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GEARING UP TO BLOW THE WHISTLE AT THE GRAND FINALS - Haylea Heyns

The winners of the annual SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge are about to be crowned, and 18-year-old umpire from Wartburg, Kevin Engelbrecht, prepares to blow the whistle at the Grand Finals taking place in Kloof later this month.

The tournament is in its seventh year and kicked off in Pongola in February this year, travelling to 10 regions around KZN and seeing almost 80 high school girls’ first teams battle it out on the turf. At each of the regionals an up-and-coming young umpire was selected, and Engelbrecht was one of the “Most Promising Umpires” to be invited to referee at the Grand Finals, where he represents the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Region.

Engelbrecht comes from a long lineage of hockey players and many of his relatives belong to the Wartburg first team and have played in the tournament’s finals for a number of years. Engelbrecht has been umpiring for 4 years and likes hockey for its “necessity of skill and hand-eye coordination as opposed to physical strength required in rugby or athletics.” He attributes his umpiring talents to the numerous leadership positions held throughout his schooling career together with his calm demeanour on the field. 

Engelbrecht is studying a BCom through Unisa and plans to join his family retailing business on completion of his studies. Items on his bucket list include umpiring a Tuks / Maties hockey match at Stellenbosch, travelling throughout South Africa as well as visiting his favourite football team, Liverpool, at their home stadium - Anfield.

Engelbrecht attended Wartburg Kirchdorf School and says the best thing about living in Wartburg is the peacefulness; “Everything is just very relaxed with no bustling traffic, and most people know each other so there are good community relationships.” If he could meet anybody in the world, dead or alive, Engelbrecht says he would like to meet his great-great-great-grandfather who came to South Africa as a missionary from Germany. 

The SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Grand Finals take place at St Mary’s DSG on the 29 and 30 July 2017.

 

QUEUEING UP TO BLOW THE WHISTLE AT THE GRAND FINALS - Haylea Heyns

Queuing up to umpire at the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Tournament in Kloof later this month, 23-year-old Dundee High School old boy, Qiniso "Que" Mdletshe,prepares himself to blow the whistle at the Grand Finals. 

The tournament, which is in its seventh year, travelled to 10 regions around KZN and saw almost 80 high school girls’ first teams battle it out on the astro. At each of the regionals an up-and-coming young umpire was selected, and Mdletshe, representing Northern KZN, was one of the “Most Promising Umpires” to be invited to referee at the Grand Finals. 

Mdletshe’s passion for hockey ignited at Uelzen Primary when he first started playing mini hockey in Grade one.  He went on to play in the first team at Dundee High School, and then at Varsity College Durban North where he was awarded Second Team Player of the Year. This was the last time he was on the field as a player. He has since been umpiring for over two years. This is his debut at the Spar KZN School Girls’ Tournament. Mdletshe says that he “misses playing hockey, and that it is unfortunate that we don't have enough teams in our area to form a league because it is a beautiful sport.”

As an umpire, Mdletshe likes to encourage fair play and a good game flow, being sure to only interfere and disrupt play when absolutely necessary and striving for his refereeing decisions to be thorough and consistent. He maintains his physical fitness by jogging almost everyday (except Sundays). 

Off the field, Mdletshe likes reading books about “success stories” and playing social soccer, cricket and table tennis. He wants to complete his Diploma in Sports Management and dreams of perhaps oneday studying further – this time it would be teaching at either UKZN, UCT, or NWU Pukke. 

Catch Que Mdletshe umpiring at the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Grand Finals taking place at St Mary’s DSG on the 29 and 30 July 2017.

 

 

 

SPAR KZN School Girls' Hockey Challenge

The top ten first teams converge at St Mary’s DSG to battle it out at the Grand Finals of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge on 29 and 30 July.

 

The format for the finals will be pool games with the ten teams being split into two pools. Games will be 20 minutes one way, with four points being awarded for a win, two points for a draw with goals and a single point for a goalless draw. 

 

Only one team has made an appearance in all seven of the Grand Finals, Durban Girls’ College has a sterling record with three consecutive golds, two silvers and a fourth place. They look to be the favourites in Pool B. College are joined by newcomers St John’s DSG and Amanzimtoti High School and King Edward High School who both are making their third appearance at the tournament. King Edward made a name for themselves last year after they impressively held the stronger teams to draws in the pool games. 

 

Pool A sees defending champions St Mary’s DSG taking on previous 2011 winners, St Anne’s College, Grantleigh College, Wartburg Kirchdorf School and Our Lady of Fatima. The two saints teams are in good form after a vigorous school season but they will be up against the formidable German precision from Wartburg and the determined teams of Fatima and Grantleigh. 

 

Overseeing the games will be a handful of the Most Promising Umpires selected at the various regionals, together with a blend of a handful of more experienced whistle blowers who will assist in grooming the up-and-coming regional umpires.

 

Travelling from Dundee is Que Mdletshe, the MPU representing the Northern KZN Regional. Kevin Engelbrecht will be travelling with his team from Wartburg. Engelbrecht is part of a keenly strong hockey family with his relatives Elona and Michelle both participating for Wartburg. Alana Marais will be representing the Pietermaritzburg region. Local Durban umpire, Angelique Kellerman is no stranger to the tournament, having played and captained Durban Girls’ High School when she was still a scholar. Bryan Riddle, who is a Grade 11 student from Thomas More College has been working hard to further his umpiring career and will be using this tournament to start making a name for himself.

 

Complementing the most promising umpires are Sonika Visser who also appeared in the first tournament as an MPU. Pam Daniel, like Kellerman, made her way through the ranks as a talented player and an MPU for Westville Girls’ High and now is a graded umpire. Engelie Maas has become a regular at both the regional and final tournament. Lastly, Greg Beavon will be rounding up the list of umpires. 

 

Seventh Appearance

Durban Girls’ College- Durban Central Regional Winner - Gold (2013, 2014, 2015), Silver (2012, 2016), Fourth (2011)

 

Sixth Appearance

Ferrum High School – Northern KZN Regional Winner – Fifth (2012, 2015), Sixth (2011), Tenth 2013, 2014)

St Anne’s –Pietermaritzburg North Regional Winner - Gold (2011), Bronze (2014, 2015, 2016), Fourth (2013)

St Mary’s DSG – Highway Regional Winner - Gold (2012, 2016), Bronze (2011, 2013), Fourth (2015)

 

Fifth Appearance

Wartburg Kirchdorf – Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional Winner - Eighth (2013), Ninth (2014), Sixth (2015), Fifth (2016)

 

Third Appearance

Amanzimtoti High School – Durban South Regional Winner - Tenth (2015, 2016)

King Edward High School – Southern KZN Regional Winner - Eighth (2015), Sixth (2016)

Grantleigh – Northern Coastal Regional Winner - Eighth (2011, 2016)


Second Appearance

Our Lady of Fatima – Durban North Regional Winner – Fifth (2011)

 

First Appearance

St John’s DSG

Canada and South Africa celebrate 20 years of film and TV co-production at DFM and DIFF 2017

July 6, 2017 – In 1997, Canada and South Africa signed an Audiovisual Co-production Treaty which would pave the way for collaboration between Canadian and South African film and television productions. This was the first ever co-production treaty signed by South Africa and remained the only one until 2003. To celebrate this important milestone, Canada will be a country of focus at the Durban FilmMart (DFM) and at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

 

“We are immensely proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Canada and South African audio visual treaty. The incredible projects that have been produced under the treaty like Molo Fish, the first project produced, will forever be engraved in the memories of many South Africans. The celebrations of the treaty commenced at HotDocs, it is exciting to now host the celebration at SA’s premier film festival DIFF. We look forward to future projects between the two countries.” said Zama Mkosi, CEO of the National Film and Video Foundation

As part of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary, a delegation from Canada will be at DFM and will participate in various sessions of the program. The delegation includes:

-        Valerie Creighton, CEO of Canada Media Fund which provides funding for Canadian co-production projects.

