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May 2016


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. 



December 2014





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!


November 2014

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.”


October 2014

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: and see their trailer here:

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: 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: Their trailers are available at:

Ikasi Heartbeat

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: or Facebook page: A behind the scenes video is available here: and the trailer here:

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: and you can follow the production on Facebook:

Jas Boude

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".