The Durban based organisation, NEWF (Nature, Environment & Wildlife Filmmakers) N.E.W Pitch short documentary pitching competition aimed at discovering the next generation or nature, environment, wildlife conservation filmmakers, has announced it’s 2018 finalists.
The N.E.W Pitch is one of the key sessions at the Nature Environment and Wildlife Filmmakers Congress (NEWF) taking place from 16 – 18 July at Durban Botanic Gardens and surrounds – as part of Durban’s city-wide mid-year extensive focus on film.
The N.E.W Pitch is targeted particularly towards emerging and student filmmakers in order to provide them with pitching experience and the opportunity to win a production grant to produce a short documentary film in this genre.
An unprecedented nine finalists were chosen by a carefully selected panel of experts “We were intending to award eight finalists the opportunity to make a N.E.W documentary short film, but the panel were so impressed with the level of commitment, professionalism and great ideas of the final nine candidates, that they made the unanimous choice to award all nine finalists the opportunity to pitch, not eight as planned,” explains Noel Kok, NEWF Programmes Director.
“Of the entries we received, we had over 30 really good entries all of whom were possible contenders for our eight finalists. Even veteran film makers applied. The judges were enormously excited about the level, passion and professionalism of entries received and observed that the overall quality has grown substantially. This year we received entries from out of KZN and even out of South Africa – including Tanzania and Botswana,” said Noel Kok, NEWF Programmes Director.
“Geographically we have a finalist from Botswana; one from Limpopo province; two from Cape Town and five from greater Durban.”
Londiwe Shange from KZN with “Toxic Relations” about life in the South Durban basin;
Myles Arendse from Western Cape with “The Eco Brick” which will help us re-evaluate our relationship with trash;
Jessica Singh from KZN with “Epic Encounters” looking at saving Africa’s deadliest snakes;
Liana Hassim from KZN with “Vida” a homeless woman representing Mother Earth and the challenges she faces;
Surprise Matlaila from Limpopo with “Silent Victims” looking at the poaching of African vultures; Tessa Barlin from Western Cape with “Becoming One” a story about Lucky Mahlatsi Rapitsi who empowers rural children through nature and wildlife photography;
Emily Cross from KZN with “Part of the Pack” about the African Wild Dog; Tumo Maokisa from Botswana with “When We Worked Away” about sustainable organic farming; and Brian Khawula from KZN with“Umelusi” about lessons learned from a rural cattle herder.
During the 2018 NEWF Congress, the winners of last year’s Pitch will screen their film for the first time.
The winners of last year’s competition were:
Fidel Tshivhasa for his story on the humpback whale migration that takes place in KZN;
Shivan Parusnath for an undercover look at the illegal reptile trade;
Mikhale Singh whose project is about the endangered Pickersgills’ Reed frog and the Ashdown and Imbali EnviroChamps (Liberty NPO and DUCT) who are a group of individuals working to protect the wetlands and rivers in their area.These films are all now complete and will be premiered at a public screening on Durban’s New Beach on July 17th.
“The Congress promotes outstanding environmental, conservation and wildlife films from professional, aspiring and student filmmakers. It will contribute towards transformation through our developmental programmes aimed at enriching the industry with an increased pool of diverse content creators,” he said.
For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Pragna on 064 294 0669.
Johannesburg South Africa: 01 November 2016 – It is with a heavy heart that the Independent Producers Organisation announces the passing of its Executive Member, Award-winning Producer/Director Junaid Ahmed, age 57.
Junaid Ahmed worked his way up the ranks, he was a man who passionately loved the South African film industry. He hailed from Durban, South Africa and became an international award-winning director and producer. His work includes productions for South African broadcasters, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. Ahmed’s accolades include Best Sports Documentary at the Milan FICTS Festival for “Iqakamba – Hard Ball” and “Lucky” – BAFTA nominated for Best Short Film and winner of Best Short Film at over 40 International Film Festivals including Oscar eligible festivals of Clermont Ferrand, Cinequest San Jose and Aspen Shortsfest.
Junaid Ahmed’s feature films include directing “More Than Just A Game” which was acquired by Sony Pictures International (SPI) for international distribution. Together with Helena Spring, Junaid worked on a slate of films supported by the National Film and Video Foundation, and produced the 1st of the films, Hard to Get which was released in cinemas in August 2014, and went on to win multiple awards at various major international film awards. Known by many for his hard work, creativity and an innovative mind, Junaid’s last work released at the cinemas was Happiness is a Four Letter Word, where he worked with a brilliant team that comprised, producing partners Bongiwe Selane and Helena Spring, director Thabang Moleya. Happiness is a Four Letter Word surpassed expectations and became the first film by a team of black producers and director to make history, surging pass R12m at the South African Box Office in just over 30 days.