-        Heidi Tao Yang, Fund Manager for the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund which provides funding to African documentary filmmakers.

-        Nicole Brooks and Lisa Wickham from Caribbean Tales who will run CineFAM - Africa, which is a two-day programme with the objective to support the development of original serialised television content created by women from Africa and the African Diaspora.

-        Alfons Adetuyi, Producer from Inner City Films

-        Daniel Iron and Lance Samuels, Producers from Blue Ice Pictures

-        Damon D’Oliveira, Producer from Conquering Lion Pictures

-        Mila Aung-Thwin, Executive Producer of EyeSteeleFilm

-        Richard Boddington, independent producer who’s film Phoenix Wilder will world premiere at DIFF.

As part of the commemoration of the 20 years of the co-production treaty, a selection of four co-produced films will be screened at DIFF. These include A Million Colours, Inescapable, Jonestone: Paradise Lost, and Phoenix Wilder (World Premiere). From 1997 to 2015, a total of 23 official projects have been produced under the treaty including television series such as Jozi-H and Charlie Jade, and feature films such as The Bang Bang Club.

“It is a great pleasure for us to commemorate 20 years of co-production with South Africa at DIFF, and in the presence of a Canadian delegation with significant co-production experience. We look forward to continuing the celebration at the Toronto International Film Festival in September with our South African colleagues’, said Sandra McCardell, High Commissioner of Canada in South Africa.

Canada has signed co-production treaties with 54 countries and South Africa is an important partner being among the top 10 countries for official film and television co-productions with Canada. Canada sees the film industry as an important job creator, and contributor to its economic growth, generating close to C$5 billion (approx. R50 billion) in revenue annually.

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Durban FilmMart Hosts Leading Film Executive Tilane Jones of Array Now

One of the key figures attending the Durban FilmMart this year, Tilane Jones is the executive director of ARRAY, the film distribution collaborative founded by Oscar-winner Ava DuVernay which is focused on women filmmakers and filmmakers of colour. Since 2011, Array has acquired key titles, including Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, Andrew Dosunmu’s Restless City and Haile Gerima’s Ashes and Embers. In the process, Jones has shifted the position of films made by women and people of colour, bringing an audience to films that would otherwise struggle to find screens. As well as her position at Array, Jones is also a production manager with several high-profile titles to her name, including a range of fashion and beauty films and television productions.

Talking about her first visit to South Africa and her engagement with the local film market, Jones says that she hopes to inspire and encourage women to overcome the challenges they face on the continent as women filmmakers. “I want to let women filmmakers know that there is an audience that is hungry for stories told from their perspective. ARRAY has worked hard to cultivate that audience and we are eagerly awaiting them and their films.”

Tilane will also be meeting with local women filmmakers to find out what their needs are and what hurdles they need to overcome, in order to better inform herself on how she might be able to inspire and encourage them in the important work that they are doing. “I am very excited about my first visit to South Africa and the Durban FilmMart”, she said, “and I look forward to meeting with emerging filmmakers from the continent, with the aim of acquiring more African titles to be distributed in the United States”.

Asked about whether there was a defining moment when she had cut through the barriers that traditionally held women back from being major players in the global film industry, Jones takes a somewhat pragmatic approach. “There always have been and always will be barriers to break through as a woman and person of colour. But the task of breaking those barriers will never end, so instead I focus on trying to acquire films by women filmmakers and filmmakers of colour that, one by one, break a barrier just by existing and being seen by audiences. There are many audiences that would not have been able to experience this art form if it weren’t for ARRAY and our partners. I focus my efforts on the work more than on breaking barriers.”

Talking about women in the industry who have inspired her, Jones says that she is motivated to continue her work by every woman filmmaker and producer who creates complex, dynamic images. Of those women, ARRAY founder, Ava DuVernay is a key inspiration to her– “Due to her amazing storytelling ability, for loving herself as a black woman and a black woman filmmaker who tells stories from her own unique perspective, for being passionate about her culture, and for being passionate about film. Ava is always pushing past the ‘no’ and finding her own ‘yes’ and that inspires me more than anything.”

Finally, does she have any advice for young female film-makers just starting out as to how they can cut through the clutter in an industry that is still male-dominated? “I always tell filmmakers to tell their own stories and to tell them well.  Being a woman filmmaker and telling stories from a women’s perspective is all that needs to be done to cut through the clutter. Don’t focus on the noise – it is there to distract you. Focus on the story and telling it to the best of your capability. “

Jones will appear in the DFM programme, session entitled ‘Women-led Film: In Conversation with Tilane Jones’ on Friday 14 July at 14h00 - 16h00.

The 8th Durban FilmMart takes place in Durban, at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni from 14 to 17 July 2017, during the 38th edition of the Durban International Film Festival (13-23 July 2017).

For more information on the Durban FilmMart visit www.durbanfilmmart.com. Registration can now only be done at Elangeni Hotel from 9am on Thursday, July 13.

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SOUTH AFRICA’S ‘INXEBA’ BAGS A STRING OF AWARDS AHEAD OF THE DURBAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

SOUTH AFRICA’S ‘INXEBA’ BAGS A STRING OF AWARDS AHEAD OF THE DURBAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

 

South African film ‘Inxeba’ (known internationally as ‘The Wound’) has won the Best Film Award in the International New Talent Competition, at the  current Taipei Film Festival ahead of its African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival at The Playhouse next week (14 July).

 

This is a latest in a string of awards for the film, which explores tradition and masculinity, and the clash between age-old rituals and modernity. Described by Variety magazine as “a milestone in South African cinema”, the film stars musician and novelist Nakhane Touré as Xolani, a lonely factory worker who joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini), a defiant initiate from the city, discovers his mentor’s secret, Xolani's entire existence begins to unravel. 

 

At Cinema Jove, the Valencia International Film Festival, held in Spain from 23 June to 1 July, ‘Inxeba’ was awarded the Luna de Valencia for Best Feature Film, as well as the Best Actor Award for Nakhane Touré.

 

At one of the world's longest-running film festivals, the Sydney Film Festival, held from 7 to 18 June, ‘Inxeba’ won the Audience Award for Best Feature, with ScreenDaily describing it as “a measured consideration of class, race, self-loathing and self-assertion”.

 

At the 41st Frameline, San Francisco’s international film festival, held from 15 to 25 June and where 147 films were screened, ‘Inxeba’ won the First Feature Award. 

 

Shortly before that, it was awarded the prize for Best Feature Film at the 32nd Lovers Film Festival, an LGBTQI festival held in Turin, Italy from 15 to 20 June.

 

In April, the film received the Jury Prize for Best Narrative at the 19th annual Sarasota Film Festival in Florida, in the US. The festival is known as a world-class platform for thought-provoking films from some of the best known and emerging independent filmmakers. At the MOOOV International Film held in March 2017, in Belgium, it garnered a Special Mention.

 

‘Inxeba’, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival and later opened Berlinale Panorama, was a 2014 Durban FilmMart project. This initial pitch enabled the team behind it to obtain funding from a number of international financiers, resulting in a co-production between South Africa, France, Germany and The Netherlands. 

 

According to a Sundance review, “John Trengove's hard-edged but beautifully wrought study of clashing Xhosa models of masculinity will be an eye-opener to outsiders — and some South Africans too.”

