Creating a film community in the Southern Peninsula

ForwardFund Academy students (Photo by False Bay Echo)

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: The Southern Peninsula in Cape Town is quite a distance from the buzzing film hotspots that the Mother City is well-known for. So when film practitioner Bryony Roughton – who, for more than 15 years, provided youth development programmes in the Eastern Cape through SAY Media Education – moved back to her hometown in the Southern Peninsula, she decided to relaunch SAY Media, and later the ForwardFund Academy.

In the spirit of collaboration, Roughton paired up with women’s rights activist and non-profit fundraising expert, Tina Thiart to launch the ForwardFund Academy. “This is a community-based initiative. South Peninsula also represents the tip of the African continent, the far South. The world needs more media from Africa, and the developing world, we need creators of content, we need our people telling their own stories, it is vital we equip our communities with the skills to do this and to offer their voices to the wider world! Launching something like this from the tip of the continent is a great strategic place to create some momentum for the idea of ‘Stories from the South’, and ‘Visions and Voices from the South’,” explains Roughton.

On 10 April 2018, the Academy was launched at the Solaris Office Park on Kommetjie Road, Sunny Acres. The inaugural affair was attended by the DA Shadow Minister of Women in the Presidency, Denise Robinson; and programme manager of Business Development for the Department of Social Development, Nomvume Ralarala, among other distinguished guests as well as community members. At the grand opening an impressive twenty film bursaries were awarded.

“We have been actively recruiting from the community since March and have selected twenty students who are studying film for the first time. We have another six students who already have one year of study from other film training institutions and are joining the programme as senior students,” shares Roughton.

The SAQA Accredited National Certificate in Film and Television Production is a one-year certificate course that enables previously disadvantaged students the opportunity to acquire film and television skills. Furthermore, the course gives students the necessary expertise to be able to freelance and work within the film and television industry, while still actively studying. Guest lecturers who will be providing practical workshops for the duration of the course include: Alison Coetzee, Meg Rickards, Marius Boden, Julan Briant, Di Davis, Gerald Peterson, Mark Roughton, Claire Ryan, Lydia Plaatjies, Tim Spring, David Barkham, Goeff Hookins, Jennifer Carbutt, Gwen Meyer, Simon Tatt, Alison Geduldt, Omar Dick, Greg Copeland, Lee Otten, Clair Titley and Judy Sole.

In addition to providing film studies, the academy is working with schools within the Southern Peninsula in order to relaunch the School Film Festival, as well as to commemorate 100 Years of Fish Hoek.

Roughton expands: “The School Film Festival, under the theme of ‘One in a Hundred’, invites short film scripts from Grades 10 and 11 learners from any school in the South Peninsula. Learners can interpret the theme however they like. Selected screenplays will be produced with the writer directing their short film, and gathering a team of learners to support as crew – who will receive training. Casting of acting roles happens from within the school. Our film students will assist the learner crew during the production phase. Our industry team mentor the crew throughout the process, so it is not necessary to know anything about filmmaking before writing a screenplay or joining the crew. This is the model we used with the Nab’Ubomi Film Competition in the Eastern Cape, except this time we have film students in the mix as well.”

Only five of the chosen submissions will be developed and filmed by students of the ForwardFund Academy. To see how the competition was rolled out in the Eastern Cape, head over to SAYmeTV on YouTube to view some of the submissions.


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Gezzy S Sibisi
Gezzy S. Sibisi is a senior journalist at Screen Africa. She is experienced in print, broadcast and digital media. Her portfolio of work includes working as a lifestyle reporter as well as contributing business and education articles to The Times, Sowetan, and Daily Dispatch publications. As a freelancer, she has worked on content development for corporate newsletters, community newspapers, blogs and educational websites.


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