JOBURG TO BE THE HOME OF AFRICAN FILM
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