My favourite assignments for LallaLand are film festivals.
I’ve said this before but there’s really something special about them.
Around the globe significant film festivals are a highlight on the entertainment calendar. Cannes, the Venice Film Festival, Berlin International and Sundance create tons of buzz around the world.
Here at home, the locally produced silver screen culture is growing at a rapid pace and along with its development we’re starting to see an increase in South African film festivals too.
The Jozi F.F, South African Eco F.F, Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, the South African International F.F, the Cape Town International Film Market & Festival among others, and not forgetting Silverskermfees.
Silwerskermfees has made quite a name for itself, and like most great festivals, it didn’t happen overnight.
Last year I was able to make my way to The Bay Hotel, in Cape Town, where four days of film ‘festival-ing’ was to take place under the Silwerskerm banner.
It was in its sixth year. I was a freshman.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed I brought along an open mind ready to take it all in.
Soon after arriving, the atmosphere consumed me and I was quickly sucked into this new world. I was taken aback by the camaraderie, spirit and hunger of the creatives I came across and interacted with.
When I received the mail to say we had the go ahead to cover the four-day event this year, I was thrilled.
There’s just something spectacular about attending a film festival.
Over the past seven years, Silwerskermfees has acted as a platform for filmmakers to launch careers. It is a place to celebrate, learn, and network.
When I arrived at The Bay Hotel this year, the bustling reception rang with loud chatter from creatives from all corners of the industry.
Directors, producers, writers, actors and actresses, critics, and film aficionados came together to create a wonderful ambiance all in the name of local cinema. Wow, what a vibe.
For the first time Silwerskermfees opened the program to the public by showing films at Theatre on the Bay.
This year 65 films were screened, of which six feature films premiered at the festival.
Ten short films entered and a ‘short-short film’ category was added to the program, which consisted of twelve-minute movies; with eleven entries for the first year.
Here are the results for all the films in competition.
SHORT AND SHORT-SHORT FILMS
Best director: short film – 12 minutes
Harold Holscher – Langsaan
Best script: short film – 12 minutes
Versnel – Dian Weys
Best editing: short film
Skoon – Johan Prinsloo
Best director: short film – 24 minutes
Nico Scheepers – Die Maan val Bewusteloos
Best script: short film – 24 minutes
Soldaat – Amy Jephta
Best actor: Short film
Carel Nel – Slaaf
Best actress: short film
June van Merch – Vossie vergas homself
Best short film – 12 minutes
Best short film – 24 minutes
Bennie Fourie – Vuil Wasgoed
Best supporting actor
Beer Adriaanse – Wonderlus
Lea Vivier – Wonderlus
Best supporting actress
June van Merch – Raaiselkind
Best sound design and original music
Vuil Wasgoed – Janno Muller en Benjamin Willem
Wonderlus – Johan Cronje
Best production design
Vuil Wasgoed – Merishen Wessels
Willie Nel – Meerkat Maantuig
Vuil Wasgoed – Quinn Lubbe
Morné du Toit – Vuil Wasgoed
Our film scene is at an interesting phase of its ascension and an important one at that. It’s evident at all events regarding our cinema, and this year’s Silwerskermfees was no exception.
Speaking with a few of the talent at the festival, I was again blown away by the enthusiasm.
It was a great place to get a feel for the state of our movie industry - which, after leaving the festival, I can vouch is ‘booming’.
In the world of movies, the budding South African film scene may be entering its teenage phase, but Mzansi has one of the oldest film businesses in the world. Our first documented silent movie was released in 1911 (The Great Kimberley Diamond Robbery), which was only a year after the first motion picture was shot in Hollywood in 1910, called In Old California. Who knew?!
Storytelling is part of our DNA as a nation and so are moving pictures.
A big shout out to M-Net Movies and kykNet Films for nurturing our industry and giving opportunities to those who are brave enough to take on the challenge of movie-making
They have done incredible work assisting the expansion of the SA film scene, and built platforms such as Silwerskermfees to acknowledge and praise our movie makers.
Yes sure, our views of our homegrown films have been clouded by the greatness that is the multi-billion dollar machine known as Hollywood, but that isn’t stopping creators from showing the world what is possible with a smaller budget, a point to prove and the mentality of an underdog.