In one of the online posts published in 2010, fellow Executive Member at IPO, Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat had this to say about Junaid – “Junaid is a true gentleman and a fantastic director. Honest, hardworking, professional and very, very funny. He is one of the most creative and inventive people I have ever met”.
IPO Chairperson and Colleague Akin Omotoso said – “Junaid indeed epitomised excellence! His work, professionalism and commitment to his craft positively impacted the lives of many people, not only in South Africa, but also around the world. May his soul rest in peace,”
Click herefor info on the Independent Producers Organisation
Elements Film Lab is an initiative of the Shnit ExpandedTalent Focus Programme for Playground Cape Town in 2016. Over the festival weekend filmmakers will participate in a series of workshops, discussions, conversations and engagements that will further their paths in creating world-class short films. In 2015 the first Elements Film Lab was hosted at the historic Cape Town Club on Queen Victoria Street, a short walk from the festival hub at the Labia Theatre – the oldest independent theatre house in Cape Town.
This year we reignite the spirit of the lab at Truth Coffee on Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. The steam punk themed venue is sure to inspire new creatives, artists, writers and filmmakers to produce and share their unique stories.
Tickets costs only R300 and includes:
Full access to the Elements Film Lab with complimentary coffee and lunch. Ticket sales close Monday 3 October 2016.
Join the Elements Lab team by emailing email@example.com – volunteers will participate at labs and other Shnit events, receive festival screening privileges and be included in industry only events.
Hosted by: Sean Drummond Speakers: Brent Palmer, Nosipho Dumisa, Meg Rickards and Daryne Joshua
Our panel of experts each come with a unique collection of experiences across multiple formats of filmmaking, web series, documentary, shorts, features, episodical and series – including live performance. This panel discusses telling stories in different formats, exploring how the format influences the story and the craft of developing stories for those formats in particular. They share their experiences in taking these stories and getting them produced for a live viewing audience.
Round Circle Intros
Organisations: Creative Nestlings, Women in Film and Jameson Indie Channel
Organisations, institutes and individuals are given the opportunity to talk about what they offer filmmakers. These 20 minute slots give filmmakers a great opportunity to engage personally with industry figures and make personal connections. By expanding their networks filmmakers will open up new opportunities, ideas and inspiration.
Selling Films Workshop
Hosted by: Sean Drummond Speakers: Mayenzeke Baza and Pascal Shmitz
AAA Entertainment offers a workshop on the yay’s and nay’s when it comes to selling your film. With vast knowledge on the African and world film markets – AAA Entertainment is able to offer filmmakers an accurate and in-depth account of what it is like to have your film screened within continental Africa and worldwide.
Production War Stories
Hosted by: Sean Drummond Speakers: Rafiq Samsodien, Uga Carlini and Brigid Olen
Producers gather to talk about how they finance their films and the war stories that comes with getting films made. They will share their different theories, approaches and what really works to finance projects, while they share with participants of finance horror stories and things to not do.
In Conversation with Akin Omotoso
Hosted by: Didintle Ntsie Speaker: Akin Omotoso
Didi Ntsie concludes the 2016 lab with an intimate conversation with Akin Omotoso. Akin, fresh from successful premier of his latest film “VAYA” at the Toronto International Film Festival dives into his work, production processes and his personal thoughts on the creative journey a filmmaker goes through. Akin brings a wealth of experience and success and it is an honour to host him at Elements Film Lab.
Talented, committed, refreshingly irreverent: John Barker is a South Africanfilmmaker based in Johannesburg. His directional debut Bunny Chow was officially selected to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. The film has since received many accolades but, more importantly, touched the funny bone and heart of South Africans across the country.
Bunny Chow used a memorable retro-scriptingtechnique with the actors improvising their dialogue to communicate the comedy narrative. The outline script for Bunny Chow was written by Barker and David Kibuuka and later retro-scripted with Editor, Saki Bergh.
Multi-talented, with a career spanning two decades, Barker excels at directing feature films, commercial work, music videos and gritty documentaries; making for an outstanding and diverse showreel.