 

‘Inxeba’ is the first feature from writer-director John Trengove, and is co-written by Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana and Malusi Bengu. The Xhosa initiation ritual which forms the landscape of the film is also the subject of ‘Inxeba’ co-writer Mgqolozana’s novel, ‘A Man Who Is Not a Man’. 

 

‘Inxeba’ will continue to travel around the world, having been sold to 19 countries for theatrical release thus far, and will be distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution. 

 

“The release strategy for South Africa ensures that the film will qualify as a strong contender to represent the country in the Foreign Language Film nominations for the 2018 Oscars,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “We are excited about ‘Inxeba’ as it is an authentic South African story that has gained traction globally.”

 

Director John Trengove, lead actor Nakhane Toure, some of the cast as well as co-producer Cait Pansegrouw, will be in attendance at the premiere.

 

‘Inxeba’ will be screened at 6pm on Friday, July 14 at The Playhouse, 8pm on Tuesday, July 18 at Sterkinekor Gateway, 2.30pm on Saturday, July 22 at Sterkinekor Gateway. Bookings for the Playhouse are through www.computicket.com, and for Sterkinekor on www.sterkinekor.com. For more information about the Durban International Film festival go to www.durbanfilmfest.co.za

 

-ENDS

 

Caption: Poster for Inxeba

 

For more information:

http://www.urucumedia.com/the-wound

https://www.facebook.com/thewoundthefilm/

 

 

Watch the trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubSlj-G4P6I&t=3s

CineFAM SOUTH AFRICA SHORT FILM CHALLENGE AT DIFF AND DFM

Media Release

CineFAM SOUTH AFRICA SHORT FILM CHALLENGE AT DIFF AND DFM

CaribbeanTales International Film Festival, in partnership with Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT), invites South African women filmmakers to participate in the inaugural CineFAM South Africa Short Film Challenge. The CineFAM South Africa Short Film Challenge aims to create opportunities to garner international recognition and global distribution and is presented at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) (13 to 23 July) and the Durban FilmMart (DFM) (14 to 17 July).

SWIFT is a newly formed organization that aims to advance the participation of women in the South African audio-visual sector. CaribbeanTales is a group of companies that produces, markets, and sells Caribbean-themed film and television content for global audiences. It includes CaribbeanTales Inc. a registered Charity based in Toronto, Canada; the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF) which takes place annually in Toronto in September; the renowned CaribbeanTales Incubator Program, a development and production hub for original Caribbean content; CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD), the largest full-service distribution entity dedicated to the monetisation of Caribbean content; CaribbeanTalesFlix, our production arm, and CaribbeanTales-TV, a video on demand platform.

 The CineFAM South Africa Short Film Challenge aims to create an opportunity for female South African filmmakers to collaborate and establish creative relationships that stimulate the growth of content made by women. The challenge also aims to connect South African filmmakers with those in the Diaspora as well as a global audience.

SWIFT will present a preparatory workshop on no-budget filmmaking at the Durban FilmMart on Monday, July 17 from 12:30pm to 2pm at the Tsogo Sun Maharani Hotel. This workshop will provide participants with useful tools for making a short film with constraints in time, budget and other resources.  This is a free workshop and no bookings are necessary.

Following the workshop (which is not mandatory to enter the Challenge), the CineFAM South Africa Short Film Challenge will take place from 19-23 July and will be open to teams with the roles of writer, director and producers filled by women and queer filmmakers from South Africa. The theme from the challenge will be announced on 18 July on the CaribbeanTales website www.caribbeantales-tv.com and the teams will have five days to write, shoot and edit a film of no longer than 5 minutes. Entering teams need to feature female identifying crew in the key positions of writer, director and producer.

Completed films must be uploaded by no later than Sunday, 23 July at midnight (GMT +2) on the CaribbeanTales website. Teams unable to upload the films for submission, from their own internet connections, should contact cinefamza@gmail.com on the first day of the challenge to make arrangements for submission.

A shortlist of up to ten short films will be selected and posted on the CT website for online voting. The challenge will recognize three winning films including best story, best direction and audience choice. Two of these films will be given their World Premiere Screening at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival and all will be given the opportunity to acquire distribution by CTWD.

“We are very excited to be collaborating with both SWIFT and Caribbean Tales on this initiative and hope it will lay the foundation for more cooperation between filmmakers on the continent and those from the Diaspora,” says Toni Monty of the Durban FilmMart.

 “South Africa is a natural partner to CaribbeanTales, and we are thrilled by the opportunity to provide a platform for women filmmakers. CineFAM, meaning “films by women” in Haitian Creole, is a global initiative of ours through which we spotlight to crucial voices of women in film.  We couldn’t be more delighted to continually expand the horizons for the kind of stories that we can tell,” says Frances-Anne Solomon, founder and CEO of CaribbeanTales.

Speaking on behalf of SWIFT Sara Blecher said “Short films are brilliant ways that filmmakers and their projects can get noticed. There are countless examples of how short films are precursors for feature films. We hope that through this process, women filmmakers are driven to create work that will start a process of getting recognition, attention and support to further develop their body of work.”

“We are delighted that this new programme to encourage South African filmmakers to take the short film challenge during the festival focuses on women in line with the Women Led Film theme for this year’s festival,” says Chipo Zhou, DIFF manager. “We look forward to seeing the creative results and perhaps seeing some of these films in our festival in the future.”

For more information, contact cinefamza@gmail.com .  For more information about the DIFF go to www.durbanfilmfest.co.za and for the DFM go to www.durbanfilmmart.com.

 

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2017 Realness African Screenwriter's residents head to Durban

Johannesburg, South Africa: The 2017 Realness Residency programme is now in its final stage as the second cohort of participants head to Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), where they will present their projects at the Durban FilmMart, to the industry under the mentorship of script consultant Selina Ukwuoma.  

Realness was established in 2016 by Urucu Media with the aim of providing the best talent on the continent with the space, time and support necessary to create and develop their vision.  “I had the honour of being invited to shadow Nadja Dumouchel as a script consultant” said script editor and content producer Mmabatho Kau. “Her writer-focused methodology reminds one that the writer is at the centre of the story-birthing process. Working with her, the writers and the REALNESS production team further reinforced my belief that African stories are universal and need to be heard as a matter of urgency”. 

Realness 2017 began on 3rd June at the Nirox Foundation in the Cradle of Humankind, the location of their residency. The selected residents for 2017 are Lemohang Mosese (Lesotho), Mario Fradique Bastos (Angola), Rama Thiaw (Senegal), Samantha Nell (South Africa) and writer-director team Gloria Huwiler (Zambia) and Jahmil XT Quebeka (South Africa). “It's the first time in my life that I've sat in a room and felt so understood by other filmmakers in terms of my experience as well as in terms of my goals and hopes," said Samantha Nell. “The residency came at a moment in my life when I felt quite stuck artistically. It has provided the necessary perspective to begin writing a screenplay I now have a renewed passion for” adds fellow resident Gloria Huwiler.

The residents were mentored by Nadja Dumouchel for their first week and then enjoyed four weeks of solid writing punctuated by masterclasses, virtual reality film experiences and film screenings. One highlight of this year’s residency was a masterclass on film festival strategies with Toronto International Film Festival programmer Kiva Reardon. “There was a range of projects and visions, but all share a high level of artistic talent” said Reardon. “Leaving Nirox, it felt clear that REALNESS will greatly benefit this coming generation of filmmakers by creating a supportive space for growth, reflection and cross-continental collaboration.” Fellow mentor and script consultant Selina Ukwuoma will guide the residents ahead of their presentations at Durban Filmmart next week. “I have to take my hat off to the team responsible for the selection of participants/projects — they are of the highest standard with a great deal of potential, both artistic and commercial,” said Ukwuoma. “With a pan-African focus, the diversity of Africans is celebrated yet the particular concerns that we have in common come to the fore”.

