AFF is what I was craving for (written by Mercy Mangwana -Mubayiwa/AFF Fellow 2018)
Mercy (with headphones) recording sound on location in Gugulethu, Cape Town
“We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected for our African Film Fellowships (AFF) 2018…” read the email that changed everything.
I could not believe that I had been accepted into AFF 2018, a fellowship I had read about as a life changer, a window into the future and one of the best in Africa.
I was so excited, finally my prayers had been answered.
When my academic supervisor at Midlands State University, Dr. Oswelled Ureke sent me the call for applications I was very excited and we decided to apply together.
I prayed and kept my fingers crossed.
I knew AFF was going to be a big thing for me, ending 2018, my year of gathering experience on a high note.
The African Filmmaking fellowships is a dynamic seven-week course run by UCT’s Centre for Film and Media Studies (CFMS) for post graduate students and their mentors. It aims to empower the participants to improve their film-making skills, as well as set up similar courses in their home countries.
To be accepted into such a course is a highlight in my career as an emerging filmmaker.
It is a dream come true.
Fast forward to Cape Town. On my first day I was as nervous as a new bride. All changed when we did introductions and I realised that l was at the right place, at the right time, with the right people.
Meeting other filmmakers from Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe united in purpose, exchanging skills and experiences is the best thing that AFF is offering me.
Having worked for a production company for a close to a year back home and being in the process of setting up my own, AFF is equipping me with critical skills I require.
The first two-minute personal biography exercises helped me warm up. Our mentor was amazing. She guided us in shooting and interviewing each other. We had been divided into groups of four and ours consisted of two experienced South African filmmakers, one Ethiopian and myself. We made a great team.
The biographies went well.
I am learning a lot dealing with conflicts on set, which has always been my weakest attribute.
I am a very emotional person and l easily get bruised. But thanks to my team and our mentor, Miki Ridelinghuys I am stronger now and can easily handle differences.
The journey has been amazing, thanks to my group.
This group teaches me team work, depending on each other, trusting each other, tolerance and emotional intelligence. It is a group of people from different backgrounds, uniting together for a purpose and standing up for each other.
At first it was all so confusing for me but as we engaged with each course, editing, basics of camera operation, basic sound mixing, basic lighting, group dynamics and story structure, things began to shape up.
When we pitched documentary ideas during one of the sessions led by Thabo Bopape, I realised how much stories were surrounding me back home. I just needed to hear other people pitch simple stories in an amazing way.
Marius was amazing in his lectures on camera handling.
I learnt the basics of camera during my first degree at Midlands State University. I never understood, and never really got to master camera operation well, so I still had my ‘stupid’ questions.
Marius traced the origins of the camera and that was enough to make me understand its functions and principles. Now I can safely say ‘ give me a camera and I will show you the world around me’.
Another exciting encounter was editing. I always thought editing was just one of those things, for nerds and people who are anti-social. But now I have a whole new perspective. It is a magical thing for the most creative individuals. And I count myself amongst those.
The members of staff at UCT are particularly kind, helpful, understanding and dedicated.
Cape Town has been amazing.
In my fourth week now and still going.
I can not get enough of the amazing views, the mountains, the weather, the beaches and the colourful infrastructure.
I remember one day driving to the city centre and l kept pointing out to my friend Samkeliso, one of the fellows, the colourful houses. I said to her “ colour is an expression, these people are not afraid of colour, they love exploring and these colourful houses are an expression of a fearless people, confident and rooted people who have found themselves and I pray one day my nation will have this”, she nodded in agreement.
I am still exploring but our AFF schedule for now is action packed!
Our 2018 AFF Fellows cohort. Back-row L-R: Bhekizulu Tshuma (Zimbabwe), Samkeliso Ncube (Zimbabwe), Yodit Bayissa (Ethiopia), Mercy Mubayiwa (Zimbabwe), Sahron Nanfunka (Uganda), Oswelled Ureke (Zimbabwe). Front-row L-R: Ruth Nazzinda (Uganda), Tesfagebriel Tekola (Ethiopia).