You can catch a one on one interview with John Barker and Marycate on E’bioscope 104fm BCR radio @09:30 Friday 22nd July 2016 – if you miss it you can find the podcast on their website.
Wonder Boy for President tells a story of Wonder Boy, a charismatic and authoritative young man from the Eastern Cape, who is coerced into running for president by two dubious and corrupt characters played by Ntosh Madlingozi and Tony Miyambo. Their aim is to mould him into a great politician and manufacture his down-fall at the right time, for the right price. It is a political satire that delves into political dynamics and challenges that arise.
Stick Man was produced by the UK based Oscar-nominated, BAFTA and International Emmy-winning production company, Magic Light Pictures – and if you haven’t already guessed it, animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish. The 26-minute short film was directed by London-based Jeroen Jaspaert and co-directed by South African Daniel Snaddon and was screened to nearly 10m people on BBC1 on Christmas day 2015. Voice cast include the likes of Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), and Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous),
Triggerfish seems to be doing something right, as this is one of many fantastic projects to come out of the Cape Town based animation studio. The team will also be working on another adaptation for BBC’s Christmas special, the ultimately popular Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.
“I’m so proud of the team who went beyond the call of duty to bring Stick Man to life,” says Snaddon. “Thank you to Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light, and the partners at Triggerfish, for this opportunity, and to Jeroen for bringing out the best in us.”
“This was Africa’s strongest showing at Annecy yet,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “In addition to Stick Man winning the TV category, our collaborator Clea Mallinson won the Animation du Monde pitching forum for her short Fairy Wheels; South African Naomi van Niekerk’s powder animation, ‘n Gewone Blou Maandagoggend, won the Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a First Film in the short film category; and Adama, a film set in West Africa, won the André-Martin Award for a French feature film. We also had a great response to the four TV series we’re developing from last year’s pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, so it’s exciting times for African animation.”
Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s minister of Arts and Culture, congratulated Triggerfish on Twitter. “This is an achievement we can all be proud of as South Africans, because Annecy’s Cristal Awards are considered the Oscars of animation.”
Howard James Fyvie is impressively passionate about making movies. This comes across in the very descript and insightful response to our questions. Fyvie and filmmaking partner Greg Kriek on Last One’s Out, made the feature film with a measly budget of 50 000 ZAR.
Last One’s Out was invited in 2015 to be part of South Africa’s official delegation at Cannes film festival market. Producer/director Fyvie does not disclose in the interview exactly how they managed to get their pale bums into an airplane and across the ocean but he was quite descript about the overall experience.
One can only assume, when you are passionate enough you will make it happen, like our South African Mzungus have. Enjoy the Q&A!
[TN]As a writer and/or producer what is the most treacherous part of making a movie?
[HF] Everything… making movies is one massive challenge. The difficulties are manifest and they get into every single facet: from your own motivation and self worth right down to trying to learn a new software program in a few hours to make a deadline. It’s all in there. It’s one massive challenge, and unless you’re driven by a passion and vision bigger than the difficulty, that challenge will consume you and paralyse you. I could chat about this for hours…
[TN]What is you goal when making a film, is it to deliver the entertainment factor or deliver a strong message?
[HF] It’s about being moved emotionally: either laughter, joy, fear, thrill. We strive to make entertainment that connects with audiences on an emotional level, and hopefully – influences them in a positive life-changing way.
[TN]How did you guys initially react to all the rejection of your first script and how many attempts did it take before your realised that it’s time to move on?
[HF] Initially, you kind of just don’t believe that people aren’t as interested in your script as you are. After about 6 or 7 formal pitches, we realised we were running out of time. That’s when we had to have a hard chat and scrap the first idea.
[TN]Please explain your process of writing a script aligned to a limited budget – surely there are other production facets in mind that would leave you doubting your story while writing?
[HF] Writing a script on a zero-budget is no different to writing a script on a massive budget: at the end of the day the fundamentals to a good story remain the same: they’re all about flawed characters trying to solve problems in their worlds. The budget stuff is just the cosmetics.
Start out by saying, “I have to write something that will excite me, move me and make me passionate to see this film.”
Then, work on your plot / characters / emotional core.
After that, ask yourself – Okay, now, how can I actually pull this off with no money at all. Literally, zero.
Then, take the surgeons knife and trim your initial concept down to the core level. You’ll often find that the IDEA is the same, but the execution of that idea can be done two ways: one, on a MASSIVE budget level, and 2 – on no budget. At the end of the day, the idea and the emotional core – will remain largely unchanged. Understanding this is crucial in making anything. MONEY WILL NOT MAKE IT BETTER.You and your team, make it better.
