Festival to empower emerging filmmakers
The second installment of the Struu Film Festival took place at the Rhoo Hlatshwayo Art Center in Daveyton on April 8.
According to the festival’s project manager, Thoko Hlahla, it aimed to promote local talent and showcase films that tell authentic township stories.
“We saw a gap where emerging filmmakers hardly thrive. They are stagnating and have never reached a level where they can compete on an international platform,” Hlahla said.
She told the City Times that she received 51 submissions.
Among the shortlisted films were Owami, Kimberlite, Ungowami na? and Nomalizo.
She added that the festival aims to become a link between funding institutions such as the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and filmmakers in the township.
“We want to make sure that when someone has made a film without a budget, we become an intermediary to help them become established filmmakers.
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“We will be having discussions with different film institutions as we want to encourage the GFC, NFVF and DTI to help us develop these filmmakers to shoot Oscar-level films.”
She said the NFVF’s tier system makes it difficult for emerging filmmakers to access the organization’s funding, as most funding goes to established first-tier filmmakers.
“Emerging filmmakers need funding from the NFVF. They are still stuck at level three. We want them to move from the reputation of township filmmakers to national recognition.
“They showed they had the talent and the zeal for it. So we want them to take it to another level and be recognized at festivals like the Durban International Film Festival.
Hlahla said that in addition to the festival, they also hold a workshop where they give feedback on films that were not selected to allow filmmakers to improve their work.
“A lot of emerging filmmakers need an opportunity. They lack encouragement. When we made a call, we realized that some were lacking in certain skills. So, in preparation for this festival, we have a workshop to empower emerging screenwriters, directors and producers.
“For someone, making a film requires courage. When we review a movie, we also give feedback on what we saw missing so it can improve.
“From there, we will run a series of workshops focusing on different disciplines, such as directing, filming and writing a compelling script.”
Hlahla encouraged the filmmakers to be creative and move away from the common theme of crime that many filmmakers have romanticized.
“We have to get away from this theme. We must represent the way of life of the canton well. We want to encourage all filmmakers to get creative and start portraying our lifestyle in a more positive way.
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