#Ask Danny (written by Charlotte Hoareau Intern @ UCT TV)
(L-R): Dr. Liani Maasdorp, academic director of UCT TV, Prof Herman Wasserman, head of the Centre for Film and Media Studies & Mister Danny Glover
On the 3rd of August 2018, the great American actor, producer and activist Danny Glover visited the University of Cape Town (UCT) for a seminar called #AskDanny. The seminar was hosted by Cineculture in partnership with UCT's Centre for Film & Media Studies(CFMS) and Wesgro. The event was filmed by UCT Television Studio. I had the opportunity to attend this unique event and to meet Danny in person.
I was particularly excited to see him as I am a huge fan of his movies. I still recall watching the Lethal Weapon film series and The Colour Purple with my father when I was a child. More recently, I found his performance in Saw remarkable and he made me laugh so hard in Death at a Funeral.
Yet, Danny Glover is so much more than that. This talented man used his fame in order to benefit others. I admire how he started being an activist in college as a member of the black student’s union to end up becoming the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in 1998.
I was aware of Danny’s incredible achievements, hence my nervousness before his arrival on Upper Campus. As he entered the New Lecture Theatre, I recognised him immediately. To my great surprise, I met a very tall man particularly cheerful and down to earth.
The actor came to speak to students about African media as well as their future careers within the industry. During his speech, the audience was quiet and awed by the wisdom of this great activist. He spoke about his own experience, gave advice to the crowd and insisted on the importance of storytelling to induce change.
Larry Craig: Personal security for Mister Danny Glover with audience in the background
I found this seminar rewarding and inspiring. I believe Danny’s intention was to persuade film and media students to share their diverse stories in order to restore justice for the oppressed and forgotten individuals. Danny’s words were so meaningful, I clearly understood the link he was making between the American and South African context.
After the event, while everyone was struggling to get a photograph with the American VIP guest, I realised the importance of hosting such seminar for UCT students. Admittedly, we cannot have a celebrity on campus every day. Nonetheless, students should be encouraged to engage in impact production & activist work.
I thought that the seminar was particularly relevant for aspiring black film-makers hoping to transform the African film and media landscape. Yet, I am convinced that Mr Glover's ideas can inspire other individuals who are ready to speak their minds and share their ideas on national issues.
Students have a high intellectual potential and as members of society, they should be given the means to contribute fresh ideas in order to help the nation. #AskDanny was effective in allowing students to reflect on some difficult topics and to get the perspective of a role model with 30 years of experience in the film industry.
I left the seminar, overjoyed for having a picture with a superstar, and motivated for my future endeavours. As students and aspiring storytellers, we are surrounded by information, some is great, most are distractions that separate us from our goals. Fortunately, we can be reminded why what we do matters thanks to fruitful discussions like this one.
"Go out and just do it" – Danny Glover
Participatory Video Workshop (written by Matthew Goosen Intern @ UCT TV)
Participants working in groups
The Centre for Film and Media Studies (CFMS) and Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education participatory video workshop was held on Friday 20 May 2016. The workshop was organised by Dr. Liani Maasorp and Julia Cain of the CFMS at UCT. The morning began with brief introductions of everybody followed by tea and snacks. During the orientation, everybody spoke about themselves and why they are passionate about filmmaking and activism. In order for people to get to know one another and to share their ideas, everybody was asked to sit next to someone that they didn’t already know. Liani started off the workshop by teaching about the methodologies, techniques and styles of documentary filmmaking. The participants were taught about shot design, framing, camera functions and shooting techniques. After going in depth into the technical details, the lecture was followed by a note on how impactful documentaries can be, not only on an emotional level, but on a societal level as well. We were shown the impact that a documentation of an individual’s life can and how strongly that can affect the community. This notion delighted the participants as many of them seemed very interested in activism. The lecture was followed by a very active Q&A session during which there was a discussion regarding what was just taught.