[TN]How long and what was your process of gaining trust within the South African indie filmmaking community?
[HF] Traditionally – gaining trust takes years, and it takes great work and great people skills. I mean, we’ve been working with people for about 10 or so years since I moved to Cape Town. However, you don’t need to wait around in order to start making things. Rope in strangers, rope in new comers – they can judge your character and your work straight away once they meet you.
[TN]Why did you choose film to express yourself?
[HF]Film is the greatest combination of all the art forms. I love the visual arts: photography, in particular, and yet I love the sonic side of things too, being a musician and a singer. Adding to this the fact that film allows you to IMAGINE and DREAM – and then see these things become a reality… that is unparalleled.
[TN] Besides the ridiculous budget, what makes Last Ones Out different to every other Zombie movie?
[HF] To be honest, LOO isn’t a zombie movie. It’s a road movie/ drama about broken characters trying to understand each other. The zombies are very far and few between – and don’t feature much at all. What features – what is unique – is the characters, the setting (African locale) and the ending. It just happens to have zombies. 🙂
[TN]How did you keep your cast and crew motivated?
[HF] Faith. You have to believe in the project yourself, and then communicate that to them on set all the time. You have to be exceptionally aware of their needs, and constantly give little speeches, show them footage that looks good, make sure there is food on set (even when there wasn’t food, which was often), and in general – you have to, at all times, maintain a positive, can-do attitude. They need to trust you 100%, trust that “These guys know what they’re doing, and everything is going according to plan”.
Thankfully – Greg Kriek and myself were 100% a team, always backing each other, always there for each other. That guy is a soldier. And only afterwards, once we got back to my place where I was editing, would we open up about how tough the day was.
Sometimes, we would just sit in silence for a while; there wasn’t anything to say. It was that bad. I mean, at one stage, our DOP was running during a take, in the dark, down a corridor, filming zombies chasing a flare… He fell headlong onto the floor, smashed his hand, the lens and entire camera system nearly trashed… he went to the hospital the next day and I carried on shooting that scene that night… That was just one day… We had stuff breaking in the middle of a take, we had our follow focus antenna get lost in a giant field of grass (that we were already shooting in illegally), we had the sun setting before we were anywhere near finished, we had actors just not pitching, we had crew members attempting to smoke weed during filming, we had times when we filmed with completely broken cameras… I mean, it’s a challenge. And the whole way through – you can’t let that show. Not ONE moment. You have to be above all of that – and keep moving. It’s about vision. Luckily, God was involved in our film and the miracle of pulling this whole thing off cannot be understated.
[TN] Now that you’ve been invited to Cannes with Last Ones Out, what is your next move?
[HF] Last Ones Out was invited in 2015 to be part of South Africa’s official delegation to the Cannes Film Festival’s market, the Marche Du Film. Myself and Producer/Lead Actor Greg Kriek had no cash to go, but somehow managed to be there – we paid for ourselves, stayed in a the cheapest accommodation we could find – cramped 1 bedroom flat 1 hour outside of town, stayed with a Welshman (Greg slept on the floor between the cupboard and the bed, I slept on the bed next to the Welshman. We used the toilet as the cupboard. It was nuts). That time was special. We got to meet people in Cannes and understand the business side of things.
Back in SA, we’ve had a few people making us deals to try sell Last Ones Out – at this stage, we haven’t chosen anyone yet because the film is only now being released and we want it to grow in profile before we hand it off to others, who will not be as passionate about driving it as us at this stage.
However, whilst Last Ones Out is being released independently throughout festivals, Greg and myself are actively working on acquiring budget for our next film. I’ve written an action comedy, along the lines of Tropic Thunder, and we’re currently trying to get that thing going. We’ve applied to the KZN Film Commission and will be meeting with them whilst at the DIFF.
Chosen by the NFVF to represent South Africa at the Cannes Film Festival market in 2015, Last Ones Out is the much-spoken-of feature film of the year starring breakout performer Greg Kriek (Momentum, n Man soos my Pa). Hailed as the first zombie movie made in Africa for Africa, the Last Ones Out team broke all the rules of the game and managed to pull off the unthinkable in this debut feature film by award-winning director Howard James Fyvie.
