A record 354 entries have been received for the 2013 South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAS), held under the custodianship of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).
“This is literally 120 above the number of entries we received last year,’ says NFVF Communications & Public Affairs manager Naomi Mokhele. “It is also the highest number of feature films (28) ever entered into the SAFTAS. The only category that is slightly down in numbers is wildlife.
“We doubled our efforts to encourage entries for the 2013 competition and sent emails to all the industry databases. In an interview on SABC2’s morning show, Morning Live, our CEO Zama Mkosi emphasised the importance of the industry’s support for the SAFTAS.’
Mokhele notes that the newly introduced SAFTAS category, Best International Format, received six entries. “This category is for locally produced versions of international formats,’ she explains.
Free-to-air commercial broadcaster e.tv, which withdrew from the 2012 SAFTAS just before the event was held in March, is participating in the 2013 awards. In addition, popular SABC2 soapie and previous SAFTAS winner, 7de Laan, which did not enter the previous competition, has entered this time round.
Says Monde Twala, group head of e.tv Channels: “The NFVF and the SAFTAS committee have agreed to work together towards addressing issues raised by e.tv around the independence of the awards. These parties are looking at ways to work towards the establishment of an independent industry academy which will administer the awards.
“We would like to encourage the production industry not only to submit entries for the 2013 awards but to also voice any concerns to the SAFTAS committee. e.tv remains committed to supporting a transparent and fair SAFTAS competition that is fully representative of all stakeholders.’
Last year the producers of popular SABC2 soapie 7de Laan, Danie Odendaal Productions, took the decision not to enter the competition and mistakenly assumed that they would still be eligible for the Best Soapie category which is decided on by public vote.
Mokhele explains: “To be eligible for the public vote you have to enter the SAFTAS because it is a competition after all. Happily 7de Laan has entered the 2013 competition,’ comments Mokhele.
Colin Howard, line producer of 7de Laan says: “We decided to enter the 2013 competition as we feel it’s important to be part of the process and to get recognition for our cast and crew. It was difficult for 7de Laan fans in the 2012 SAFTAS as they weren’t able to vote for us.
“The issues that we raised last year are still of concern to us and pertain to the submission process and having to submit episodes instead of showreels into the performance category. We hope that this will change in the future.’
The breakdown of entries per category for the 2013 SAFTAS is: Drama Mini – 5; Drama Full – 10; Comedy – 11; Reality – 19; Variety – 14; Factual & Entertainemnt – 37; Sports – 1; Music – 13; Magazine – 26; Game shows – 5; News – 27; Talk Shows – 12; International Format – 6; Feature Film – 28; Documentary Full – 26; Documentary Short – 28; Short Film – 21; Wildlife – 7; Student – 18; Soapies – 8, and Animation – 13.
According to Mokhele the first phase of judging will end in December, with the final phase of judging to be completed in the third week of January. Nominees are to be announced in February.
“All judges are previous SAFTAS winners and nominees. Unlike previous years, the 2013 SAFTAS judging will be skills specific across the board. For example, performance judges will judge performances across categories – ie. feature films, television drama, sitcoms and soapies. The skills specific judging kicks in from the filtration phase,’ comments Mokhele.
For the second year running De Loitte will audit the judging process.
SAFTAS 2013 will take place over two evenings in early March. The tender for the host city and venue, as well as the tender for the production house to stage the awards events, was advertised in the national press.
The SAFTAS committee is in negotiations to broadcast the events – the first evening will be packaged highlights while the second night will be broadcast live.
Screen Africa magazine – November / December 2012