Dr Liani Maasdorp (left), and Julia Cain (right), presenting on participatory filmmaking
The participants began to discuss how they could apply documentary filmmaking to suit the interests of a community and how they as filmmakers could be able to make a difference and help those in need. The participants were taught the very important fact that documentaries are much more powerful on an emotional level if they focus on an individual rather than a broad topic that is merely supported in the documentary through facts and data. After Liani’s insightful lecture, Julia Cain had a presentation prepared regarding the specifics of participatory filmmaking. We learned that participatory filmmaking is a mode in documentaries wherein the filmmakers incorporate the assistance of the people that they are documenting in order to get a more realistic interpretation of their lives. The participants at the workshop were then shown several clips from participatory documentaries that were meant to give them an idea of what they could potentially do as filmmakers.
Noluvuyo Mjoli, MA in Documentary Arts student at UCT, and Masixole Booi ,a fellow at Tshisimani working on the NX5 camera
After Julia’s lecture, we broke for lunch. When we came back, it was time for the participants to get some hands on experience. The students were told to break into small groups and would learn how to work the basics of a Sony NX5 camera. They were told to rig the tripod and mount the camera on it, after which they were given a chance to turn on the camera and work the settings while Julia instructed them on what to do. After working on the cameras, there was time for a short introduction to the theory and practicality of editing as Liani had stealthily shot a small video while Julia was presenting her lecture, which she then edited in front of the class on Final Cut Pro 7. After wrapping up the cameras and the gear the workshop ended off with the inspired participants heading off to make their own documentaries, after leaning how to.
UCT 's Sony Cameras Helps Cape Town TV Reach Our City (written by Tina-Louise Smith Head Producer @ CTV)
The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) recent donation of three secondhand Sony video cameras to Cape Town TV (CTV) has helped the station tremendously.
Before the cameras arrived at CTV, our camera equipment was very limited. We had to share cameras across productions and cancel shoots when cameras were unavailable. With our new cameras we are able to produce both studio and location insert content, and we are able to cover more stories which allows us to reach more people in our city.
CTV editors and camera people appreciate the Sony cameras as the picture quality has increased significantly. We now broadcast improved picture quality in Our City to our viewers. The cameras are user friendly and easy for newcomers to operate; the battery life is long; the manual focus is excellent and the iris adjusts well to outside light.
Cape Town TV, its management, staff and viewers thank the University of Cape Town and appreciate the donation. It has helped their station immensely!
Thank you UCT!
CityVarsity First Year Film Students learn at the UCT Multicam studio (written by Chelsea Kunhardt)
CityVarsity film students have had the privilege to operate UCT’s multi-camera equipment in the Television studio below the Baxter theatre.
First year film students were allowed to shoot in the TV professional suites -getting a sense of the real deal and being equipped with crucial skills to enter the industry.
Alan Johannes chief technical officer said, “This is actually the first time I got to work with CityVarsity students. In the beginning I thought ‘My goodness these guys are first years, I’m going to be in for some trouble,’ but actually they adapted very well. It’s been great working with them.”
Johannes assisted the students in finding the right direction by answering questions and providing them with expert advice, from operating the audio mixing console to directing them on set.
The film students had the honour to work on this proficient set for almost two weeks, familiarizing themselves with the camera and editing gear. It was the perfect playground. Before they even started shooting, students had to rehearse and plan their sets. They then proceeded to shoot during the second week, capturing two short shoots a day.
Tim Spring, a senior lecturer at CityVarsity even made an appearance on set acting as an imaginary friend to the leading male in the script which was directed by Peta Van Zyl.
The crew members worked cohesively through the laughter and banter. They left feeling inspired and prepared to work in the film industry and culture.
Danielle Flockton, Head of Department had the following to say:
“We were fortunate enough to be able to have our students train in the UCT Multicam Studio. They were given a week of training on the cameras and the control room, were given time to practice in a facilitated environment, ask questions and learn by trying it out. Alan was incredibly patient and professional always available to offer help and show them how it’s done. The students then had time to bring in props and sets to rehearse and plan with. The second week was shoot week with two short shoots a day. Again Alan was always on call, patient and kind. They all learnt an incredible amount about the cameras, the decks, the studio, how to act on set, how to adequately prepare, what to look out for and what the industry needs. They left after two weeks feeling inspired, keen to work in the industry and equipped with the know how to enter the industry as a trainee with some experience.”
