Thursday, February 18, 2016

OH SO ODD AGAIN: The nominees of the 10th 2016 Saftas is once again not really awarding the best of the best - oh and McDonalds McCafe is a sponsor.

Still evolving after 10 times, The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has announced the nominees for its 2016 South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) this morning at Monte Casino.

The 2016 Saftas will take place on 18 and 20 March at Gallagher Estate with the second night that will be broadcast on SABC2, this year with SABC3's Expresso presenter Katlegoe Maboe as host.

The NFVF through the Saftas tries to honour the best of South African TV and film, although, like America's Oscars, are marred by ongoing problems and deficiencies in the system, preventing the real best of South Africa's television and film productions to receive Golden Horn trophies.

This year's Saftas nominee list will once again have ordinary South African viewers as well as TV critics and insiders scratching their heads over how the nominees were chosen.

Highly rated shows, meaning they mass market appeal, as well as critical darlings are left out in virtually all of the categories in favour of a collection of names, shows and on-screen talent a lot of people don't know.

Add in McDonalds this year as a weird sponsor for its McCafe coffee brand for the Saftas and you can get somewhat of a feel of how never quite on point and off key the Saftas actually are.

Leading with 11 nominations is the satirical show ZA News: Puppet Nation on StarSat with 11 nominations, followed by 9 nominations for the SABC3 mockumentary Those Who Can’t.

The made-for-TV movies Rise and Ingoma, as well as the TV comedy Kota Life Crisis all got 8 nominations.

The soap dramas Saints and Sinners (Mzansi Magic) and isiBaya (Mzansi Magic) each got 7 nominations, with 6 nominations each for Isidingo (SABC3) and Ashes to Ashes (

Five nominations each went to Rhythm City (, The Gift and While You Weren’t Looking. The feature film Ayanda also earned five nods.

"These nominations not only honour extraordinary achievements but they serve as an incredibly helpful guide to the best of the best of what's out there for our television viewers and ticket buyers," says Zama Mkosi, NFVF CEO.

"We always encourage the creative community to show us their best work and South African audiences will award them for it."

The NFVF and Saftas organising and judging committee lacks credible, expert people who watches a lot and knows television and film (and those people do exist) - it leads to the problem where the Saftas judges are dependent on judging work that's entered and episodes that are entered - instead of them themselves casting, through knowing, a wide net and picking and including what's great.

The result is that over-eager producers, actors and production companies enter (often less than stellar) work, out of which shortlists and nominees are chosen. Better work often exists, but it's not recognised.

By the time you have advertiser-funded productions (so-called AFP's) not only eligible but actually being nominees in categories - shows that's primarily sponsor driven and in fact long TV commercials masquerading as TV shows - it's not really the best of what South African television has to offer.

Sadly there's once again more wrong than right with the latest nominees for the 10th Saftas - as if those who produce the list, inhabit in some other reality than the real reality where common sense should prevail even in the fickle, superficial world of film and television.

Where's the bigger diversity, more of the real gems, the more balanced nominees in several categories?

Sadly, nobody really speaks up - neither those nominated and playing the game, and those who don't know better - in a form of collusion which results in the Saftas never really actually getting better and improving.

The Saftas nominees list and categories for 2016 are once again unbalanced - its obvious to see, but nobody speaks up about it.

People and shows that should be on it are not and people and shows that shouldn't be on it are - it's a problem because it speaks to the credibility and reputation and veracity of what we as South Africa push forward and wants to say "this is our best".

In the same way that McCafe isn't the best coffee in South Africa but the NFVF and the Saftas are fine to go with it as a sponsor and attach it to the awards, the "best of the best" that Zama Mkosi speaks of, isn't really, really being reflected in the Saftas 2016 nominees list.

Just because you say something (ask Donald Trump), doesn't make it true.

It remains incredibly painful to know that often lesser work is being rewarded when there's a multitude of really hard-working and brilliant people working in television and film in South Africa who are not getting their rightful due, reward and moment in the spotlight.