The call for submissions for the 2018 Realness Residency will go out later this year.

Realness is made possible through partnerships with the Nirox Foundation, Durban Film Mart, Durban International Film Festival, Durban Talents, Berlinale Talents, The French Embassy of South Africa, La Fabrique Cinema de l’Instituit Francais, Goethe Institute, Centre National du Cinema et de l’Image Animee (CNC), Torino Film Lab (TFL), EAVE Producer’s Workshop, Locarno Filmmaker’s Academy, Fairbridges Wertheim Becker, Midpoint and Produire Au Sud.

Durban Presence at Grahamstown's National Arts Festival

Creativity becomes the focus in Grahamstown next Thursday (June 30) with the start of annual National Arts Festival.  The usual sleepy university town becomes awash with bright colours and crafts, performances and happenings, fine arts, glorious sounds, delicious food and fascinating people who come to feast and binge on everything arty.

The National Arts Festival (NAF) is widely considered to be the premier national arts festival in South Africa boasting a strong and varied programme of the best of performing and visual arts across all genres. This year the over-all focus of the festival is “Creative Disruption”:  for the first time in its 43 year history, the festival put out a call for proposals with a theme.

This year, KwaZulu-Natal is well represented, and in particular Durban. Hats off to Arts and Living Cultures, eThekwini Municipality who is supporting 12 Durban theatre groups enabling them to attend and perform at this year’s Festival which runs for 11 days.

The City’s support is enabling 120 theatre makers from 12 different productions across various genres to have a presence on the Fringe of this year’s NAF. The productions which the city are supporting are: Trafficked (Trulife Productions) combining physical theatre, poetry and media projections to tell the story of a girl tricked into a human trafficking syndicate; Game Over (Umvini Performing Art Project) looking at love!; Us against Them (Aphiwe Namba) a politically driven protest piece; The Chameleon (Magenta Pro) which looks at the quest for peace; Phumlani Mtiti Trio (Eco-Art) a contemporary instrumental trio fusing indigenous, western classical and SA jazz cultures; Daffi Falls (Umsindo Theatre Projects) about the life and times of Muammar Gaddafi as told by a journalist obsessed; Refugees (Wushini Arts and Heritage) about displaced people in a refugee camp; Kubili (Musa Hlatswayo / Mhayise Productions) a double bill of dance; Ants Job (Dikianga Arts) looking at the dishonourable state of living for Somali women;  Inyathuko (Mnqobi LM Arts Co) a complicated love story; Women in Tears (Edgy Drama Mix Productions) which reflects on the killing of mine workers by police inspired by the Marikana Massacre, and Nomalizo, The Brave (Madanisa Creative Productions) a love story written and directed by Bonginkosi Shangase.

“We are always delighted in being able to help facilitate taking productions to the National Arts Festival. It is important for the city to have a presence at one of the country’s foremost arts festivals and to allow our theatre makers to experience a national platform – especially emerging theatre voices to be able to add their story to the national dialogue,” said Themba Mchunu: Manager – Arts and Living Cultures, eThekwini Municipality.

Earlier in the year, the city put out a public call to groups and individuals who have already registered and have been approved to perform on the fringe at Grahamstown. There were no criteria restricting the genre of productions to be supported: be it dance, musical theatre, drama, comedy, physical theatre, etc. Selected productionsreceived city support towards their transport, accommodation and marketing costs.

Carrying Durban’s flag at the NAF will also be Neil Coppen whose new piece, Newfoundland (Buiteland) is on the main programme. The latest offering by Durban’s multiple award winning theatre maker, Newfoundland looks at the relationship between an Afrikaans anaesthetist based in Pietermaritzburg, and an isiZulu speaking choreographer with a calling to become a Sangoma.

Durban music guru and practicing labour lawyer Richard Haslop has four interesting music themed talks which looks at music through his immense knowledge and quirky eyes.  

Also on the programme are Durban’s own Guy Buttery, and singer Noma Khumalo from Pietermaritzburg. Making people laugh will by Lisa Bobbert and Aaron McIlroy with their Comedy Masterclass and Marriage for Dummies and Ben Voss and John van de Ruit with their Mamba Republic. Rajesh Gopie’s classic Out of Bounds has been re-imagined as a two hander.

The KZN Department of Arts & Culture (Zululand District) is also supporting some productions this year including It Could Have Been Worse, a play about geneder violence within marriage directed by Nkululeko Ngidi and featuring Nomthandazo Buthelezi, Nkululeko Ngidi, Nombuso Luvuno and Mndeni Ntshangase; and The Path of Destination about albinism and forgiveness, directed by Mfanafuthi Shabangu with a cast featuring Lungile Dumisa, Gugulethu Shabangu, Simphiwe Nxumalo and Mzwandile Masuku

The Rainbow Theatre Company presents an interesting physical theatre piece entitled Safe Spaces with direction and choreography by Thobeka Bhengu. The work comprises a collection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex stories of hope, love and it addresses the injustices directed towards LGBTI people in South Africa.  

Umphithi Theatre Project Management from Pietermaritzburg presents Guilty or Not Guilty?  Performed by the company, directed by Gcina Mdluli and choreographed by Themba Mkhoma, this physical theatre piece unravels the mysteries of family complexities using a brutal murder as the starting point. 

Mixed Motion 2, is a dance work by SASAD KZN Dance Company, directed by Jenny Walter-Girout and choreographed by Gabriel Masango, Leagan Peffer, Julia Hosmer, Kristi-Leigh Gresse, Yolanda Bourman, Leigh Meyer and Lizana Watson. The piece is described as an exhilarating, integrative collaboration, celebration dance. These breakthrough choreographers explore the synergies of ballet, Spanish, jazz, contemporary, hip hop and tap which they have fused into a molten core of talent and technique. 

Twenty two year old Idols SA winner, Noma Khumalo from Pietermaritzburg will perform as selection of contemporary songs that made her the darling of Season 12 of the popular talent show.

A collective of KZN poets and stand-up comedians will be accompanied by accapella in Mzansi Brewed Poetry and Comedy Cafe’.  Directed by Zama Msibi and Lethiwe Shabalala, the artists include Sbo da Poet, Minenhle Mthembu, Syabonga Mpungose and Mondli Mzizi.

The National Arts Festival 2017 runs from 29 June - 9 July. For more information about the National Arts Festival visit: http://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za

 

SPAR KZN School Girls' Hockey Challenge

It’s a wrap for the ten regional tournaments around KZN, with winners of each region now shifting their focus to the Grand Finals of the SPAR KZN School Girls Hockey Challenge that takes place at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof on 29 and 30 July.

The first team to secure their berth at the finals was Ferrum High School. The team from Newcastle is no stranger to the Grand Finals, having travelled to Durban six out of the seven years history of this tournament. They missed the 2016 tournament’s conclusion and will be eager to make an impact after a year’s break. 

The two teams representing the Pietermaritzburg Central and Northern Regionals are St Anne’s College and St John’s DSG. Like Ferrum, this is St Anne’s sixth appearance and with a gold, three bronzes and a fourth place to their record, this positively puts them as one of the favourites. St John’s DSG take to the fields as the only newcomer this year, having toppled Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School hold on the PMB Central Regional title, the only team to represent their region since the inception of the tournament.

The fourth team to secure their spot is the only team to have featured every year at the Grand Finals. The champions from the Durban Central Regional, Durban Girls College makes a welcome return and will be raring to reclaim the title, having raised the trophy three times. Adding to the list of success, two silvers and a fourth at this tournament. 