SRP 2014 - six stunning short films produced by UCT third year film students
By Liani ( UCT TV, Lecturer in Screen Production and Film and Television Studies )
It was with great excitement that CFMS staff, Screen Production students, parents, friends and supporters gathered at the Labia Cinema on Thursday 16 October for a screening of the third year film students’ graduation films or SRPs (Senior Research Projects). As the convener of the three undergraduate Screen Production courses, this event is one of the highlights of the year for me. Six films were screened: four fiction and two documentary films. These 10 to 12 minute long films are the final outcomes of the Screen Production programme, and so this event is really a celebration of a year and a half of hard work.
The Screen Production students inspire me every day with their passion for filmmaking, work ethic and sheer determination. I’m amazed at what they managed to pull of while attending and completing assignments for other courses. Screen Production is really a full time job, if you ask me!
The bulk of the equipment the teams use comes from UCT TV, of course. A big thank-you is due to Molly and Alan, who deal with equipment and facility bookings, repairs, support and maintenance during SRP production and post-production.
Below is a little bit more about the films, just to give you a taste of the variety of genres, topics and styles the students tackled this year. But you really need to see them, so watch out for screenings at local festivals in the coming months
Rebekah is a psychological thriller about a petty criminal, Franklyn who, whilst running away from the police, sneaks into a middle-class suburban house to hide and catch his breath. Pushed by fear to enter the house, he stumbles upon a whole lot more than he bargained for. This short film reveals the moral dilemma of a man faced with a frightening situation and his choice between doing the right thing and saving himself. Stefan van der Vegte appears as Franklyn, Kendal Barrett as Alison, the captive in the house Franklin enters and Lionel Strasky is the creepy man, Nelson, who has taken Alison captive. The team says they tried to make a film that both acknowledged and pushed our boundaries as student filmmakers. Arnold Leibrandt was the director, Emma Openshaw the producer, Michael Everard the director of cinematography, Molly Parkinson the production designer and Matthew Sudding was the editor and sound designer. Filmmaker, actor, screen writer Matthew Kalil supervised the team. You can find out more about Rebekah on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rebekahthemovie and see their trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fc3wNnHqWs
Ready Or Not
Ready Or Not is a zombie comedy about Ed, a zombie enthusiast who is preparing for the end of the world. When his girlfriend moves in, Ed rethinks his priorities, resulting in his untimely demise. The use of the highly rated Arri Alexa camera gives the film high production value which is strengthened by the upcoming South African actors Richard Lothian, Jenna Saras and Marty Kintu. With the collaboration of the production team, Colleen Knox (director), Roxanne Sibilski (producer), Megan Oehley (cinematographer), Chris Botha (editor), Duduzile Chinyenze (production designer), and help from the mentorship of Dr. Ian Rijsdijk Ready Or Not joins the ranks of the highly popular zombie genre. For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ready-Or-Not/805042369505966 or follow the production team @ReadyOrNotMovie
Taj Mahal Halaal
Taj Mahal Halaal is a comedy-thriller about two female stoners named Lotus and Sandy who collect the wrong gatsby they ordered at a superette store with a nafarious secret. Lotus is played by Danielle Alheit, a drama student from ACT Cape Town and Sandy is played by Leanne Ferreira, a postgraduate UCT drama student. The nervous, naive Abed is played by the talented Lee Roodt and the stern, intense Sateesh is played by the comical entertainer Sunil Osman. The film was written and directed by Malcolm Bigyemano who got his inspiration for the story from watching many stoner films such as Weeds. Gustav Franke-Mathecka was the cinematographer for Taj Mahal Halaal and enjoyed the challenge of researching information on how one can shoot within a car. Samantha Dollman was the producer and also took on the opportunity to be the production designer for the film as well. Molly Parkinson joined the team to be the editor and used hip-hop montage styles within the edit. Tamara MacLachlan and Dr Alexia Smit co-supervised the production. The team thanks their sponsors, Pick ’n Pay and Phoenix Risk Solutions, and especially the Mugamba family. To find out more about this film go to: https://www.facebook.com/tajmahalhalaal. Their trailers are available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBCy8C-0st0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-QkyTyUJJQ
