Monday, March 4, 2019

TV REVIEW. The 13th Saftas of 2019 was an embarrassment. Again.

Yet again the mediocre and mistake-riddled broadcast production of the 13th South African Film and Television Awards on Saturday night on SABC2 was an embarrassment - a shameful slap in the face of the very industry it's supposed to represent and showcase.

The flat and terrible 2019 Saftas looked like a shoddy, unrehearsed school drama club presentation, prepped with little time, with people who came dressed up for it.

Besides continuous sound problems, sound level and sound mistakes like mics muted when they shouldn't be and live when they shouldn't ("Who are we going to bring in?"), bad editing, bad lighting, and a plain, boring and uninspiring steps-stage set design by Michael Gill Designs, the 13th Saftas was also plagued by some badly done and energy-less musical acts.

The 13th Saftas yet again botched the In Memoriam segment and left out names.

Of pacing there was little sign with the 3-hour live broadcast Saftas show that ran 20 minutes over its scheduled and allotted time, with an embarrassing no envelope fiasco, a wrong envelope mess, with dull co-hosts looking more interest in soliciting audience purrs for their outfit changes.

The noticeable absence of many shows missing from the 13th Saftas due to an active boycott wasn't mentioned or explained to viewers, allowing MultiChoice's pay-TV channels like M-Net, 1Magic, Mzansi Magic and kykNET on DStv, and the video streaming service Showmax, to rise in winning awards.

Produced by Clive Morris Productions there was shamefully and noticeably no tribute video package from the NFVF at the 13th Saftas for veteran showrunner, director and writer Thandi Brewer who got a special industry achievement award. Why not?

The 13th Saftas had at least one category presenter admitting that she didn't show up for rehearsals; a few great speeches interrupted by play-off music when they needed just a few discretionary seconds more from producers; categories that belong in the main awards that got inexplicably dumped to the "technical" awards; as well as bumpy and shaky camerawork unbefitting an awards show.

Names like Ilse Klink were pronounced "Elize Klink".

The unprofessional mix-up with envelopes during the feature film categories in the 13th Saftas and the way that viewers saw that nobody apparently knew what to do, was cringe-worthy to watch.

Sponsored, superficial backstage interview fluff between Somizi and some winners, courtesy of McDonalds SA was wholly out-of-place, badly done and made the unnecessary awards show mess longer.

An unending stream of people in the Sun City audience were constantly seen on screen getting up during the broadcast and not waiting for ad breaks, walking around, leaving seats and returning to seats.

The NFVF and producers still don't employ seat fillers for the few front rows, once again leaving ugly empty seats visible at the 13th Saftas that was done for a third time from Sun City.

What sounded like weird and unsuitable news jingle and adventure film can music were used as filler during people's walk to and from the stage.

Editing, directing and vision mix wise, selecting what came in from the cameramen, fatigued Saftas viewers got predominantly three angles over and over again, each basically just constantly zooming in and out: front middle, jimmy jib stage left, and a steadicam cameraman scurrying around in front of the stage steps doing "shoot from below looking up at Everest" shots.

Some category winners saw hangers-on from their various productions also storm to the stage with them, like uncontrollable moths to a fame flame.

The minister of arts and culture, Nathi Mthethwa, looked like he was reading his long-winded speech on the autocue screen for the first time, often-times haltingly and jarringly stumbling over his words.

The shoddy production values marred an awards show ceremony that is supposed to show how good South Africa's film and TV production is but once again made it look amateurish.

A bland and boring red carpet show - looking like a shopping mall brand promotion activation and done from a shaky side-platform - lasted for just 30 minutes from 19:00 on SABC2 after which the channel hilariously broke away to an episode of Abo Mzala for a half hour before starting the awards ceremony broadcast at 20:00.

The 13th Saftas broadcast ceremony was executive produced by Lala Tuku, with Khayelihle Gumede as stage director, Manchester Mahapa as creative director and Philip Hlophe as floor manager.

ALSO READ: 2019's 13th Saftas again botches the In Memoriam segment.
ALSO READ: NFVF's 13th Saftas marred by winner envelope mistakes as actress Crystal Donna Roberts and McDonalds SA boss Greg Solomon are awkwardly left struggling on stage with no and wrong envelopes.
ALSO READ: How far away keeps the press at bay and media coverage muted: How shows - from the Saftas to Survivor SA - will likely get less coverage this year.
ALSO READ: The NFVF reveals that it has started discussions with other African countries around the possible formation of an African film fund to help make TV and film coproductions possible.
ALSO READ: TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK. A KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission 'Beach Party' at Sun City, a Gauteng Film Commission brunch: The bizarre sideshows at the NFVF's 13th Saftas that look like money-wasting.
ALSO READ: Why the NFVF's South African Film and Television Awards risks becoming even more out-of-touch and irrelevant with viewers.
ALSO READ: 'This is for all the voiceless': How 3 women made the most moving acceptance speeches at 2019's 13th Saftas - giving hope and speaking directly to the country's disenfranchised and forgotten masses.
ALSO READ: The NFVF and Safta organisers quietly dumped awarding a winner in the Best Documentary Short category at the 13th Saftas due to a content ownership fight.
ALSO READ: Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA) plans to join boycott of the South African Film and Television Awards after the NFVF's shocking move to shift all writing categories to the non-televised 'technical' awards division.
ALSO READ: MultiChoice grabs over half of all the awards at 2019's 13th Saftas as pay-TV productions become the big winners.
ALSO READ: Showmax makes South African TV history as it wins 5 awards at the NFVF's 13th Saftas and the first for a video streaming service.
ALSO READ: wins 4 Golden Horn trophies at the 13th Saftas, including Best actress and Best actor in the TV soap category for Kgomotso Christopher and Jamie Bartlett.
ALSO READ: Winners list of the NFVF's 2019 13th South African Film and Television Awards.
ALSO READ: South Africa's TV and film biz laughs over up to R5566 to stay over for the 13th Saftas, as organisers fail to talk to producers over their growing award show boycott.
ALSO READ: TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK. A dream that remains a nightmare: Here's why the NFVF's 13th South African Film and Television Awards of 2019 once again looks like it's going to be a mess.
ALSO READ: Growing number of shows snub the Saftas as producers' unhappiness with the industry's South African TV and film awards grows.
ALSO READ: Nominees (full list) for the 13th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) for 2019 announced.