Returning to the Grand Finals is Our Lady of Fatima. The team representing the Durban North Region has only once been to the Grand Finals, that being in 2011 for the inaugural tournament where they finished in fifth. 

Back again, the first team from Amanzimtoti High School representing the Durban South Regional will be hoping to better their overall position having made it all the way for the third consecutive year. King Edward High School from the Ugu and Sisonke Regional will also be making their third consecutive appearance. Having a reputation as the giant slayer at the Grand Finals, the hard-working team are hoping to crack into the top half of the log.

Making a handful of appearances, winners of the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional, Wartburg Kirchdorf School has been impressively improving through each of the finals. 2016 being the best yet where they finished fifth overall. 

From the Highway Regional, the feisty team from St Mary’s DSG are the overall defending champions who have two golds to their name, two bronzes and a fourth in their five appearances. The host team dominated their regional and look in good form to go all the way for a third time.

The final team to make the Grand Finals is Grantleigh College. Grantleigh snuck into the final for the third time. The team representing the Northern Coast Region have had a consistent run in Durban, with two eighth positions from the inaugural tournament and again last year. Like all the other teams, they are hoping to better their performance this year. 

Seventh Appearance

Durban Girls’ College- Durban Central Regional Winner - Gold (2013, 2014, 2015), Silver (2012, 2016), Fourth (2011)

Sixth Appearance

Ferrum High School – Northern KZN Regional Winner – Fifth (2012, 2015), Sixth (2011), Tenth 2013, 2014)

St Anne’s –Pietermaritzburg North Regional Winner - Gold (2011), Bronze (2014, 2015, 2016), Fourth (2013)

St Mary’s DSG – Highway Regional Winner - Gold (2012, 2016), Bronze (2011, 2013), Fourth (2015)

Fifth Appearance

Wartburg Kirchdorf – Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional Winner - Eighth (2013), Ninth (2014), Sixth (2015), Fifth (2016)

Third Appearance

Amanzimtoti High School – Durban South Regional Winner - Tenth (2015, 2016)

King Edward High School – Southern KZN Regional Winner - Eighth (2015), Sixth (2016)

Grantleigh – Northern Coastal Regional Winner - Eighth (2011, 2016)

Second Appearance

Our Lady of Fatima - Durban North Regional Winner -Fifth (2011)

First Appearance

St John’s DSG

MOLOTSANE LEADS SPAR GRAND PRIX AT HALFWAY STAGE

Johannesburg, South Africa - The SPAR Grand Prix has reached the halfway stage, with three SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races completed and three to go.   Challenge newcomer Kesa Molotsane has moved into a 21 point lead on the SPAR Grand Prix ladder, after coming second in the Durban leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge on Sunday.

Molotsane was also second in Cape Town, and she won the Port Elizabeth race.  She earned bonus points in both races, and has a total of 78 points.  The current Grand Prix title holder, Irvette van Zyl, was third in Cape Town and second in Port Elizabeth, also earning bonus points in each.  However, she was forced to drop out of the Durban race because of an injury.  She has 57 points.

The 2015 Grand Prix winner, Lebogang Phalula, who was fourth in Cape Town, fifth in Port Elizabeth and third in Durban, is closing in on Van Zyl with 51 points.

Nolene Conrad and Mapaseka Makhanya, who won the Grand Prix in 2013, are in joint fourth position with 44 points.

The winner of Sunday’s race, British athlete Tish Jones, is in 12th position, with 30 points, after finishing within the target time.  Jones did not compete in the first two races, but says she intends to run at least two more, which means she could challenge Moletsane before the final race in Johannesburg in October.

One of the outstanding achievers is Judy Bird, running in the 50-59 years category.  She has been the first Master home in all three races, earning time bonus points in each, for a category total of 30 points.

At the halfway stage, KPMG is the leading club, with 292 points. Nedbank has 284, and Boxer is lying third, with 215.

The last three races will be run in Pretoria on August 5, Pietermaritzburg on August 20 and Johannesburg on October 8.

-ends-

 

Exciting Lineup of Speakers for DFM 2017

Durban, South Africa: The 8th Durban FilmMart (DFM), Africa’s premier film finance and co-production forum, has announced an exciting lineup of speakers for this year’s edition, which takes place at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel from July 14 to 17 during the Durban International Film Festival.

A diverse and insightful industry programme has been scheduled for this year’s DFM, which aims to stimulate collaboration between African filmmakers and international producers and financiers. Key speakers include film distributor Tilane Jones, audience development specialist Moikgantsi Kgama, film executive Charles Hopkins, writer-director Shmerah Passchier, virtual reality expert Ingrid Kopp, distributor Nicole Brooks, editor-director Karen Harley, editor-producer Sabrina S Gordon, screenwriter-producer Mila Aung-Thwin, screenwriter Busisiwe Ntintili, filmmaker, playwright, poet and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga, producer-director Stefano Tealdi and producer, director and writer Alby James.

Tilane Jones is the executive director of ARRAY Now, a film distribution collaborative focused on women filmmakers and filmmakers of colour, will be speaking about ARRAY Now and the role it plays in supporting “Women Led Film”. Since 2011 Array has acquired key titles, including Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, Andrew Dosunmu’s Restless City and Haile Gerima’s Ashes and Embers. Jones’ production credits include DuVernay’s Selma and the Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary The 13th, as well as a range of high profile fashion and beauty films and television productions.

Moikgantsi Kgama is an audience development specialist whose credits include I Will Follow, Killer Sheep, Lumumba and the Academy Award-nominated Trouble the Water. Kgama is also the founder of the Harlem-based ImageNation Cinema Foundation, which presents progressive media made by people of colour. 

Nicole Brooks, vice president of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution facilitates the CaribbeanTales Market Incubator Programme. Brooks will be presenting “CineFAM - Africa, an Accelerator programme for African women filmmakers”. Brooks has spent more than 15 years developing narratives that illuminate the peoples of the African Diaspora. With substantial experience as a filmmaker, director, performer, curator and teacher, Brooks also produces content for film, television and the performing arts.

Charles Hopkins is an executive at Shoreline Entertainment, an independent sales and production company based in Los Angeles who will lead a masterclass called “Ten questions to ask yourself before making your pitch”. As a Shoreline Executive, Hopkins has overseen acquisitions of projects in development, attended various festivals and markets for acquisitions and sales, and has negotiated a variety of deals with producers, talent, and distributors. 

Ingrid Kopp and Shmerah Passchier will lead a masterclass and workshop around “Virtual Reality: What’s Happening in Africa and What Can We Make Happen?”.  Kopp is a co-founder of Electric South, a non-profit initiative that aims to develop virtual reality and mobile storytelling projects across Africa. She is also a senior consultant in the Interactive Department at the Tribeca Film Institute where she works at the intersection of storytelling, technology, design and social change. Shmerah Passchier has worked in the film and television industry as a writer, director and producer. She has travelled extensively around Africa, directing magazine, reality shows and documentaries for the SABC and DSTV.

Editor and director Karen Harley leads a panel discussion entitled “Editors Suite: Effective Editing” together with Sabrina S. Gordon a producer/editor and documentary filmmaker from NYC. Harley co-directed Waste Land, the feature-length documentary about artist Vik Muniz’s work, which won the audience award at Sundance, Berlin and Durban, and was nominated for best documentary at the Oscars in 2011.  Sabrina S. Gordon’s editing debut won an Emmy for WGBH’s Greater Boston Arts series and she has continued to distinguish herself on award-winning films, web and television programmes. She has many awards and credits to her name, and also produces media for nonprofit and grassroots organizations, as well as engagement campaigns that leverage documentaries for tools for social change. She is the Co-Chair of the Black Documentary Collective and serves on many media panels and juries.