iKasi Heartbeat takes to the streets of Philippi, Cape Town to explore the city's bizarre, often ridiculed izikhothane subculture. Through a series of revealing interviews, the documentary gains an insight into the daily lives of three young men that identify themselves as izikhothane. At its core, iKasi Heartbeat communicates a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the izikhothane subculture that finds an expression through dance, expensive dress and unapologetic, late-night revelling. The three skothane that share their stories in the film are Sindisa Silingile, Luthando Guquka and Ayanda Gege. The team that made the film is producer Cai Nebe, director Zime Ntaka, cinematographer Dana Toerien, editor: Tal Aharonov and sound designer Evidence Magaga. They were supervised by documentary filmmaker and academic Dr Julia Cain and supported by their indispensable fixer Bandile Stokwe. The team sees their greatest achievement as working with members of the Philippi community to create a film that provides a quirky look at the lives of young South Africans growing up in one of Cape Town's most impoverished suburbs. To find out more about the film, go to their website: http://ikasiheartbeat.wix.com/uctshortdoccie or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ikasiheartbeat A behind the scenes video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewoqi27AFVg and the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCa2kNuQfyA
The Face and Other Badly Told Jokes
The Face and Other Badly Told Jokes is a light-hearted essay film looking at the struggle of the self. When are you most yourself? If who you are is something internal, but you can only relate to other people through external media, how can you be certain that what you are ‘saying’ to people is the same thing as what they are ‘hearing’? What does how we dress, the way we act, what we say, tell other people about us? There is a conflict raging in every person between the self we ‘choose’ to show to others and the self that exists when we think no one is watching, or when we aren’t thinking at all. This raises questions as to whether people can ever really change or grow, or whether everyone is constantly changing and can therefore never be trusted to act in the same way they did years, months even moments earlier, thus rendering all human interaction a game with no rules, a joke with no punch line. Through a blend of documentary, fiction and a semiotic analysis of the world around us, The Face and Other Badly Told Jokes is an attempt to come to terms with these issues. The crew behind this thought-provocing film is: Sam Kentridge (director), Tayla Withers (producer), Kyle Wallace (editor) and Jethro Westraad (director of photography). The cast includes Dylan Owen, Donna Cormack-Thompson, Phillip Munda and Gilad Levanon. Filmmaker Jenna Bass supervised the team. The film’s trailer can be found here: http://youtu.be/1ZvwHSPJLHA and you can follow the production on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefaceshortfilm?ref=bookmarks
When the team behind the experimental documentary JAS BOUDE (slang for ‘good legs’, used in reference to a skater doing an impressive trick) says ‘this is not a movement, it's a stampede’, you’d better believe it. The film toys with the boundaries between documentary and fiction, fact and fiction as it explores the dynamics between identity and the space in which it is formed. It follows the 20sk8 skateboarding collective from the Cape Flats to Cape Town CBD and back against. Through an intimate study of the group, film explores the struggles experienced by these skateboarders as they face gangsterism and drugs in their community. Set in a landscape that physically reflects the injustices of the past, the film shows how the ‘born free’ generation are expressing themselves through an emerging subculture in the Cape Flats and asks whether it can inspire significant change. The film was made by Georgina Warner (director, editor), Imraan Christian (director, cinematographer) and Fritz Bucker (producer) and features Shuaib Philander, Toufeeq Raubeinheimer, Pedro St Clair, Keeran Noah and Wesley (Toothless) Smith. Of the production process, the team say: "Jas Boude was shot in and around Cape Town, from Mitchells Plain, to Elsies River, Bontiheuwel, Valhalla Park and other notorious gang areas. The crew had to be aware and respectful of these areas as they soon realised that some places were ruled by subcultures and not the government. Luckily the subjects were all from these areas and proved to be very necessary 'tour guides'. As for the journey from these areas, to Cape Town, and back, a different awareness of a post-apartheid South Africa is realised, one some of our citizens are entrenched with. Jas Boude, therefore, reveals a perspective unknown to most, about a country that is ever evolving culturally, and about one part of a contingent whole, fighting for a voice, and an identity within the ruling class".