SAFTA winners’ celebratory dinner


SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: Winners of the 2013 SAFTAs (South Africa Film and
Television Awards) were treated to a gala celebratory dinner held at Summer Place,
Johannesburg, on 19 April. This is the first time in SAFTAs history that an event of
this nature has been held.

The celebratory dinner was hosted by SAFTA custodian, the National Film and Video
Foundation (NFVF), and comprised a three-course sit down dinner with live
entertainment in the form of Lulu Dikana and The Panache Boyze. Popular radio
personality Tholi B of Yfm was MC for the evening.

Said Tholi B: “The SAFTA committee wanted to hold a special event to honour the
winners because after the awards ceremony everyone goes back to set and that’s it.
If you’re a wildlife filmmaker like Dereck Joubert then you go back to the bush.

“Held in mid-March, this year’s SAFTAs were the biggest ever. I found out through my
radio show that this time most of our listeners knew about the SAFTAs. There’s no
denying it – the SAFTAs are massive.’

SAFTA chairperson and NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi added: “We wanted to take the SAFTAs
beyond the awards ceremony night. It’s really worth celebrating tonight’s dinner
because it’s a momentous occasion as we’ve never done it before. Our aim is that the
SAFTAs grows into something huge.’

Mkosi acknowledged the presence of the chairperson of the NFVF council, Mmabatho
Ramagoshi, as well as other council members.

“Our instruction from the NFVF council is that the SAFTAs must be for the people,’
continued Mkosi. “The SAFTA brand must become more meaningful to the industry and
the public. Tonight is all about the winners; it’s a much more relaxed evening than
the awards ceremony because people aren’t sitting here with fingers crossed,
wondering if they will win.

“It takes a lot of work and talent to be able to sit where you are sitting this evening.
And now, we’re throwing the challenge back to you – it’s up to you to make a song
and dance about your SAFTA Golden Horn trophies. When people introduce you they
should say, “the winner of the Golden Horn’. This trophy is not an award just for one
night only – it’s a stepping stone to grow your career.’

Robbie Thorpe, producer of this year’s SAFTA best film, Material, acknowledged all
those who had been nominated for the 2013 SAFTAs.

“There was a lot of great work this year, especially in the feature film category. Every
time filmmakers are interviewed they are always asked when “the great South African
film’ will come along. But all we’re trying to do is sell cinema tickets. So, how do we
understand film? Does it have cultural significance? I believe films are time capsules;
everything that we do should be a reflection of the times in some way.

“South Africans are not culturally confident. We have to understand that all our
stories are significant and we have to be more honest culturally. So we have to be
braver so that our work defines us as South Africans. We have to be able to have the
hard conversation and acknowledge that apartheid is to blame for most of South
Africa’s woes,’ said Thorpe.

He stressed that filmmakers have to find ways of getting people with money to invest
in their films.

“Our government is doing a lot for the industry, through the Department of Trade &
Industry (the dti) rebate and the NFVF funding cycles. There are people out there with
money. Artists define our culture and yet the only rich people we remember in history
are Italy’s De Medici family because they were patrons of the arts. It’s vital that
filmmakers engage people with money.’

Report by Joanna Sterkowicz


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