Afda comes to Durban

2012-11-23 00:00

AFDA, the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, has come a long way since founder and chief executive officer Garth Holmes opened the doors to the first school in Johannesburg.

Back in 1994, the students had to make do with a rented television and a broken VCR machine.

Nowadays, the school has embraced the digital revolution, has opened a second campus in Cape Town, and is about to open its third site at 2a Highdale Road, Glen Anil.

“The digital revolution has changed everything so much for everybody,” Holmes said of the decision to open in Durban.

“Once we realised that students no longer wanted to shoot on film … that they wanted to shoot on digital, we knew we could come to Durban. There is no lab [to process film] here at present, so when film was the only option, we couldn’t think about it.

“Eighteen years ago, when I opened Afda in Johannesburg, I saw how it could impact and develop the industry. The same thing has happened in Cape Town since we opened there. So, we felt we could come here, to Durban, and create an industry here too.”

Holmes said Afda had always been interested in Durban because of its rich cultural heritage.

“Here in KZN you have Zulu, colonial and Indian cultures, [and] it’s important for people from different regions to tell their own stories.

“In this new digital world, people can live in Durban and still work all over the place. District 9 showed us that people can make an amazing movie, even though they are working in different parts of the world.”

Afda plans to build a media lab in Durban, similar to those it uses in Johannesburg and Cape Town, by the time its first crop of first year students get to fourth year. Between 60 and 100 first year students are expected to enrol next year and to accommodate them, Afda is busy renovating an existing building in Glen Anil.

Holmes said the site was chosen so that the school could expand into neighbouring warehouses when they needed more space for studios.

In the meantime, the students will have access to a soundproof suite, a theatre, a TV/film studio, a recording studio and digitally equipped classroom facilities.

Some 15 disciplines are taught at Afda, including stage and screen acting, producing, scriptwriting, directing, cinematography, editing, animation, costume, make-up and styling.

• For more information on Afda, email milenag@afda.co.za or phone 079 833 1682.

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