The City of Gold is abuzz with film fever, but the much-anticipated Joburg Film Festival (JFF) is about more than just a sizzling line-up of films and red-carpet style entertainment.
As part of the third Joburg Film Festival, the Youth and Audience Development Programme has also been upgraded to encourage and empower young emerging filmmakers across Gauteng. The JFF, in partnership with the MultiChoice Group and Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), embarked on a province-wide skills transfer initiative that reached more than 100 young people in a series of workshops in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Mogale and Sedibeng.
“Our role is to make catalytic investments that will unlock the growth of the film industry as a key driver of social transformation and economic development in the province and, by extension, the country too,” shares Ms Busisiwe Mhaga, Chairperson of the Gauteng Film Commission.
Aspiring filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 25 were encouraged to submit a video with the theme ‘Your Kasi, Your Story’, which served as the entry to participate in the two-day workshop in each region.
The workshops specifically targeted youth living in townships and involved industry professionals sharing their extensive experience and knowledge on the amazing craft of cinematic storytelling with enthusiastic audiences. The workshop participants will also be invited to a special screening of one of the films that will form part of the JFF programme.
“The Youth and Audience Development Programme is a deliberate and valuable intervention by the partners - the Joburg Film Festival, Multichoice Group and the Gauteng Film Commission - to provide young filmmakers and film enthusiasts residing in townships with an opportunity to learn how to craft authentic stories that resonate across the African continent, with assistance from leading industry professionals. The programme not only helps to create a talent pipeline that is critical to the future of the industry, but also contributes to youth development,” says Joburg Film Festival Executive Director, Timothy Mangwedi.
Ntokozo Mabunda, Production Manager for the Joburg Film Festival who was part of the organising team that put the Youth and Audience Development Programme together, shares, “It might have been two days but meeting, learning and engaging with industry experts in that time was priceless for these young people.”
The young people who attended the workshop were grateful for the opportunity. Kwena Mokgokana, a participant from the Tshwane workshop says, “I found the programme to be very impactful. It challenged us to step out of our comfort zones. We took our daily experiences from our lives and turned them into very captivating stories.”
Malefetsane Maisha, a Sedibeng participant says, “Having a chance to listen to the industry professionals’ stories and life journeys was inspirational and being able to interact with them was something that we cannot put a price tag on.”
The “Your Kasi, Your Story’ short films that were submitted by each participant will be reviewed by a panel of industry judges and the creator of the winning short film will be recognised at the Joburg Film Festival’s Gala Closing Ceremony on 24 November 2019.
“One of our key ambitions as Africa’s most loved storyteller, is to ensure a sustainable talent pipeline is created for the video entertainment industry across the continent. We are excited about the undiscovered talent that was yielded by this programme,” says Joe Heshu, MultiChoice Group Executive: Corporate Affairs.