Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Silwerskerm Film Festival, kykNET has released the names of a slate of local films lined up for a brand-new hybrid format between 23 and 26 March 2022.
Pictures of features apart from previous winner Poppie Nongena are all part of this year’s competition.
Since all the events on the main programme will take place simultaneously at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay and the Silwerskerm Film Festival website, movie lovers from across the country can now sign up to enjoy the festival from the comfort of their homes. (See details below and check for details on the movies on the Silwerskerm website: https://silwerskermfees.co.za/)
Included are nine local feature films in competition for the festival’s prestigious awards and 17 short films produced with the financial support of kykNET and the festival.
Besides these exciting films, guests and those attending virtually will also have access to Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, industry discussions and some existing local films that have received limited releases in the past two years.
DIANE DE BEER chats to Ricky Human (centre), programme director who together with its founder Karen Meiring (right) and director M-Net channels Jan du Plessis (left), has been with the Silwerskerm Film Festival from the start:
In 2010 the kykNET Silwerskerm Film Festival started as a dream to establish a local film festival and a vision to create a platform for their own storytellers to showcase their work to each other, to develop young filmmakers and to discover new voices in the local film industry.
“We often look back fondly at how the festival started with only one feature film, ‘n Saak van Geloof and an exciting short film competition,” notes Ricky Human, programming director.
“We believed that we could establish a festival incubator program for passionate young filmmakers to develop their own stories with the guidance and the financial support needed to start their careers in the local film industry.”
“Ten years later, some of the most passionate and brightest young filmmakers have emerged through the ranks of the short film competition and more than 160 short films and a variety of feature-length films with the funding and support from kykNET and M-Net Movies were launched. Young talent from 10 years ago are now established producers, directors and scriptwriters,” she says proudly.
In this time, the festival has also become a successful networking event and continuous exposure to key role players in the industry, from new to established, as well as veteran filmmakers has led to a revival in the local film industry with a focus to increase the level of production.
It further had the effect that authentic South African films set in the Cape flats, different cultures and new story idea planted at this festival is leading a wave of transformation in the Afrikaans film industry with new audience growth and more job opportunities.
As the festival developed in the latter years, and with the 10th anniversary in mind, a big focus became a renewed festival to not only harness all the elements that made it successful, but to expand the programme to be more inclusive of a variety of film genres. This would include public participation and growing the networking and film market element to sustain growth for the next 10 years.
“We launched an on-line app last year, new competition categories for script writing and digitally produced content. We also welcomed international guest speakers who are experts in their field to share their industry knowledge,” she expanded. They also have big dreams of international collaborations.
In most international markets its mostly the big blockbusters and large scale independent films that are able to secure a standard theatrical release in cinemas. Distributors and cinema owners worldwide negotiate a film’s release based on potential box office results versus the cost to releasing the film in cinemas.
It has always been a risqué platform with no real guarantees on box office returns, and with many new entertainment options for audiences worldwide, it is a harsh reality that most filmmakers need to take on board when releasing their films in cinemas.
And then Covid also moved into the mix with the future still uncertain. The motion picture industry, which relied on cinema attendances came to a halt.
Yet the Silwerskerm Film Festival has boosted the local film and television industry and there are many success stories. The short film and Silwerkerm alumni list is growing on an annual basis
Scenes from the extraordinary Poppie Nongena
Probably the most successful has been former stage director Christiaan Olwagen who directed Poppie Nongena, winner for Best Film, Best Script, Best Director and Best Ensemble Cast at the last live event at the 2019 festival.
In 2013, he made his debut with the short film Toevlug which won Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Short Film and landed him a 3-picture deal with M-Net Movies.
His first feature film in 2016, Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie scooped seven awards at Silwerskerm Film Festival including Best Director and Best Film. In 2018, Kanarie won five awards including Best Film and Best Director and went on to be a local and international LGBTQ sensation.
Racheltjie de Beer which won Best Production Design and Best Actor awards in 2019 was written, directed and co-produced by Matthys Boshoff, who made his debut with the short film Vlees van my Vlees which won Best Director and Best Short Film in 2016.
In 2015, Stian Smith won Best Script for the short film, Beurtkrag which was adapted for stage by Jozua Malherbe and features in the main competition this year as a full-length feature film.
Similarly another short film entry for the 2014 competition, Vuil Wasgoed led to Bouwer Bosch forming his own production company and producing the feature-length film version, whilst the writer Bennie Fourie contributed to popular television series Sterlopers and Hotel. Fourie and his fellow writer Stian Smith also won SAFTAs for their work in the local industry.
Another fabulous success story is that of Gambit Films, the production house which entered the short film, Nommer 37 with director, writer, producer Nosipho Dumisa winning the 2014 Best Director and Best Script awards.
They received further funding from M-Net Movies and Dumisa followed with the full-length feature version to critical acclaim locally and internationally.
Through networks created, inexperienced producers also meet their veteran counterparts, and in this instance, with the support and guidance of Homebrew Films, the Gambit creative team also became involved in other television projects for kykNET an kykNET& kie.
This lead to the development of the popular Suidooster soap, for which they formed Atlantic studio. This studio has subsequently created numerous jobs and opportunities for the Western Cape film community.
And the accolades run on and on.
For the future, they are hoping to embrace a fully inclusive festival with more and more expansive opportunities for film and documentary makers. Viva la movies! We all stand to gain and benefit as our local stories are told by people who lived them.