Artists and filmmakers from KwaZulu-Natal stepped onto the red carpet on Saturday 24 November for the first ever eThekwini Local Filmmakers Association (EFA) awards in Durban. The EFA, formed last year, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving and developing the local film Industry by uniting all Durban filmmakers, developing an audience for local films and creating an economically viable film industry in the city.
The award for Best Film was given to Andile Buwa for The Puzzle, and Buwa also scooped the award for Best Director of Photography.
Newcomer Philani Sethebe won the Best Actor award for the film Nothing for Mahala ,Gazi, and Rueben Smith won the award for Best Supporting Actor for Finding Joy. Best Actress was scooped by Bongiwe Hlophe for Khathazile and Best Supporting Actress went to Mabongi Sibisi for Indoda Ayikhali.
In the category for Best Director, Philani Sithebe scooped the prize for Knife Edge and Best Editor went to Mthokozisi Lembhethe for Paving Forward. Sithebe was also awarded for Best Screenwriter (Knife Edge) and the best promising screenwriter was awarded to Samkelo Dingi (The Farewell).
Umlazi born producer Bongani Khambule (Umlazi Gangsters) received a R10,000 voucher for equipment rentals from DT Broadcast Studios, while industry newcomer Vincent Mhlangu received a R60,000 Bursary to Study a three year Motion Picture Production course from AFDA Film Academy.
eThekwini Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala, speaking at the event, applauded EFA for their outstanding accomplishment in hosting the EFA Awards.”EFA was born out of struggle and hardship. Up and coming filmmakers did not have the platform to raise their own issues.’
She added: “They had to borrow the equipment to shoot movies. When the Mayor’s office was approached we discussed with the DFO how we could help them. We reached agreement that representing artists in KwaZulu-Natal they should speak with one voice. Building from this foundation firmly using once voice, this resulted in the formation of EFA.’
Shabalala further thanked Toni Monty from the Durban Film Office for her and the team’s dedication in realising the passion and work for aspirant film makers. The Deputy Mayor said she was pleased that the EFA had started their operations slowly and small. She was equally pleased with their hosting of the EFA awards on Saturday.
EFA Chairperson Andile Buwa said: “It is really fulfilling to be part of the making of history with the filmmakers on the frontline of their own empowerment. For a very long time we relied on the organizers of festivals and development agencies to do it for us, and this experience has taught us that if you ever wanted to get something done it may not happen unless you make it happen yourself,’ he said.
“It is for the first time ever that the filmmakers have created a platform for themselves that recognizes their own work. Ethekwini Local Film Awards is set to be an annual event which will set trends for filmmakers in other regions for them to learn from what the Durban filmmakers have achieved,’ Buwa said.
He added: “Of course we humbly acknowledge the important role played by the eThekwini municipality, particularly the honorable Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala and Durban Film Office to ensure that Durban filmmakers find their voice. It is through their tireless efforts that this association was born and if it was not for them, we would not be where we are today.’
Toni Monty of the Durban Film Office encouraged and applauded EFA for their tireless efforts. “It has been only a year since the association started and already the good work is bearing fruit.’