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shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival


CNN’s Inside Africa visits the shnit Cape Town film festival

On the latest episode of Inside Africa, CNN International meets some of South Africa’s most creative minds during the shnit Cape Town film festival. In addition to hearing from aspiring filmmakers using short films to tackle social issues in the country, the programme also meets acting legend John Kani.

The shnit Annual Film Festival is an international event with screenings in eight cities around the world. Sean Drummond, the founding festival manager of the Cape Town shnit speaks about this global reach, “What’s exciting is that a festival like that we have 35 South African films, each by very different filmmaking audiences, coming together and being challenged by cultures, people and knowledge that’s outside of themselves. So African stories in a global space. Changing the perception people have of the continent.”

Drummond also speaks about the origins of the festival. He tells CNN, “In the beginning, it was a vehicle to show our films, our friends films, and as we expanded the scope of the festival, we would seek out South African films every year and the idea was really to use it as a platform to bring the best of what’s happening in the world in short film into South Africa, to inspire and educate and to feel connected.”

Inside Africa meets the filmmakers who are using the festival to showcase their work. These include director Mzonke Maloney. Maloney’s films, like many others in the festival, are made on shoestring budgets and he works on commercial productions to fund these passion projects. He talks about using the medium of short film to tackle social issues, “It’s interesting to see over the past couple of years, the type of films that have been made and what people are doing. I think there’s a lot of impetus and sort of energy towards telling real stories, things that come from these environments in engaging the tension instead of avoiding evading and demand and trying to speak around it.”

Author and shnit jury member Lauren Beukes tells the programme about the opportunities the festival provides for aspiring filmmakers, “There’s not usually a way for people to kind of rise up the ranks to become directors, to become script writers. And to be able to get onto the international stage, which is why I think short film festivals are so empowered. Because it’s not a feature film, it’s not millions of rands, you know, you can actually get something put together and get it out there to an international audience and kind of hone your craft.”

Another member of the shnit jury is renowned South African actor John Kani. He talks about being asked to join the judging panel, “So when I got called to be part of the chair of the judges, it was incredible. I was so excited because it exposes you to where the new trends are, what young people think now, what the film industry in South Africa where it is going almost putting a finger on the pulse.”

Although Kani is best known for his theatre and movie work, he also has a deep appreciation for short film as a genre, “There are people who love to do the short film because it’s so challenging … it’s so compact, so focused, and that sort of hits you with a punch, and you take a breather and said, I’m watching the next one.”

The shnit Cape Town film festival is a key opportunity for filmmakers across South Africa. Drummond acknowledges the importance of the festival, “It feels like, maybe for the first time, African voices are owning African stories.”

Inside Africa airs on Friday, 24 January, at 18h30 SAST on CNN International

The show also airs at the following times:

Saturday, 25 January at 09h30 SAST, 14h00 SAST and 19h30 SAST

Sunday, 26 January at 00h30 SAST, 05h30 SAST, 12h30 SAST

Monday, 27 January at 05h00 SAST

Tuesday, 28 January at 09h30 SAST

SHNIT Worldwide Shortfilmfestival announces John Kani as Jury Head alongside accomplished panel

SHNIT Worldwide Shortfilmfestival has announced that Dr John Kani will head the Jury Panel for the 2019 festival that runs in Cape Town from 17 to 28 October at various venues in the city. The world renowned Dr Kani will be joined on the jury by cinematographer Gaopie Kabe, director and comedian Kagiso Lediga and writer Lauren Beukes.

John Kani’s celebrated acting career stretches five-plus decades, across multiple continents. Onstage, he gave Tony and Obie Award-winning performances in the plays Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island — which he also co-wrote. Kani also received an Olivier Award nomination for My Children! My Africa! An icon of theatre and film, Kani has countless stage, television and film credits, having appeared on stages including The Fugard Theatre, The Baxter Theatre, Johannesburg’s Market Theatre, and London-area stints with none other than Stratford-upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Company. Kani’s most recent film roles include The Lion King (voicing Rafiki) that is currently on circuit, The End Game, The Suit, Coriolanus, How to Steal Two Million, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, and Murder Mystery. In support of SHNIT and the short film genre, Dr.Kani commented, “short films are like small business entities; investing more money and energy into them results in a thriving film industry in any country”.

SHNIT is South Africa’s foremost and most established shortfall festival, celebrating its tenth anniversary  this year. Films will be screened at The Labia, the main hub each year, as well as the Alexander Bar and other venues in Cape Town. It is an exceptional non-profit transnational film festival hosted simultaneously on five continents in Bern, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Moscow and San Jose.  Driven  by a passion for locally produced cinema, excellence and embodying cultural exchange, diversity and originality, SHNIT Cape Town, like its global counterparts, screens high quality shortfilms that have between one to forty minutes to get the message across.

As always, the festival will showcase close to 200 films in a wide variety of themes and styles.  All South African films screened will be eligible for the Made in South Africa Audience Award while International submissions will compete for a collective global International Competition Audience Award.  Overall winners of the international competition will receive a Flaming Faun statuette and a share of the US$20,000 prize money at an awards ceremony held in New York City in October 2019. The full film schedule and timetable will be announced in August.

shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival celebrates its tenth year in South Africa

In honour of this milestone, the festival and partners will host a series of legacy screenings and retrospectives in Cape Town and Johannesburg before another world class line up of films hits screens in October. The festival will once again see South African and international shorts screening in and out of competition, with Jury and Audience Awards presented.

An icon of South African theatre and film will serve in the position of Jury President in 2019, to be announced in July. The deadline for entries is June 1 and entry is FREE for South African filmmakers.

shnit is an exceptional non-profit film event hosted simultaneously on five continents.  A veteran host city, Cape Town joined the shnit network in 2010. The festival has since grown to include hosts Bern, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Hong Kong, Moscow and San Jose, with a global awards Finale hosted in New York. The International Competition presents total cash prizes of US$ 20,000 over five categories and attracts award-winning filmmakers from around the globe. In addition, each host city presents National Jury and Audience Awards.

Driven by passion for local cinema, over 10 years in Cape Town shnit has screened over 240 South African shorts, screened to 40,000 audience members in the city and surrounds, hosted hundreds of local filmmakers and dozens of panels and masterclasses, produced 19 films through the Realtime competition, awarded 27 National prizes and seen multitudes of local filmmakers go on to South African and international film industry success.  Globally, shnit has awarded hundreds of thousands of Dollars in prize money, predicted Oscar-winning and nominated shorts yearly and felt the impact of short film in as many as 30 cities.

A highlight on South Africa’s festival calendar, shnit 2019 takes place 17-28 October in venues in and around Cape Town.  The official schedule and film line up will be announced in September.

shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival. Taking South African shorts to the world.

SOUTH AFRICAN FILMMAKERS: The MADE IN SOUTH AFRICA National Competition is FREE to enter and entries are automatically entered into all International Competition categories.  There is no need to pay International Competition submission fees.

AFRICAN FILMMAKERS: shnit is making a push for African films and filmmakers. Filmmakers not eligible for the MADE IN SOUTH AFRICA or MADE IN EGYPT categories are able to mail africa@entry.shnit.org to receive a promo discount code for the International Competition.


Films must be completed after 1 June 2017
Max. running time: 40 minutes (including credits). No restrictions on genre, content, language
Regulations and Entry through FilmFreeway [filmfreeway.com/shnitworldwideshortfilmfestival]

For queries, partnerships or press, please contact capetown@playgrounds.shnit.org

For information about shnit globally and locally, head to the shnit Website.

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