THE eThekwini Local Film Awards ceremony will be held tomorrow evening at the Durban Manor Hotel following three days of screenings of locally produced films. The three-day event has two components — the eThekwini Film-makers Association’s (EFA) local film market, which will provide free screenings of the films participating, and the awards ceremony on the final day. “It’s the second time we’ve run it,” said Sbonisi Mdlalose, film-maker and EFA treasurer. “It’s for professional, semi-professional and emerging film-makers.” Mdlalose said 33 films will be screened. “They range from feature-length films to shorts.” The EFA has 160 members. “It’s an active group,” said Mdlalose. “And it’s growing as more emerging film-makers join.” Mdlalose’s own feature, Love Stupid, which he produced and directed, is being showcased at the event. It was written by Vusi Madonsela and stars Snenhlanhla Maphulo and Sabelo Dlonto. “It’s about a streetworker in Stanger who had to leave home because of abuse,” said Mdlalose. “She meets Bongani and they fall in love.” However, when one of them is diagnosed HIV-positive, complications ensue. The film has already been bought by M-Net, says Mdlalose, who has made two previous feature films, Lerato and Xenophobia. The film market, which is endorsed by the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office (DFO), was created with the objective of providing a platform for local film-makers to network and showcase their talent as well as developing and encouraging audience interest in locally produced films with a view to creating a sustainable film industry. “Over and over again, our city produced award-winning films and film-makers,” said DFO head Toni Monty. “It’s about time we acknowledge the hard work, talent and offerings of the players within the industry which make it such a success.” Monty believes the competition and the awards will boost local industry standards. “It’s a great confidence booster to know that your work is appreciated and enjoyed by fellow industry colleagues and the greater public.” Awards will be given for best actor and actress, best supporting actor and actress, best story/writer, best director, best editor, best feature film, best short film, best cinematographer and best student production. The judges of the awards ceremony view the films that have been submitted and select the award winners. “Nominees and award winners will be kept a secret until the awards ceremony when all will be revealed,” said EFA chairperson Andile Buwa. Buwa said that the event allows the public to attend free screenings and the opportunity to mingle with the stars of the films who will be in attendance. The market also provides a platform for local film-makers to market and sell their original products, and thus fight the surge of piracy. “What makes this market unique and exciting is a drive to make the films accessible to a wider audience and to attract those who don’t traditionally watch local films at cinemas. “We want the public to get excited and be proud of movies coming out of our city — this is a great opportunity to enjoy a great home-grown movie.” • Free screenings take place today from 8.30 am to 6 pm and tomorrow from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm at the Durban Manor Hotel, 93-96 Margaret Mncadi Avenue (Esplanade). Inquiries Ntuthuzelo Gentse at 084 308 6265.