SAFTAS celebrate local industry


SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: Linda Loubser writes…The 6th annual SAFTAS Fiction Awards on Saturday 10 March saw local celebrities from television and film as well as production companies and crew members descend on Gallagher Estate in Midrand for an evening hosted by Bridget Masinga and Jeannie D.

During the evening Intersexions (Curious Pictures and Ants Multimedia) won Best TV Drama Series; Isidingo was named Best TV Soap; the Best TV Comedy award went to Gauteng Maboneng (Engage-Entertainment and Rous House Productions) and Black Butterflies (Spier Films) received R50 000 from Etana Insurance after being named best feature film.

The awards ceremony was attended by celebrities such as Shona and Connie Ferguson (The Wild), radio personality Bailey Schneider, musician Zwai Bala, actor Vusi Kunene and Michelle Botes (Isidingo), and saw performances from Tuks Senganga and the Mzansi Youth Choir, Thandiswa Mazwai and Khuli Chana.

Chairperson of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) Mmabatho Ramagoshi noted that the SAFTAS were not only important because of its significance to individuals, but because it gives a chance to celebrate South African heritage.
“We are sending out the message that we have begun an important process of bringing out the best in filmmakers so they can be real catalysts for change,’ said Ramagoshi.

She added that the NFVF strives to develop the industry, and that according to a new three tier pyramid approach to funding, preference will be given to first time filmmakers, women and production companies that hire people with disabilities.
“We will be awarding a three year slate of R2.5m per annum to women filmmakers. Now it’s your chance as women to break these barriers,’ said Ramagoshi.

She added that the NFVF board also wanted to see the establishment of film councils in each province by the end of its term, and would be installing digital screens in rural areas to “bring back the bioscope times’.

Best actor in a feature film winner Deon Lotz said he believes film in South Africa is in a good place. “I’d like to see that we have a film at Cannes each year. That must be our aim,’ said Lotz.
Life Time Achievement Awards were given to Roberta Durrant for her contribution to South African television production, Athol Fugard for his contribution to writing for stage and screen, and Humble Mhlongo for his contribution as sound recordist.

“I’m deeply honoured and I feel deeply grateful,’ said Durrant. “We don’t do this on our own, and I’ve worked besides some wonderfully creative people. I share this with you all. Thank you to the local broadcasters who’ve given us a platform to showcase our work,’ she continued.

Mhlhogo thanked the production houses who “made sure we got the jobs to prove ourselves’, as well as the line producers and fellow technicians he had worked with during the years.

Chairperson of the SAFTAS Committee Eddie Mbalo promised that the feasibility of a South African Film and Television Academy would be investigated after the 2012 ceremony. “We ask all broadcasters and the industry at large to continue to support this initiative,’ said Mbalo.

For a full list of SAFTAS fiction award winners, click here and for a list of non-fiction winners, click here.


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