The powerful local documentaries nominated for SAFTAs in 2015 provide a gripping reflection of the hard-won achievements and the ongoing social challenges that South Africa remembers on Human Rights Day.
This year the 9th annual South Africa Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) will be held on two evenings, straddling Human Rights Day on 21 March. Friday 20th will feature behind the scenes and technical achievers, with Sunday 22 March the night for feature films, comedy and acting awards.
SAFTAs Chairperson Ms Zama Mkosi says that the celebration of Human Rights Day in the middle of the SAFTAs holds poignant meaning for the film and television industry.
“We have come such a long way in achieving international recognition, which is why this year our theme for the SAFTAs is ‘Coming of Age’. At the same time, South Africa has come so far in safeguarding human rights. But the remarkable documentaries up for awards this year also tell a compelling story of how far we still have to go,” says Mkosi.
Themes such as the struggles for survival and identity, loss and absence, striking for better wages, patriotism and racism, moral dilemmas and the real challenges faced by Nelson Mandela, all attest to the legacy of apartheid and how the experiences of the past continue to shape the lives of ordinary people today.
Enjoying four nominations each in the short documentary category are The Last Boers of Patagonia directed by Richard Finn Gregory, and Orbis, a Saltpeter Productions documentary about a journey through Umlazi township in KZN.
Top contenders for best feature documentary are I, Afrikaner, directed by Annalet Steenkamp, a moving examination of four generations of a farming family struggling to adapt to their rapidly changing world; Miners Shot Down directed by Rehad Desai, an unflinching look at South Africa’s first post-apartheid massacre; and The Vula Connection directed by Marion Edmunds, the thrilling story of Tim Jenkin, an unassuming South African who was an underground operative for the ANC in the 1970s, and singlehandedly invented a secret communications system that ultimately set the transition to democracy in motion.
Also nominated for a number of awards is the recently released Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me directed by Khalo Matabane, where he questions the meaning of freedom, reconciliation and forgiveness.
Commenting on the quality of the documentaries lined up for awards this year, Head of Department for NFVF Marketing and Communications, Peter Kwele, said, “South Africa has remarkable stories to tell, stories that resonate around the world because they so eloquently get to the very heart of universal human experiences.”
The SAFTAs, produced by Clive Morris Productions, are the premier film and television industry awards under the custodianship of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). Their main objective is to promote the creativity, quality and excellence of South African film and television talent and encourage entrepreneurship and the development of new talent in the industry. The #SAFTAs15 received 438 entries, 30 more than last year.
For the full SAFTAs Nominees List visit the SAFTAs Facebook page as well as the NFVF website: //www.nfvf.co.za/ and click on the SAFTAs tab.
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