Mila Aung-Thwin, co-founder of Montreal's EyeSteelFilm, who is a writer, director, producer and editor, will participate in a panel discussion – “Making Socially Impactful Documentaries”. Aung-Thwin has produced more than 25 documentary features, including Up the Yangtze, Forest of the Dancing Spirits and the Emmy award-winning Last Train Home. He has served as president of Montreal's International Documentary Festival, as well as a juror for the International Emmy Awards, the New Zealand Film Awards and the Sundance Film Festival.

The Durban Talents programme presents South African Busisiwe Ntintili together with Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga, who will appear on a panel “From Novel to Script”. Ntintili has had extensive experience as a writer for radio, film and television, as well as writing the screenplay for the local smash hit, Happiness is a Four Letter Word. Dangarembga is a filmmaker, playwright, poet and activist who has produced several documentaries and has credits on most of Zimbabwe’s feature film classics, including Everyone’s Child, which she co-wrote and directed.

As part of a collaboration between DFM and Produire au Sud, Nantes, Stefano Tealdi, a director and producer of film and television who lives and works in Italy will be conducting a pitching workshop for DFM Official fiction projects and DFM’s Jumpstart projects which aims to support emerging filmmakers through exposing them to the pitching process. Tealdi has directed numerous documentaries as well as the series Food Markets – In the Belly of the City. Recent works produced include Mostar United, Vinylmania, Char, and No Man’s Island. He has directed all 17 editions of the annual Italian workshop Documentary in Europe and has chaired the European Documentary Network.  Tealdi tutors film development and production, as well as film pitching for many of the world’s leading film events.

From the UK comes Alby James, who will present a Talents Durban Masterclass entitled“Interpreting the Script for the Screen”. James has been working as a producer, director and writer in the field of drama for nearly 40 years in film, television, radio, theatre and opera and as an educator of creative skills and professional practice with writers, producers, directors and actors.  He is leader of a new short course for directors at the National Film & Television School in London to increase the numbers of Black and Asian people, women and those with disabilities in the industry.

The 8th Durban FilmMart takes place in Durban, at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni from 13 to 17 July 2017, during the 38th edition of the Durban International Film Festival (13-23 July 2017).

For more information on the Durban FilmMart and to register as a delegate visit www.durbanfilmmart.com

 -ends

Tish Jones wins Durban SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge

 

Tish Jones wins Durban SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge

 

DIMINUTIVE British distance runner, Tish Jones (KPMG), broke through the elite and highly competitive field of South African athletes to win the Durban leg of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge today (Sunday, June 11) in a personal best time of 32 minutes 58 seconds.

 

Among the leaders right from the start, Jones shrugged off a trio of Nedbank runners which included Zimbabwean long distance runner, Rutendo Nyahora, together with Nolene Conrad  (KPMG) soon after rounding the halfway mark in the fast, flat Durban beachfront course and finally broke away on her own.

 

Running strongly in the virtually perfect windless and warm conditions, Jones jumped into the lead and ran solo for the last four kilometres and finished 33 seconds ahead of second-placed Kesa Moletsane (also KPMG) who finished in 33:31 with third-placed Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) crossing the finish line in 33:39.

 

The top runners averaged 3 min 15 sec per kilometre with six runners crossing the finish line withing a minute of the winner in the shadow of the Growthpoint King’s Park Rugby Stadium.

 

Described as “the country’s most beautiful road race”, Jones was running for only the second time in this popular series, having first shown her mettle in winning the women’s event in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in 2:36:13 last year.

 

The British runner, who is based and trains in the Western Cape, came fourth in the last London Marathon, missing the cut for the British team to compete in this year’s World Championships, also in London, with only three runners gaining selection for this event.

 

Speaking at the press conference after the race she said she had planned to run a sub 33-minute race and having achieved this could be highly satisfied with her previous best times over this distance both set last year with a 33:16 in Leeds in November and a 33:05 in Houilles, France, in December.

 

“I always try to remain relaxed and to maintain a steady pace,” she said, “but whatever you choose to be good at you have to just make up your mind to go all out for.”

 

Jones said she would now focus on next year’s Commonwealth Games Marathon and also defend her title in the Cape Town Marathon.

 

Jones added that she would also seriously consider entering in two of the remaining three races in the SPAR 10km Grandprix Series.

 

Moletsane said she had been ill for the past two weeks but had entered this race on account of her high status in the SPAR Grand Prix, which is spread over all six races in the series.

 

Her second place today (June 11) earned her 29 points more to add to the 59 she already has, 29 also for coming second in the Cape Town leg and 30 for winning the Port Elizabeth leg.

 

 

-ends

 

RESULTS

 

OPEN

1 Tish Jones (KPMG) 00:32:58; 2 Kesa Molostane (KPMG) 00:33:31; 3 Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 00:33:39; 4 Elisabet Kebede Arsedo (Nedbank) 00:33:48; 5 Ruthendo Nyahora (Nedbank) 00:33:50; 6 Glenrose Xaba 00:33:56; 7 Rudo Mhonderwa (Nedbank) 00:34:03; 8 Nolene Conrad (KPMG) 00:34:07; 9 Bertha Chikanga 00:34:15; 10 Mapaseka Makhanya (Olifantsfontien) 00:34:26.

JUNIOR

1 Nicole Louw (Afs-KPMG) 00:35:26; 2 Nicole Van Me (KPMG) 00:36:11; 3 Chery-Lee Schoeman  (KPMG) 00:39:51; 4 Nomthandazo Memela 00:40:03; 5 Nokukhanya Mtshali 00:41:19

 

40-49

1 Bulelwa Simoe 00:36:55; 2 Janene Carey (Boxer) 00:38:56; 3 Ronel Thomas (Boxer) 00:39:10

 

50-59

1 Judy Bird (KPMG) 00:39:09; 2 Grace de Oliveira 00:43:11 (Boxer); 3 Gail Babich (Savages) 00:45:21

RUNNERS GEAR UP FOR SPAR WOMEN'S CHALLENGE

Johannesburg, South Africa - As the thousands who completed the Comrades Marathon last week shake off their aches and pains, another group of runners is gearing up for the SPAR Women’s 10/5km Challenge in Durban on Sunday (June 11) from GrowthPoint Kings Park.

While thousands will be taking part, attention will be focused on the small group of elite runners competing for top spot and for valuable SPAR Grand Prix points.  The Durban Challenge is the third of six races making up the SPAR Grand Prix, which offers the winner a handsome cheque for R173 000. 

Two athletes, Kesa Moletsane and Irvette van Zyl have opened up a considerable distance between themselves and the following pack, with 59 and 57 points respectively. Both earned bonus points in the first two races, in Cape Town and in Port Elizabeth and Van Zyl – the defending Grand Prix champion – has said she believes bonus points will be crucial to winning the title this year.

Van Zyl, who won the Durban race last year, withdrew from the FNB OneRun 12km in Cape Town last month because of ill health, but is expected to be fit for Sunday’s race.  

Nolene Conrad, Lebogang Phalula and Rutendo Nyahora, who are among the following pack on the Grand Prix ladder, all finished in the top five of the OneRun.  

Meanwhile, Zintle Xiniwe, who has had a quiet SPAR Women’s Challenge season so far, won the UWC Bestmed 10km in Cape Town last week, and could challenge some of the top runners.

SPAR Grand Prix Ambassador Rene Kalmer, who like Van Zyl, has won the Grand Prix three times, will be making her return to the race on Sunday, after giving birth to a daughter, but she says she will be enjoying the race with the majority of runners, and not looking to win.

