Directed by: Odette Geldenhuys

Odette Geldenhuys made the interesting transition from Human Rights lawyer to filmmaker when she became associate producer for the 2002 Angel Films production From Gates to Iron Ore. She has since worked as associate producer and production assistant on numerous, and varied productions, including a 10-minute film for Flemish Government. She both directed and shot the Angel Films production Being Pavarotti.



4. MIX
Are they the ?lost generation? or simply a generation trying to find themselves? Take a first hand look at cultural clashes and generation gaps against a backdrop of hip hop DJ-ing. This documentary captures the confidence of two outrageous young women who are exploring their past while, at the same time, creating their own futures.

Directed by: Rudzani Dzuguda

After having studied drama at the University of Durban-Westville, Rudzani Dzuguda decided to study television production at Technikon Natal. He moved to Johannesburg to work as a runner at Summit TV, and later became a cameraman and editor. He worked as an eTV news cameraman, and then on e-Arts as a journalist. Mix is the first film of the recently formed film company Dzuguda Productions.

5. HOME/ iKHAYA
This is a deeply personal story about the importance of memory and healing as the filmmaker returns with her aunt to the home she was forcibly removed from. There, she tackles the demons that drove her from the home she loved.

Directed by: Omelga Hlengiwe Mthiyane

After completing her Video Technology studies at Technikon Natal in 2000, Omelga Mthiyane went on to do an internship at Gas Works Post Productions in Millpark, Johannesburg. She later moved to Cape Town, where she worked at the Sithengi Film and Television Market. She received intensive training in documentary making after she was selected for the 2001 Encounters Laboratory.




6. SOLLY?S STORY
From the dusty streets of rural Venda to the bright lights of soccer stadiums the world over, follow Solly?s story of success against all odds. The Grandmother who helped him get there, however, still lives in poverty.

Directed by: Asivhanzhi ?Asi? Mathaba

Born and raised in Venda, Asi Mathaba studied film and television production in Cape Town. His film career was launched when he worked as an assistant director on two US feature films in 1998/9. He moved back to Johannesburg and has directed commercials, music videos and documentaries for television. In 2002, he worked as content director for Big Brother II.

7. UMGIDI (SHADOW DANCING)
First Sipho procrastinates in convincing his brother to be circumcised, then he discovers his brother was actually adopted at birth. Follow this intimate journey into a Xhosa family grappling with issues like adoption, modernity and tradition.

Directed by: Gillian Schutte and Sipho Singiswa

Writer, filmmaker, poet and healer, Gillian Schutte, began as a freelance arts and culture journalist, and had a jazz music column in Durban?s Daily News. After working as a case study writer and researcher on a series of Arts and Culture videos, she realised her passion for filmmaking. She has recently co-directed a series of 56-minute documentaries on human rights issues, which have been screened at Human Rights film festivals both locally and internationally.

Sipho Singiswa, a former political prisoner on Robben Island, has been actively involved in Arts, Culture and Skills Development work both in South Africa and abroad. His work has on many occasions been in collaboration with various international exchange groups and has been instrumental in the collaboration of cultural and media groups from the Nordic countries as well as France, Holland and Germany. He also co-facilitated the International Film and Television Conference, which was held at SABC in 1995.

8. THE DEVIL BREAKS MY HEART 10 YEARS LATER
As young teenagers at the birth of a democratic South Africa they shared their hopes and dreams for the future in a documentary. Now, 10 years on, they share their success and disappointments. This film takes an honest stance on how democracy has really affected this group of 20-somethings.

Directed by: Lederle Bosch

A student activist during the 1980?s, Lederle Bosch moved on to become a youth and community organiser, working in the United Democratic Front and the African National Congress, until 1994. After having worked in community development and adult-based education and training service organisations, he joined Idol Pictures in 1997, and began directing documentary films in 2003.

9. THROUGH THE EYES OF MY DAUGHTER
Zulfah Otto-Sallies, a liberated South African filmmaker, confesses that ?I do not understand who that 15-year-old who sleeps in my house is.? This story traces a mother?s quest to explore the relationship with her teenage daughter.

Directed by: Zulfah Otto-Sallies

Zulfah Otto-Sallies began as a playwright in 1991. She broke into the television arena in 1992 after co-directing a documentary for A&P Productions. She has since written and directed numerous inserts and television documentaries for local and international stations; obtained a Masters Degree from Das Art (Amsterdam); directed an award winning short film; and is currently the curator of the Cape Town World Cinema Festival.

10. MY YEOVILLE
Before the 1994 democratic elections Yeoville was celebrated as a model for non-racial co-existence. Now, as South Africa celebrates its freedom, Yeoville has become a decaying symbol. Follow a young black filmmaker as he explores where he lives and the struggle to resurrect it.

Directed by: Sello Molefe

Former Executive Director of the Independent Producers Organisation (I.P.O), South Africa, Sello Molefe is a University of the Witwatersrand graduate, and is presently reading for a Masters Degree in Documentary Film and History. During 1999 and 2000, he was Head of Training and Development and Executive Member of the I.P.O. He is also a former Board member of the Media, Publishing, Printing and Packaging Sector Education and Training Authority (MAPPP SETA).

11. NABANTWA BAM (WITH MY CHILDREN)
Miles is a computer whizz-kid on the way up. His older brother, who bought him his first computer, is unemployed. This film explores the making of the emerging black middle class while a family tries to negotiate success in a new society.

Directed by: Khulile Nxumalo

Soweto-born Khulile Nxumalo has studied at the Universities of Durban and Cape Town, as well as in Swaziland. He has worked as a researcher, writer, producer and director for various production houses in Johannesburg. His experience in directing includes having directed inserts for a regional magazine television programme, a short documentary on young, aspiring opera singers, and inserts for national education broadcasts.

12. MEANING OF THE BUFFALO
Set against the extreme beauty of the African bush, this documentary chronicles Rene?s quest to become the first black, female, game-ranger on her tribe?s ancestral land. In the process, she also tries to gain understanding of her people?s totem, the buffalo, and her relationship with the land.

Directed by: Karin Slater

Karin Slater specialises in documentaries that communicate the knowledge of indigenous people and Africa?s wildlife, and has worked as a Director and Director of Photography (D.O.P) for 15 years. Karin, who is based in South Africa, has worked for the BBC, national Geographic, and the Discovery Channel.

13. CINDERELLA OF THE CAPE FLATS
Five days a week, they sew clothes that they themselves could never afford to wear. Then, for one night, the seamstresses turn into princesses for a unique beauty pageant. Set against the preparation for the pageant, this film explores the lives of these hard-working women and celebrates them as creations of beauty.

Directed by: Jane Kennedy

Cinderella of the Cape Flats is the first broadcaster-commissioned documentary by Jane Kennedy. Her career began with photography in the early 1980?s, and she has since worked in a variety of communication mediums through audio-visual, video and radio production and directing. Being passionate about social responsibility activities, Jane co-founder and board member of Imagine Cape Town ? an initiative which brings ordinary citizens together to work towards the realisation of a more positive future for all.



ZA@Play - A festival grows in Brooklyn



A party at i-shebeen Madiba in Brooklyn, New York, usually features live South African music, the exuberant restaurant owner Mark Henegan and the lively denizens of Fort Greene, one of Brooklyn’s most ethnically mixed neighbourhoods. On May 2 the restaurant was packed with South African filmmakers celebrating the end of Ten Years of Freedom: Films From the New South Africa, writes Bronwyn Law-Viljoen