THE annual Ugu Film Festival took place in Margate last weekend. Activities began on Friday, September 21 and ran until Sunday, September 23 and were aimed at delivering workshops, training, as well as networking sessions for members and aspiring members of the film industry. Organisers said the event has seen tremendous growth despite odds over the years. The festival, which is the brainchild of award winning local filmmaker Senzo Zindela, has also collected several awards, ranging from South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) in 2016 as the best sincere development initiative, and the last award, known as Umyezane, which was received in March 2018 from the Department of Economic Development. This year’s line up included Patrick Garcia of Master 3D, chairman of the KZN Film Commission Welcome Msomi, as well as Uzalo actors Glen Gabela and Siyabonga Shibe. During the opening breakfast at the Margate hotel on Friday, September 21, several speakers professed their support for the festival and commended Zindela on his passion and drive for the project. President of the South Coast Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vijay Naidoo expressed the need for local businesses to support local talent and creatives while Mandla Mabece spoke on local government’s continued support for the programme. Zindela, who recently returned from Thailand where he was showcasing the pilot for his latest film, Red Cargo, thanked all his sponsors and attendants, saying: “The event had ultimate challenges, but its success was more than all events which took place from 2013.“This years’ event proved to be the event for the creative people by the creative people. “The whole community and team outperformed themselves this year, the number of celebrities presence grew by 300%, and master class workshops held were done by experienced industry experts that are successful in their fields. We are so impressed by this years success, and are certain that UGUFF 2019 will be much more. Ugu Film Festival is the real, genuine and effective event for the people, by the people,” said Zindela.