Monday, April 14, 2014

SAFTAS 2014. Saftas silent as National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) refuses to answer basic questions over the disastrous broadcast.

A week since the shockingly bad, amateur and disastrous 8th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) was broadcast on SABC3, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Saftas organising committee is showing exactly the debilitating type of ongoing lack of accountability, lack of credibility, lack of professionalism, and lack of transparency that sham awards show continues to suffer from.

The NFVF and the Saftas organising committee hasn't been willing, or able, to answer very basic questions, in a very basic media enquiry since Saturday's terrible broadcast - unwilling and unable to be open, to explain, to apologise or to say what went wrong and why the Saftas shown on South African television was again such a cringe-worthy, sad, bad mess.

The disastrous Saftas live coverage - the television travesty was produced by Clive Morris Productions - has once again and similar to previous years, caused serious damage to the South African film and television business by making it look as if those working in it barely rise above a level of mediocrity.

The irony is that a shambolic awards show, supposed to recognise, celebrate and honour the best in South Africa's film and television not only continues to lack any semblance of actual credibility, but is done and produced in such a pathetic and bad way that it shames the entire South Africa's film and TV biz.

What a fiasco if you can't even get the list right, and complete of those who've passed away for the In Memoriam segment. What a shame and embarrassment if you compound the problem with spelling mistakes.

After multiple media enquiries this past week since the broadcast - none of it answered - the Saftas organising committee and the NFVF (ironically) keeps showing its true colours - it doesn't care and like Oscar Pistorius won't take responsibility.

As almost a law unto itself, funded by government, the NFVF and the Saftas organising committee putting on this multi-million rand trashcast year after year, the organisers who can't even be bothered to find out how to properly pronounce the name of the head of its judging committee, doesn't feel - or doesn't feel the need to be answerable to anyone - not to the press, and not to viewers.

That is as big a problem as doing bad television. At least a level of contrition after showing TV trash reveals a public understanding of the acceptance that something is wrong. The NFVF and the Saftas refuses to even admit that something is wrong.

I asked the NFVF and the Saftas organising committee the past week several times how it feels about the broadcast.

I asked how it feels about the loss of sound which started the Saftas deplorably bad red carpet coverage, and the continuing sound problems which marred the live broadcast.

I wanted to know what the NFVF thinks of the spelling mistakes and the omission of names from the In Memoriam segment of the 8th South African Film and Television Awards, and why it happened?

I asked why Jahmil X.T. Qubeka's acceptance speech for best director for a film wasn't heard by anybody because of sound and video cutting out?

I asked: Is there some sort of apology from the NFVF to Jahmil X.T. Qubeka about this?

The presenters at the Saftas struggle year after year as they did this year to pronounce the names of nominees correctly. I asked of presenters are coached beforehand on the proper pronunciation of names?

These are are bare bones, basic, basic, basement level questions. None of which the National Film and Video Foundation and the Saftas organising committee could get itself to answer in a week (while it pays money to an external public relations firm as well).

A better Saftas will only start once the litany of credibility issues are seriously addressed and fixed, letting the press and TV and film critics in, taking responsibility for the ongoing broadcasting trash which happens over and over again, and if the NFVF and the Saftas becomes serious about wanting to be truly representative of the business - and actually wanting to be better.