This art-house zombie drama also features top South African actress Christia Visser (Hollywood in My Huis, Ballade vir n Enkeling) and veteran performer Tshamano Sebe at the top of their game. It’s one not to be missed.
LOGLINE (27 words)
An American man is stranded in the middle of a zombie-infected Africa and must trust the help of three strangers in order to make it out alive.
Last Ones Out is a gripping character-driven road movie following the lives of 4 strangers in the midst of an African zombie crisis. Henry – a cynical American man – is forced to team up with three locals as they attempt to make it across the recently evacuated region of Africa and get to the evacuation point in time. Faced with the external threat of blood-thirsty zombies and the internal challenges of trusting complete strangers, the group must learn to work together fast in order to make it out alive.
Imagine waking up after an operation in a dirty hospital in a foreign country and realizing that you are completely alone. You scream until your voice goes hoarse, only to be rescued eight hours later by a young doctor covered in blood.
For Henry, an American visiting Southern Africa, this is no bad dream. Instead, this is his reality. After waking up alone, he finds himself caught in the middle of an African viral outbreak that has swept across the entire region. Aided by three others – Sunet – the young doctor, Siseko – an older hospital worker – and Vincent his nephew – the party must journey across an empty African region to the central evacuation point in time to make it out alive. However, along the way they discover that they are not alone. Something unnatural is hunting them. Something that will not stop. Something that is no longer human. Forced to work as a team, Henry and Sunet draw closer together as their love relationship gets pushed to the test in this action-packed character-driven story from breakout director Howard James Fyvie. Last Ones Out is a thrilling road-movie through the wild and untamed landscapes of a deadly and infected Africa. The question on everyone’s mind is… will they make it out alive?
Meet Marycate Masilela, the creator of E’bioscope – Her friends call her Peaches. She studied film at AFDA Johannesburg… [MM] I remember walking in those gates I thought I was going to be a director (she laughs) quickly how that changed. Yet my passion for film started when I was a toddler, without knowing my parents encouraged it when they replaced the baby sitters with the cinema (It’s best place to keep your child occupied and know where they are at the same time) while they spent their time at the casino, (laughs) good times. I spent the whole day watching blockbuster films, sometimes repeating, I always new the latest movies.
Radio was a coincidence in the sense that I’m from a small town and when my mom past, I decided to move back home to keep my papa company. I thought it would be a great advantage for me to focus on shooting my first documentary. The station programme manager for BCR Radio heard about me. He offered for me to be on radio and create a show about films. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, to produce and host my own show.
The show became a partnership between my production company Dlambili productions and the station. Most people don’t even think South Africa has a film industry. They hear about the big films, which are circulating on the cinema and only if they have been marketed well but the greater South African audiences are unaware of the small independent films that are on festivals or need votes for awards.
We need to create a culture where people go to cinema and festivals and support local films. This is important because the production company’s will make more films relevant to South Africa and stop imitating a Hollywood storyline here, no one wants to watch that. Hollywood mastered their craft, we can’t do it better than them but we can always do us.
[ZI] What challenges have you faced putting the E’bioscope show together and how long has the show been running?
[MM] The show aired for the first time during the last the week of October 2015. I was nervous and unfortunately my nerves took over my logic of speaking normally… I didn’t approach the radio as if I was speaking to friends. Basically it went south (laughs) but now I’m easy on the microphone.
The challenge was creating the feel of the show. I didn’t want it to be a film review, then play the trailer, and then rate the film: its been done! I added the hip hop blends in the back ground the live interviews and covering of festivals even being comfortable to make the show bilingual with English and Siswati. The show is conversational and is between my guest and I.
[ZI] Who was your favourite filmmaker to interview?
[MM] Ernest Nkosi, producer and director of Thina Sobabili. He’s a fan of good storytelling. By watching his film you could tell that he withdraws from his own life, and was honest enough to share with me, on E’bioscope, the two leading characters where inspired by his own childhood with his sister. His craft is real and relevant for the South African audience to watch.
[ZI] What is your most memorable interview?
[MM] Recently the director of Safe Bet announced on E’bioscope that his film was going to play on SAA in June. Which was an exclusive for us.
[ZI] Who’s your filmmaker crush?
[MM] Cute question…
[ZI] Where do you see our local film industry in the next 15 years?
[MM] I think South Africa is at an advantage right now, more and more Hollywood and Bollywood productions are shot here in South Africa. Meaning our industry is booming, all we need to ensure is that we are producing South African content the world wants to see.