The Saftas sucked on TV

2014-04-13 15:00

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One Pretty Yende does not make a pretty show. You need a whole lot of pretty for that.

An appearance by the country’s hottest opera star was a highlight of SABC3’s broadcast of the 8th SA Film and Television Awards (Saftas).

The lowlights were to follow in rapid succession. Despite the global pulling power of award shows generally, the Saftas, broadcast last weekend, were once again a testament to mediocrity.

As budgets continue to be squeezed, rudimentary mistakes and a lack of planning have become special effects in our award show broadcasts.

For eight years in a row, the Saftas broadcast has suffered from sound problems. Why? Short answer: nobody from the National Film and Video Foundation, the SABC or the awards’ organising committee is sitting down, asking why it keeps happening, and trying to solve it once and for all.

The red carpet was perfectly coordinated, I hear, but not for the vast majority of people watching it at home. After sound was eventually added to the coverage, the entire red carpet show had audio that was out of sync with the video.

The sound issues continued until the very last award. I heard ­nothing of Jahmil XT Qubeka’s acceptance speech for best film award because the sound was out for all of it and the video for much of it. At one point, we received a pixelated video error with the number 625 superimposed on top of it.

If I wasn’t so used to this kind of poor quality, I’d be suspicious – after all, Qubeka’s winning film, Of Good Report, was initially banned by the Film and Publication Board. This could have been sabotage.

But no, it was just mediocrity.

If I wasn’t so immune to South African award show errors, I’d think the incorrect spelling of the late Alyce Chavunduka’s name was due to our inherent xenophobic sloth. She was born in Zimbabwe and her name isn’t spelled “Chuvunduka”.

But then again, Peter Hayes became “Heyes” and random names were left off the big screen behind the presenters. It’s not personal, Zimbabwe.

Moving swiftly past the terrible pronunciation of names due to no coaching in rehearsals, bad camera angles were in steady supply.

The camera work finally hit rock bottom when co-host Alan Committie fell to the floor as part of his comedy routine and the camera remained tilted up where he used to be. At least that time it didn’t pick up a stagehand setting up a mic.

And then, as rival channels whispered for my attention, there was the classic pan over empty seats because no one on the production team has heard of seat fillers.

Actress Lillian Dube recaptured my attention, though.

Did anyone on the show actually know she was going to accept the best actress in a TV comedy award on winner Tsholo Monedi’s behalf?

It wasn’t announced. Good luck if you don’t know who Dube is. You’d be thinking Monedi is pretty nuts.

Dube ran on to stage like a crazy person, stunning the presenters, began her speech inaudibly and then bellowed out: “She’s outside! They didn’t open for her!”

I’m feeling you, MaLillian. I’m feeling you.

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