SA film’s bumpy boom

2012-07-13 12:57

Local productions are either very dark or very silly, writes Charl Blignaut ahead of the Durban International Film Festival

More than 60 new local films, including 16 features, will premiere at the Durban International Film Festival from next week.

It’s a new record for the important showcase and suggests that local film is set to boom.

“Ja sure, our film is going places – but where is it taking us?” asked a hardened, cynical producer.

The conversation turned to what stories we are telling. To get bums on cinema seats we’re seeing a lot of copying of commercial, Westernised formats (just add a sprinkle of ubuntu). So one also wonders whose story is ­being told.

Still, government has come to the party, young blood is flowing in, output is up, co-productions are blossoming and audiences are growing.

But a black feature director is still a scarcity.

The festival will open with Elelwani, the world’s first Venda feature.

It is a magical-realist version of the world’s first Venda novel, where the protagonist must give up her education for a traditional marriage.

The festival organisers are also punting Gog’ Helen, an action comedy starring Lilian Dube.

Nigerian director Adze Ugah cut his teeth on South African TV drama and is someone to watch.

Joining these films is Sleeper’s Wake, a brave and dark choice by debut feature director Barry Berk. It’s based on a novel about a man recovering from the death of his family.

Brave and dark worked last year and proved that international art house success can be more powerful than local box-office returns, as was the case with Deon Lotz’s Skoonheid.

I’m not sure what to expect of the fourth local film in ­competition, Fynbos, a Greek co-production offering great acting.

It’ll be interesting to compare it to A Taste of Rain from rising ­producer Bridget Pickering ­(Hotel Rwanda).

I’d check out Inside Story, a pan-African soccer and HIV drama directed by Rolie Nikiwe (Intersexions) and produced by Quizzical (formerly Curious Pictures); and also Accession, about HIV and superstition.

Zama Zama is a dark thriller from Vickus Strijdom about illegal mining and Uhlanga The Mark is a tale of a rural boy with supernatural powers, which was lovingly developed in the community by Ndaba ka Ngwane.

And there’s One Last Look, a safari slasher; and also some thinking man’s Leon Schuster, a crime comedy in the form of Copposites.

It seems we’re mainly very dark or very silly in this Gemini state of ours.

The festival closes with animated feature Zambezia, which could go global. Only time will tell whether it’s a fresh local flick or a version of Disney’s version of Africa.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.