Film enthusiast shows will, guts

2017-07-13 06:00
Bulelani Mvotho, owner of Snapshot Mobile Cinema with Cristabelle Zenzile and Franz Kabwe, the producers of the Zambian film Red Ochre - the Last guard of the Holy Fire.

Bulelani Mvotho, owner of Snapshot Mobile Cinema with Cristabelle Zenzile and Franz Kabwe, the producers of the Zambian film Red Ochre - the Last guard of the Holy Fire.

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Even though Khayelitsha entrepreneur, Bulelani Mvotho (39), endured a number of set-backs, he has persevered and today Snapshot Mobile Cinema is celebrating its 10th anniversary with aplomb.

Bulelani’s roving cinema offers the community in Khayelitsha access to movies whilst supporting the local film industry in showcasing their work.

He has been part of a number of local TV and movie productions, working as part of the crew for independent filmmakers and companies and has spent years as a video mentor for Livity SA magazine.

“There are so many people in the township who simply cannot afford to go to the movies, so we have teamed up with local filmmakers to showcase their works, especially those screening HIV content, to increase the level of awareness.

“I have always had a love for films but in the township where I grew up, as in most others, there were no cinemas.

Cinemas are located in affluent areas, transport to get there is an issue and tickets are expensive.

This inhibits many to consider cinema as a form of entertainment but also as education since many of the films focus on pertinent issues that affect our daily lives.”

With support from the Small Business Academy (SBA) offered by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), Bulelani will now be able to turn his business into a sustainable enterprise.

“The SBA programme has challenged me to go back to the drawing board by understanding my offering, pricing, marketing and how to engage with my target audience.

Funding has always been one of my major challenges but with the networking opportunities offered by the programme, I hope to strengthen my contacts within the film industry and engage big brands for partnership opportunities.”

The SBA programme with major sponsors ABSA and the Distell Foundation empowers small business owners in low-income communities with business education and mentorship.

Snapshot Mobile Cinema negotiates with local filmmakers for permission and then screens the movies in public venues such as community and youth centres, church and school halls.

Tickets are priced at R20 per person, however Bulelani is always on the look-out for sponsorships to offer the movies free of charge.

“My vision is to offer Snapshot nationally, especially to rural and farming communities where the closest cinema would be hundreds of kilometers away.”

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