“I started training a few weeks ago, and I am not ready to compete yet so I will doing this as a fun run,” she said.

“However, in the second half of the year I will be going all out again.”  

-ends-

Still a chance to enter the Durban SPAR Women's 10/5km

With the inspiration of the Comrades Marathon, there are, no doubt, thousands of KZN women who are just itching to reach a tangible running or walking goal in this year’s Durban SPAR Women’s 10/5km Challenge which takes place this Sunday, June 11.

While online entries for the race are now closed, there is still a chance to enter the race manually on Thursday June 8, Friday June 9 from 10am to 5pm and on Saturday, June 10 from 10am to 3pm at The Coast of Dreams Hall at the Durban Exhibition Centre. No entries will be taken on race day. 

The 10km race starts on Sunday, June 11 at 08:00 and the 5km at 09:30 on Masabalala Yengwa Avenue, outside Growthpoint Kings Park Stadium.

Participants and supporters are requested to note the road closuresand parking facilities for the day,  and advised to leave home early to arrive well in time to get into their starting positions.

Road Closures:

From 02:00am the following roads will be closed:

  • Snell Parade between Athlone Drive and the main entrance to Suncoast Casino
  • Battery Beach Road
  • Masabalala Yengwa Avenue between Smiso Nkwanyana Road and Isaiah Ntshangase Road.
  • The South bound lane of Masabalala Yengwa Avenue between Smiso Nkwanyana Road and KE Masinga Road.
  • Kingsmead Way 
  • Eden Gardens Crescent

From 04:00am the following roads will be closed:

  • KE Masinga Road (the 2 left lanes) between Eden Gardens Crescent and Masabalala Yengwa Avenue.
  • Masabalala Yengwa Avenue between Argyle Road and Smiso Nkwanyana Road
  • Somtseu Road at Masabalala Yengwa Avenue

From 06:00am the following roads will be closed:

  • The West bound lane of Athlone Drive between Snell Parade and Masabalala Yengwa Avenue
  • The off ramp from the M4 (Ruth First Highway) to Athlone Drive (in both directions)

   Access to People’s Park and the Durban Country Club:

 

  • Access and egress to the Durban Country Club will be from the M4 (Ruth First Highway)Please note that Isaiah Ntshangase Road will be closed at the entrance to Moses Mabhida Stadium (on Masabalala Yengwa Avenue) and the entrance to Durban Country Club. There will be no through traffic at this intersection.
  • Access to People's Park will be via Somtseu Road (Sasol Service Station near the station) and past Durmail using the back gate.

 

Parking 

  • Access to the free parking on Growthpoint Kings Park fields KP3, 4 and 5 will be via Smiso Nkwanyana Road into Jacko Jackson Drive. Once this area is full access will be limited to emergency and official vehicles only.
  • Access to free parking on Growthpoint Kings Park fields KP9 is accessed via Isaiah Ntshangase Road from Umgeni Road only.
  • Parking for a fee at Moses Mabhida is accessed via Isaiah Ntshangase Road from Umgeni Road only.

For more info like the Facebook page SPAR Women’s 10/5km Race . #SHEroes #runSPAR031

 

-ends

Virtual Reality Showcase at DFM 2017

Virtual Reality Showcase at DFM 2017

An exploration of the possibilities of Virtual Reality (VR) will be one of the highlights of the 8th Durban FilmMart (DFM), Africa’s premier film finance and co-production forum, which takes place at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel from July 14 to 17 during the Durban International Film Festival.

Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the most exciting emerging technologies on the digital landscape and there is little doubt that it will ultimately have a massive impact on the ways that we consume media and engage with each other and society. At the same time, VR is still such a wide open frontier that there is little consensus as to what the future of this embryonic technology will be. This year’s DFM programme features a number of events that explore the possibilities of VR, particularly in terms of filmmaking and digital storytelling.

For those unfamiliar with VR – or who may not have experienced it for themselves – a VR demo session will take place on Sunday, July 16, from 10am-12noon, in the form of a Master Class presented by AFDA which will showcase the Pro VR 360 Headset. Then, on Monday, July 17, from 2pm-3pm, there will be a session entitled: ‘VR: What’s Happening in Africa and What Can We Make Happen?’ presented by Electric South and AFDA. Featuring VR experts Ingrid Kopp and Shmerah Passchier, the session will explore the possibilities for VR on the continent as well as present and discuss various projects that are currently underway in Africa. Kopp, who is one of the leading authorities on interactive media and virtual reality in the context of digital narratives, will talk about her experience with African-produced VR and the challenges facing the industry, while Passchier will discuss the notion of the cyborg filmmaker, in which virtual reality and the notion of the digital-human collide.

Passchier, who is at the leading edge of theoretical writing about VR, notes that “the cyborg filmmaker emerges from science fiction, specifically from afrofuturism, from Africa. It is the cinematic voice of the global south. The cyborg disrupts the boundary between human and machine because the tools of VR filmmaking are extensions of the cyborg self. The afrofuturist cyborg inserts itself into the global virtual reality narrative by splicing technology into the story-telling self. The virtual reality camera rig, with its multiple eyes, hybridises and multiplies the possibilities of new ways of seeing.”

She continues: “By harnessing the tools of the digital revolution, we transcend our race, our gender and our species. We splice the self with technology to form new identities, to tell new stories, to create new worlds of immersive story, to disrupt reality, to disrupt the human being, to become cyborg filmmakers.”

Talking about the African VR industry, Kopp is excited by the work that has emerged so far but also recognizes the financial challenges involved and warns that it’s vital that Africa, which has so much to offer the VR industry, does not get left behind because of a lack of funding and resources. “In many ways, the continent’s VR landscape is uncharted territory,” said Kopp. “While hubs of activity have emerged in places like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi and Accra, even those working in the industry struggle to get a clear sense of what works – and what doesn’t – in different cities and outside the urban hubs”. She points out that everything, from how to get equipment in and out of countries to skill-building to camera setups that are rugged and don’t overheat, is part of a growing conversation about what form the African VR industry will take as it establishes itself.

But even with the availability of accessible gear, other technological and economics constraints will make it difficult for widespread consumer adoption to take off in many African countries. For producers, though, an industry is emerging that might, in time, satisfy global demand for African content. It is vital, says Kopp, that African VR content is made by Africans.

As well as the masterclass demonstration and the VR discussion session, Electric South, together with the Goethe Institut, will also be showing VR films in the industry lounge for the duration of DFM, including The Other Dakar by Selly Raby Kane, Spirit Robot by Jonathan Dotse, Let This Be a Warning by The Nest Collective and Nairobi Berries by Ng’endo Mukii.

So don’t miss this opportunity to explore this cutting-edge technology and the endless possibilities that it presents.

Ingrid Kopp is a co-founder of Electric South, a non-profit initiative that aims to develop virtual reality and mobile storytelling projects across Africa. Kopp is also a senior consultant in the Interactive Department at the Tribeca Film Institute where she works at the intersection of storytelling, technology, design and social change. Along with MIT’s Open DocLab, she leads the Interactive Media Impact Working Group, exploring how emerging media engages audiences, and recently launched Immerse, a new publication for Medium, as an extension of this work. Having spent 10 years in New York, Kopp is currently based in Cape Town.

Shmerah Passchier has worked in the film and television industry as a writer, director and producer. She has travelled extensively around Africa, directing magazine, reality shows and documentaries for the SABC and DSTV. Passchier has a Master’s degree in film from AFDA and a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Wits University. She is currently reading for a PhD in Cyborg Filmmaking and Virtual Reality at Wits University.

