TV training project to flourish local films
SA's first comedy series for community television is in pre-production in PE, a groundbreaking training project that will create a foundation for the development of a local film industry.
A’s first comedy series for community television is in
pre-production in Port Elizabeth as part of a groundbreaking training project that will create a foundation for the development of a local film industry to absorb regional talent and produce homegrown content that reflects the Eastern Cape experience.
Young film-makers will be producing the 13-part comedy series for Bay TV, and for possible syndication on Soweto TV and 1KZN as part of a film and television production training project that is being run by
The Media Workshop of Port Elizabeth in association with Urban Brew Studios.
“This is the first of its kind in SA, since community television stations rely mostly on chat shows, news and documentary-type programming because of the exorbitant cost of producing films and television fiction series,” says Denise Roodt, founder and owner of The Media Workshop.
“While it can be a slow process to develop advertising support and build an audience, I believe this comedy series will help stimulate both interest in local productions and the growth in the number of local viewers.”
She says all the costs for training of the 40 unemployed pupils and graduates involved in the project are being funded by the Media, Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Seta.
The supervising director and mentor of the internship programme is David Lister, who has a wealth of experience in the television and film industry both locally and internationally — having directed Nelson Mandela and actors such as Dr John Kani, Leon Schuster and Richard E Grant. He is also a lecturer in the NQF 4 and NQF 5 certificate
film-directing modules at The Media Workshop.
“It is a privilege to have David here to coach the interns. He has directed all genres, including fulllength movies, telefeatures, TV drama series, a puppet series, documentaries, commercials and corporate videos,” says Roodt.
Lister has won 10 directing awards and numerous actors and technicians have won awards for their work under his direction.
“The intention is to offer a sustainable training and development service to feed into the community television industry, which will see this year’s top NQF 4 graduates entering the NQF 5 programme next year. The NQF 5 graduates will then be considered for internships or workplace experience programmes at community TV channels.”
Roodt says the “big dream” is to see the graduates produce the Eastern Cape’s first commercial full-feature film.
Lister says: “I strongly believe in the creation and development of new opportunities for the disaffected youth. There is a wealth of unrealised talent in the Eastern Cape.
“The Media Workshop provides valuable structure, guidance and facilities. Students have a chance
in a lifetime to be free to experiment and to find their own voice, to realise their passion for film-making and to tell their own original stories.
“They not only learn a range of technical skills, but learn to work as part of a team in a collaborative medium, which will prepare them for the realities of professional film-making,” he says.
Other South African filmmakers will also be sharing their experience, passion and skills with the students during the training, says Roodt.
She says the unemployed pupils and graduates are benefiting from the project in the following ways: 20 are completing an FET Certificate in film and television production operations at NQF 4 level; 10 are completing a National Certificate in film and television production at NQF 5 level; and 10 are employed as interns, of which five are producers based at Bay TV and five are producing the comedy series for Bay TV.
Roodt says that all student projects will be offered to Bay
TV for broadcast, which includes 20 one-minute movies being produced by the NQF 4 students; 10 five-minute movies being produced by the NQF 5 students; and five five-minute movies produced by the five interns who will be producing the comedy series. These films are currently in post-production.