We've previously profiled 1 of the films on this list: Little One, South Africa's submission for 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar consideration.
I'll return with individual highlights of the others; the Akin Omotoso drama-thriller, Sins, said to be in the mould of films like City Of God and Ameros Perros, immediately got my attention, among others. Omotoso is a name we've mentioned a few times; his drama/thriller Man Of Ground was a 2011/2012 S&A highlight. Glad that he's on to other projects.
By the way, the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) develops, promotes and coordinates the film and television production industry in the South African province.
Full details below; individual profiles coming soon:
NEWS FOR RELEASE
GFC ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL FILM PROJECTS SUPPORTED IN THE 2nd QUARTER
The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) as part of its marketing drive to create awareness about our programmes and ensuring brand visibility took a decision to make public announcements of projects it supports
Films are necessary to tell the stories of ordinary people to the masses, yet when they are supported by government entities, there are some serious considerations. With this need for transparency in mind, the Gauteng Film Commission has decided to speak openly about programming and its efforts to ensure brand visibility.
At a soirée on 28 September at The Venue at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, Mzwandile Masina, the GFC’s chief executive officer, explained that the organisation took a conscious decision to interact with its stakeholders every quarter at intimate gatherings so that it could acknowledge publically the projects that had made the cut, as well as explain why some might had not made it.
The aim of this, Masina said, was to make public aware of the way in which the commission approved projects, to keep it as transparent as possible. It had to ensure that the material it supported met the mandate of the country and the organisation. Masina said South Africa played a major role in brokering peace in other parts of the continent and must not allow certain content to compromise the sovereignty of the state.
“From the GFC side we look forward to a better relationship with the industry and sustainable growth of local content. All in all, we are very excited about prospects for this year,” he said.
Productions supported this quarter by the commission included Little One, His Majesty’s Building, The Shore Break, Taxi Ride and a slate of eight short films. Apart from the support it gives to films, the organisation also gives back to the community with skills and development training.
It has set up a partnership with the Film and Publication Board to open the local film industry to the young people of Gauteng. There are opportunities in production and in training, development and skills development at colleges and universities. The partnership will host 50 workshops in Tshwane, Sedibeng, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and on the West Rand, starting in October. The primary objectives of the partnership are to:
Provide a platform for youth to participate in the local audiovisual sector;
Increase the number of learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds enrolling in industry-related courses;
Develop among local audiences the relevance and importance of the role of classification and the board; and,
Provide a platform for local filmmakers to engage with the board and local audiences.
This human drama explores the growing problem of child abuse in South Africa. It follows the relationship between a victim and the policeman who finds her. The policeman goes beyond the call of duty to track down the perpetrators of this hideous crime. Along the way we are introduced to a rich variety of secondary characters who illuminate this tragedy that befalls over 30% of South Africa’s children. It was announced at the soirée that Little One will be South Africa's official selection to represent South Africa for consideration into the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 85th Oscars. The film will be released in December in 32 theatres. Distribution will be through UIP and Next Video will do the DVD distribution.
His Majesty’s Building
The commission supported post-production of His Majesty’s Building, a feature film about Freddie who falls to his death from a high-rise building in Johannesburg. Lieutenant Fitzpatrick’s detective unit finds a note in Freddie’s loft, and the case is closed as a suicide. But Freddie’s lover, Maria, hires private eye Dicke Dibe to investigate what she believes is a case of murder. A postmortem reveals a gunshot wound to Freddie’s head. Dicke suspects Freddie was shot, then thrown off the building, and is determined to find the killer before he, or she, strikes again.
The Shore Break
Set in the beautiful Wild Coast, The Shore Break is a documentary feature about Nonhle, who wants to protect her land and titanium-rich beaches from an Australian mining company. The foreign dune miners have no road access to the beaches, so a national highway is approved that will cut through her community’s homesteads, subsistence farms, and ancestral graves, dividing them with a high fence. Nonhle’s king and queen publicly protest against the mining, only to be dethroned by the government. The developments leads to divisions in the community and Nonhle’s own cousins partner with the Australian mining company, believing that Nonhle is standing in the way of progress.
A slate of eight films
The GFC has supported eight low budget comedy feature films by Sello Twala Movies that will be aired on DStv’s Mzanzi Magic channel and distributed by Daily Sun through its Woza Month End initiative. Support for these films is in line with the commission’s priority of promoting appreciation of local content in indigenous languages.
This low-budget film commissioned by Mzansi Magic is produced by David Kau and Disadvantaged Background Productions, which has all the DVD distribution rights for two years to exploit to its benefit anywhere in the world, from 2 April 2012 to 2 April 2014. The production company intends to sell a minimum of 100 000 copies of Taxi Ride in the first two to three months, not only in South Africa but in other parts of Africa, including Kenya and Nigeria, where it is already in talks with local distributors. GFC supported the distribution of Taxi Ride in line with its mandate of audience and enterprise development.
Media Career Guide
Media Career Guide is an educational TV show broadcast on SABC 1. It is in its third season. The TV show takes viewers behind the scenes of the film, TV, advertising, music and radio industries in South Africa. Each episode features interviews with professionals from different industries, giving an insight into their various careers. Educational institutions that offer courses for specific careers and helpful tips on how get into this creative industry are also visited. In the new season, the show aims to identify companies that are willing to give internships to graduates.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
The inaugural Gauteng Women’s Seminar was designed to strengthen, promote and increase the participation of women in the film and TV sector. A key objective is to help set up a network or association that will represent the interests of women in film in Gauteng. It is envisaged that the association will initiate and implement programmes for the empowerment of women. More than a hundred women working in the audiovisual sector attended the event, where they heard from various industry leaders, government representatives and institution professors. The GFC supported this project through its Talent Management and Mentorship Programme.
Directed by Akin Omotoso, Sins is a drama-thriller in the mould of international successes like City Of God (Brazil), Ameros Perros (Mexico), Snatch and Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (both United Kingdom). Sins is a homeless writers’ empowerment project that is an answer to the need for transformation in the film sector and the country as a whole. The project consists of three separate plots with separate characters that intertwine to form a single story. The three intersect in surprising and interesting ways, but without the characters actually ever meeting each other. The story ends with all of the characters’ lives changed forever. The film commission supported this project through its Talent Management and Mentorship Programme.