South Africa has a vibrant film industry that is growing in reputation and is competitive internationally. The local film industry in South Africa has been identified by government as a sector with excellent potential for growth, with the opportunity to increase employment from various sectors of the economy. According to a 2013 report from the National Film and Video Foundation (NVFV), the country’s film and television industries contribute approximately R3.5-billion per annum to the country’s economy.
The important role that local productions are playing in telling South Africa’s stories and growing the industry cannot be ignored. Ster-Kinekor Theatres has witnessed a 44% increase in the number of locally-produced films releasing on its national circuit in the past two years alone. This trend has shown a steady increase year on year, with 16 local films enjoying a theatrical release in 2012, which increased to 20 films last year. To date this year, 10 local films have played on the Ster-Kinekor circuit, with the total line-up for 2014 expected to reach 23 films.
With the continued interest in and support of local productions, Ster-Kinekor’s art-house chain of cinemas, Cinema Nouveau, today (25 September) launched an exciting initiative to support and encourage local filmmakers to create and submit original content in the form of a short film, no longer than ten minutes in duration. The Short Film Project is being launched in partnership with Spectrum and ShortandSweet, and will roll-out over a six-month period.
The concept behind the project is to call for entries that will be judged by a panel of industry experts. The entries that make it through the initial selection process will be featured on the big screen as the ‘supporting act’ to the main feature at the Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town.
Says Doug Place, Marketing Executive of Ster-Kinekor Theatres: “We are constantly amazed by the raw and undiscovered talent that abounds in the South African film industry. We are confident that this project will provide us with an opportunity to expose original content, in the form of the short film, to a wider cinema audience.
“The Short Film Project will target filmmakers, both established and aspirant talent within the industry, to produce and enter a short film of ten minutes or less. We have partnered with ShortandSweet to curate the entries, with Spectrum providing valuable input on the post-production process. A panel of judges will then view and review the entries that make it through this process, and compile a short list of finalists that make it onto the big screen.”
Entries are now open and submissions must be received by 24 October 2014. Budding filmmakers need to complete an entry form (available at Cinema Nouveau theatres and via the website atwww.cinemanouveau.co.za) and submit this, together with their short film via Dropbox to: [email protected].
Audiences will have the chance to view all the curated entries – not only those that make it through to the short-list – from 14 November to 14 December this year. Thereafter, the entries will be submitted to the judging panel whose final selection will be announced on 02 February 2015. These short films will have the honour of being featured on the big screen during “Oscar” weekend, which always attracts large cinema audiences.
“The project culminates with the overall winners of The Short Film Project being announced at a special function at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank on 05 March 2015. For all the filmmakers whose work is selected for screening, it is the ultimate kudos for them to view their finished product on the big screen inside a cinema,” says Place.
The overall winning director of The Short Film Project will receive the following prize: Sony camera equipment to the value of R20 000and a screening of the winning short film at the 2015 Durban International Film Festival. The director of the film that receives the most number of votes during the ‘Audience Choice Award’ voting process wins a screening of his or her film at 2015 Durban International Film Festival.
The Spectrum team will spend an hour with each finalist to assist them with the post-production process, and will also transfer their material to into a digital format, to play on the recently upgraded digital projection systems within the cinemas.
Ronald Henry, the MD of Spectrum.tv, comments: “Spectrum is very excited to work with our partners, Ster-Kinekor and Cinema Nouveau, on this new and exciting initiative. We have been working with local filmmakers and distributors for more than ten years, and we are committed to helping develop and showcase emerging talent.”
Responsible for curating all the entries for the final judging process, Short & Sweet has an established reputation in curating short film festivals, and creates unique screening platforms to enhance and redefine the public’s experience of cinema.
Says Julia Stephenson, the founder and curator of ShortandSweet: “We are dedicated to the exhibition of film as a critical art form in its own right. As such, we are delighted to be involved in this exciting new initiative with Cinema Nouveau and look forward to unearthing some real gems in the short film genre.”
Entries are now open for The Short Film Project and aspirant filmmakers have until 24 October 2014 to submit their original short film. All the project details and further information can be found on the Cinema Nouveau website – www.cinemanouveau.co.za.