JOBURG TO BE THE HOME OF AFRICAN FILM

CityPress - - Front Page - CHARL BLIGNAUT charl.blignaut@city­press.co.za

It has been a quiet year for South Africa at the glitzy 2016 Cannes Film Fes­ti­val. Four young di­rec­tors have screened short films at the Cannes SA Film Fac­tory (Zee Ntuli, Zamo Mkhwanazi, Shee­tal Ma­gan and Sa­man­tha Nell), some lo­cal stars are at­tend­ing (Nomzamo Mbatha, Fulu Mogu­vhani and Mduduzi Mabaso) and the Na­tional Film and Video Foun­da­tion’s pavil­ion is rep­re­sent­ing lo­cal movies (no­tably, the Solomon Mahlangu biopic Kalushi, the pe­riod drama Free State, and the rom­coms Mrs Right Guy and Hap­pi­ness Is a Four-let­ter Word).

But the big news – an­nounced on Thurs­day night in Cannes – was that Jo­han­nes­burg is set to get a ma­jor, pro­gres­sive new film fes­ti­val with an African ac­cent.

Come end-Oc­to­ber, say or­gan­is­ers Dis­cop Africa and En­able Me­dia, the city’s “parks, squares, streets, her­itage build­ings and bio­scopes” – tra­di­tional and pop-up – will host work­shops and screen films for a full week (Oc­to­ber 28 to Novem­ber 5). Dis­cop, a ma­jor an­nual mar­ket and co­pro­duc­tion driver for growth in African films and the tele­vised en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, says that the City of Joburg will be an of­fi­cial part­ner for the Joburg Film Fes­ti­val.

The pro­gramme di­rec­tor for the fes­ti­val is Pe­dro Pi­menta, who re­cently man­aged South Africa’s old­est and most pres­ti­gious movie event, the Dur­ban In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. He left un­der a cloud, telling City Press that the Dur­ban fes­ti­val re­sisted a call to trans­form it­self.

The Mozam­bi­can film maker is a strong choice, with plenty of African film fes­ti­val ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt. He is keen on build­ing African film mak­ers’ pro­files and de­vel­op­ing new au­di­ences. He and the or­gan­is­ers in­tend play­ing to Jo­han­nes­burg’s strengths as a cos­mopoli­tan city.

“We en­vi­sion a fes­ti­val where art, busi­ness, par­ties and celebri­ties blend to cre­ate a glam­orous af­fair,. Much of this magic will come from the vi­brant city it­self and its di­verse mix of res­i­dents. We aim to host an in­clu­sive fes­ti­val that ap­peals to all res­i­dents,” he says.

Work­shops and sem­i­nars are be­ing planned along­side the lat­est films from across the con­ti­nent.

BIG TIME Hap­pi­ness Is a Four-let­ter Word cast mem­bers (from left) Re­nate Stu­ur­man, Mma­batho Montsho and Khanyi Mbau

AFRICAN AC­CENT The poster for the Joburg Film Fes­ti­val launch

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