The three big winners at the M-Net VUKA! Awards for public service announcements (PSAs), announced on 25 November at The Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg, were “Conflict Diamonds’ (Best Overall PSA – Professional), “Moses’ (Best Overall PSA – Newcomer) and “It’s Getting Hot In There’ (Best Overall PSA – The Contenders).
“Conflict Diamonds’, directed by Grant De Souza, scooped five of the eight awards in the Professional category. Directed by Jonty Fine, “It’s Getting Hot In There’ also won Best Concept and Best Use of Humour in The Contenders category. “Moses’, directed by Alan Shelley won six awards in the Newcomer category.
Prior to the announcement of the winners, M-Net CEO Patricia Scholtemeyer said the social relevance of the VUKAS! encourages M-Net to take these awards to greater heights. “VUKA! is an important part of M-Net’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme under the umbrella of “M-Net Cares’. Tonight we honour the advertising industry for their contribution to social change and for shedding light on the country’s voiceless.
“Desiree Markgraaff of The Bomb, the coordinator of the awards, estimates that the VUKA! brand is worth R500m if you combine the production, post-production and air time value of all the PSAs entered into the competition. But the true value of the brand is priceless. The strength of the VUKAS! is rooted in the advertising industry’s passion. We’re associated this year with Cannes Lions as the winner of The Contenders category will attend Cannes Lions next year. We thank CineMARK for screening the finalists in cinemas. Earlier this year we launched the Hall of Fame in M-Net’s foyer in Randburg where the winners of the Professional category will be showcased. Winners in the Newcomer category will be awarded valuable internships in the industry.’
M-Net took ownership of the VUKAS! from partners MultiChoice in 2007. The VUKAS! have a two-fold function: serving as a platform to reward and nurture South Africa’s filmmaking talent while simultaneously providing vital exposure to social causes and charities via PSAsS.
“Conflict Diamonds’ was conceived by Young & Rubicam Cape Town, in association with Blue Panther films and directed by Grant de Souza. Produced on behalf of the African Diamond Council, “Conflict Diamonds’ is a hard-hitting PSA which perfectly illustrates the human cost to the underground diamond trade. “Conflict Diamonds’ scooped 5 of the 8 awards up for grabs in the category: Best Overall, Best Concept, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design / Original Music and Best Editing – and also claimed a spot in the newly-established M-Net VUKA! Hall of Fame. A permanent installation at M-Net’s Randburg headquarters, the Hall of Fame houses tapestries representing the concepts behind each winning PSA alongside a video loop of the work itself.
“21st Birthday’, entered by Lowe Bull Cape Town, produced by Velocity Films and directed by Anton Visser for the Industry Association For Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) picked up awards for Best Direction and Best Script. The 3-part series of PSA’s which also include “Sports Day’ and “Roadblock’ illustrates the heart-wrenching effects of alcoholism in everyday life.
“Experiment’, entered by Adrian Bergoff and Garreth Bird, who co-directed for Filament Film on behalf of the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre won the Best Animation award for its intelligent use of modern and concise animation in conveying its serious message.
The Contender category Best Overall winner, “It’s Getting Hot In Here’ by Taryn Scher and Renier Zandberg with Ogilvy SA, directed by Jonty Fine, on behalf of Oxfam Global Warming, takes a humorous look at the serious topic of global warming and delivers a knockout message with finesse. “It’s Getting Hot In Here’ also took the awards for Best Concept and Best Use of Humour in the Contender category.
Two members of the team behind “It’s Getting Hot In Here’ receive automatic entry into the Cannes Young Lions challenge in June 2010, where they will network with and compete against the world’s finest young creative talent in the creative world’s most prestigious grassroots showcase. Their trip is facilitated by Cinemark and the team will have all their expenses paid by M-Net.
“Silent Killer’ directed by Grant Paul Roy for Silver Bullet Productions, on behalf of Heart & Stroke Foundation SA, picked up the Best Cinematography award.
The Newcomer category was dominated by “Moses’, which picked up 6 of the 9 awards on offer including Best Overall, Best Direction, Best Script, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design / Original Music and Best Editing. Entered and directed by Alan Shelley from City Varsity Cape Town on behalf of the St Kizito Children’s Programme, “Moses’ uses biblical references to illustrate the cause of unwanted children.
Other winners in the Newcomer category were: “The Last Piece’ (Best Concept) by Oli Payne of Vega Durban, directed by Paige Sanders on behalf of SA Guide Dogs, “A Home for Every Heart’ (Best Animation) by Vega Durban, directed by Chris McNabb, Sharleen Hollick and Brendon Celine on behalf of the Thokomala Orphan Care Organisation and a special mention in the Best Use of Humour category for “An Empty Conversation’ by Big Fish, directed by Themba Nkabinde for READ.
The teams behind the Newcomer Category finalists will be offered hand-picked internships at top creative and production houses in South Africa which will allow them to gain first-hand experience in real world scenarios, allowing their talent to flourish. They will be supported during their internships with limited financial assistance from M-Net.
M-Net Director of Corporate & Marketing Communication, Koo Govender, said that both M-Net and the judging panel were enthralled by the quality and volume of submissions in 2009, which saw more than 110 entries for the Awards. “The future of the South African film and creative industry is bright and we look forward sharing its development,’ she said. “The M-Net VUKA! Awards will continue to both inspire the industry and grow in parallel with it – and we wait in anticipation to see the magnificent heights it is sure to attain with the participation of such talented people, be they newcomers, contenders or professionals’.