Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Safta Awards: An amateurly run, badly organised utter disgrace devoid of credibility, judicious thought, substance or fairness.

The 5th (they call it annual, but for that you actually need to have had an event or competition every year) Safta Awards continues to be a shameful disaster, and this horribly amateur event purporting to honour the best of local television and film is once again a failing and flailing fake fresco that inflicts serious damage on the actual credibility of the South African TV and film industry.

The South African television industry deserves better than this amateurly run, badly organised utter disgrace that's perpetually devoid of any credibility, substance or any semblance of judicious thought, selection criteria, or fairness. Weeks before it breaks into two awards ceremonies this year on 20 and 27 February this tawdry and tacky event doesn't have a broadcaster willing to touch this mess, which, if televised, will probably once again marinade in a hopelessly unprofessional production getting marred with pathetic sound, technical problems, amateur presenters and nominees who don't even care to show up.

ALSO READ: 10 tips to save the Saftas.
ALSO READ: The 4th Saftas destroyed by horrible host John Vlismas and myriad production problems.
ALSO READ: Condescending and unprepared, John Vlismas is horribly horrendous as host of the 4th Saftas

The definitely out of touch Eddie Mbalo, CEO of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and his incompetent underlings whose job it is to organize this spectacular bĂȘte noire have no idea what they're doing – and they simply don't care to ask. Like the ailing old family dog – blind deaf and hardly able to walk – nobody has the courage to put the South African Film and Television Awards out of its misery or totally reinvent it with some actual industry cred. So it keeps limping along… clueless and largely irrelevant, but using tax payers money to put up an award show devoid of contemporary relevance for an industry that deserves better. And the poor contenders – desperate producers and actors starved for recognition in a harsh industry on a good day – conspire to settle for less, even if, like African poachers, all they can get is a Golden Horn.

With no fixed number of contenders per category, zero effort to ask and consult and be better (like asking TV and film critics and writers who actually watch and review what our industry produce to be part of a panel choosing the finalists - or consulting us on what can be done better), winning anything at the South African Film and Television Awards is completely devoid of any real meaning. M-Net who has more quality local TV productions than the whole of the dilapidated SABC1, clearly doesn't care and henceforth barely features. Likewise is a small remora swimming passive aggressively along this shark called Safta, careful to be not too overt lest it lends credence to this shamfest, yet secretly hoping, wanting (and fully deserving) some recognition within the TV industry for good work.

It's shameful that the Saftas has no category(ies) for news, current affairs or even special event coverage. Documentaries and educational programming that's hugely different are lumped(dumped?) together. Hopeville which was actually a TV show on SABC2 cobbled together enough footage to turn it into a film and is nominated in ''feature film'' categories – 6 of them. In the dime a dozen soap operas littering every broadcaster's schedule the Saftas is unable to find in several categories even 3 finalists (and there are deserving enough actors). And how you can have categories for ''lead actor'' and ''lead actress'' in a soap – a soap! – as well as supporting ones where the cast is an emsemble, boggles the mind. The 5th Saftas couldn’t find (they do exist!) a single ''best actor in a drama series'' – so they're making as if that category doesn't exist this year. It's all plainly pathetic, but more than that the Saftas is just sad.