The 8th Durban FilmMart takes place in Durban, at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni from 14 to 17 July 2017, during the 38th edition of the Durban International Film Festival (13-23 July 2017).

For more information on the Durban FilmMart and to register as a delegate visit www.durbanfilmmart.com

 -end

Realness African Screenwriter's Residency - 2017 Selection announced at the Cannes Film Festival

At an event hosted by La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut Français, one of the first supporters of the programme, the selection of this year’s Realness Screenwriter’s Residency was announced at the Cannes Film Festival by Realness co-founder Cait Pansegrouw.

 Realness, which was established in 2016, aims to provide scriptwriting talent on the continent with the space, time and support needed to create and develop their vision. This year, over a hundred applications were received from twenty-one African countries. The international panel of industry experts with a stake in African Cinema, evaluated the submissions over three months, arriving at the five chosen residents in early May.

"The Realness initiative continues to unearth some of the rarest talent from the continent,” said Thandeka Zwana from the National Film and Video Foundation, one of the volunteer readers on the selection panel. “The most impressive part of reading the submissions was getting insights into the applicants' previous work and seeing real African cinema in terms of the aesthetic and storytelling. Some evoked memories of the old African greats and some spoke to a wave of new voices."

Marie Dubas, French producer of The Wound by John Trengove and one of the team that founded Realness said; “Selecting projects for Realness is a blessing and a huge responsibility. The projects are of a high quality, proving how rich the multiple African cultures are in nurturing unique stories. We know that for the scriptwriters behind these stories, Realness could be a life changing experience. We try to listen to the desires of these stories, and to allow the ones whose hearts beat the loudest to lead our choices.”

The selected residents for 2017 are Lemohang Mosese from Lesotho, Mario Fradique Bastos from Angola, Rama Thiaw from Senegal, Samantha Nell from South Africa and writer-director team Gloria Huwiler from Zambia and Jahmil XT Quebeka from South Africa. 

 Mario Fradique is an emerging voice in Angolan Cinema. His short films travelled to several festivals, winning awards along the way, while his first feature documentary, Independence, won Angola’s National Culture Prize in 2015. He joins us at Realness with his debut fiction feature, The Kingdom of Casuarinas, based on the novel by Jose Luis Mendonça.

Gloria Huwiler is an actress and writer seeking to give a cinematic voice to her unique experience as a first generation mixed-race Zambian through Victoria Falls. Gloria has teamed up with acclaimed South African writer/director Jahmil Quebka, best known for his second feature film, Of Good Report.

Lemohang Moses hails from Lesotho, a country which has not produced many films. He is a self-taught, award-winning filmmaker and artist, with short film work that has travelled to over 100 festivals, winning top honours in Moscow and Milan last year. His debut feature is This Is Not A Burial It’s A Resurrection is the selected project.

Rama Thiaw is a strong voice from Senegal that we have heard from before. Her two feature length documentaries have garnered much success and awards, most notably the FIRPRESCI Prize at the Berlinale in 2016 for The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. She joins the residency with Life In A Spiral, her fiction debut.

South African Samantha Nell whose short film The Beast premiered in Cannes last year brings her debut feature, Miles From Nowhere. Set in Johannesburg, the film is an absurdist dark comedy that takes place in an old age home following four of its residents. The project is also supported by the NFVF for development.

 Realness 2017 begins on 3 June when the participants begin their residency at the Nirox Foundation in the Cradle of Humankind. They will be mentored by script consultant Nadja Dumouchel for their first week and will then enjoy 4 weeks of solid writing. In July they will attend the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) where they will present their projects to the industry under the mentorship of Selina Ukwuoma at the Durban FilmMart.

“We are grateful to DFM and DIFF for supporting the initiative and making this possible,” says founder and Creative Director Elias Ribeiro. “The screenwriters’  producers will also be invited to attend the finance forum at DFM this year.”

Following this, the screenwriters will submit their work for awards consideration. Their projects stand the chance to be selected to participate at La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut Français, EAVE Producer’s Workshop, Torino Film Lab Meeting Event, Locarno Filmmakers Academy and Midpoint Feature Launch.

 “One of the biggest challenges for us has been to find operational funding and have operated with in-kind contributions, with the entire team behind this programme having worked on a volunteer basis for the past two years,” explains Ribeiro.  “We are pleased that more recently we have received grants from the Goethe Institute of South Africa and the CNC, the French national Film Fund, which has been a welcome support for the progarmme.”

“The CNC, in the framework of our policy of targeted support to the new wave of African talents, has decided to support this emerging writing residency, which offers young promising filmmakers from the continent a wide range of high-level international expertise. We are looking forward to the results of this second edition”, affirmed Michel Plazanet, Deputy Director of International Affairs

Fairbridges Wertheim Becker Attorneys have appointed Nosiphiwo Qwabi to help establish Realness as a NPO trust and qualify for PBO status. "The benefits of a PBO are that the trust would be able to issue a tax certificate or receipt, allowing for donations by donors to be tax deductible", commented Andrew Hewitt, Fairbridges Head of Entertainment Law.

Realness is an initiative founded and curated by Urucu Media, under the mentorship of Berlinale Talents and in partnership with the Nirox Foundation, Durban FilmMart, The Durban International Film Festival, Durban Talents, The French Institute of South Africa and Institute Français, Torino Film Lab, EAVE Producer's Workshop, Midpoint Feature Launch, Locarno Filmmaker's Academy, Produire Au Sud, Fairbridges Wertheim Becker, the Goethe Institute and Le Centre National du Cinéma et de L'image Animée (CNC).

For more information on Realness, African Screenwriters residency  contact realness@urucumedia.com

 

Grantleigh claims their third SPAR KZN School Girls' Hockey Tournament Regional Title

A monumental tussle between two rival schools, saw Grantleigh College reclaim their title in the Northern Coastal regional of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge which took place at their school on Sunday, May 28. 

Having previously twice won this regional Grantleigh were not going to relinquish their title without a good fight. Faced with a tight-knit outfit representing Felixton, the two teams came head to head in a dramatic, fast-paced and energetic gold/silver finals.

Felixton dominated the majority of the game, powerfully surging forwards countless times but encountered a firm solid defense from Grantleigh’s backline, and were unable to penetrate. In the last three minutes, Grantleigh secured a short corner, and Chene van Wyk managed to convert it into a point to steal the hopes of a win from their opponents.

Both Felixton and Grantleigh won their pool games and met Empangeni High School and Richardsbaai Skool respectively in the semi-final playoffs. The semis ended with both finalists going one-up against their opponents. Then Empangeni met Richardsbaai for third position in the bronze game, with Empangeni winning 1-0.

Danielle van Onselen, Captain of Grantleigh who was ecstatic about the win said, “It was a fast and tense final and there was a lot on the line going up against Felixton. At half time we really decided that we wanted this win very badly, and we went for it.”

Winning the award for the Most Promising Umpire, fourteen-year old Brett Braithwaite from Grantleigh, exhibited fantastic control and knowledge of all the games he officiated and oversaw.

Nine teams participated in this year’s Northern Coastal regionals and the tournament was played in two pools, with games lasting 20 minutes one-way with the final game lasting half an hour going two ways.

Wrapping up the regionals for this year’s SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge, Grantleigh will meet St Mary’s winners of the Highway Regional, King Edward High School, winners of the Ugu and Sisonke Regional, Ferrum Skool (Newcastle), St Anne’s College (PMB North), St John’s DSG (PMB Central), Amanzimtoti High School (Durban South), Our Lady of Fatima (Durban North) and Durban Girls College (Durban Central) and Wartburg Kirchdorf (Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi) at the Grand Finals at St Mary’s in Durban on July 29 and 30.