Saturday, August 31, 2019

The SABC appoints the boss of its TV Licence fees division Sylvia Tladi as the South African public broadcaster's next acting chief operating officer.

The South African public broadcaster has appointed Sylvia Tladi, the head of the SABC's TV Licence division as its latest acting chief operating officer (COO).

She replaces Dr Craig van Rooyen who unexpectedly quit as acting COO citing personal reasons and who replaced Chris Maroleng who was fired.

Earlier this week the SABC on Wednesday in parliament, Madoda Mxakwe said that the beleaguered and technically insolvent SABC has a massive problem with SABC TV Licences and that although the SABC's database has 9.6 million SABC TV licence fee payers, only a shockingly low 2.2 million people are still bothering to pay their licence fees, with "455 000 doing it in instalment terms. As you can see the gap is quite huge".

Sylvia Tladi runs the SABC's struggling TV licence fees division since May 2013, with the SABC that out of everybody available Sylvia Tladi "is best suited to act whilst the organisation finalises the process of appointing a permanent chief operating officer".

Sylvia Tladi joined the SABC in 2004 as the manager for business accounts at the SABC TV Licence fees division and became the compliance manager for business and retailer accounts at the division in 2011.

In 2012 Sylvia Tladi was appointed as the acting SABC TV licence division boss and was permanently appointed in the role since May 2013.

Sylvia Tladi has been in charge of managing the entire TV Licence division which has seen multiple ongoing challenges and problems ranging from system issues to the hiring and firing and non-permanent staffers angry over their employment status, and irregularities and allegations of corruption over outsourcing of work to SABC TV licence fees debt collection agencies.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

First 20 students from the MultiChoice Talent Factory film academy's East Africa hub graduate.

The MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), MultiChoice's film academy for sub-Saharan Africa held the first graduation ceremony for the academy's 20 students of the East Africa hub at the Nairobi Film Centre in Kenya where students received their certificates from the Kenyatta University accredited training programme.

MultiChoice set up the MultiChoice Talent Factory last year, and modelled it on M-Net's successful Magic in Motion film academy in South Africa, with three film academy hubs in Lusaka, Zambia for Southern Africa, Nairobi in Kenya for East Africa, and in Lagos in Nigeria for West Africa.

Along with their certificates, various students from the MultiChoice Talent Factory in East Africa got placements and internships with the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) in New York; an Indian Film Industry "Bollywood" production internship with Nihilent Limited in India, a "Nollywood" production scriptwriting internship on an Africa Magic series produced in Lagos, an infinite AVID media composer license, as well as a AVID Pro Tools license by Jasco Broadcast Solutions

"We've encountered some challenges as we travelled our way along this journey, but with the remarkable support of our stakeholders, partners and supporters, we soldiered on and have emerged stronger for the creative industry as a whole," said Maharage Chande, MultiChoice regional director for the Northern region.

The MultiChoice Talent Factory was launched in May 2018 to support and help grow Africa’s creative film and TV industries through the film academy as a training and skills development opportunity for young emerging filmmakers by offering a 12-month fully funded training programme.

The MultiChoice Talent Factory's curriculum is run by three regional academy directors, Njoki Muhoho (East Africa), Berry Lwando (Southern Africa) and Femi Odugbemi (West Africa) with 20 students each for a total of 60.

"Those that made the cut have certainly proved their potential, and all the graduates' hard work during the programme has led to this moment," said Njoko Muhoho, the MultiChoice Talent Factory East Africa director.

"It was truly a privilege to witness as the students worked diligently and demonstrated exactly how important a programme such as the MultiChoice Talent Factory academy is for the preservation of Africa’s creative film and TV industry. I couldn't have been prouder of the students for the work they have so far put in, and for what lies ahead of them," said Njoko Muhoho.

Throughout the past year the MultiChoice Talent Factory has partnered with various institutions and organisations to ensure the success of the initiative who have delivered expertise in various aspects of the film and television and participated in various touchpoints of the initiatives from training at the academy to upskilling industry professionals through masterclasses.

In April 2018, the MultiChoice Talent Factory partnered with the world-renowned New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA). 

Every year, starting with the first graduating class, one graduate from each of the three hubs will get to enhance their filmmaking skills through a scholarship. The East Africa class of 2018's recipient is the 26-year-old Kenyan, Hillary Lanogwa.

The 26-year old Jane Moshi from Tanzania was chosen to receive the 2-week Bollywood production internship. The 24-year old Cissy Nalumansi from Uganda was chosen for the 3 to 4-week scriptwriting internship in an Africa Magic series.

Jasco Broadcast Solutions is also giving an AVID media composer licence for the 22-year old Kenya, Hilary Sibuni Sitati, who was chosen as the most-promising film video editor in the East Africa region. The AVID Pro Tools licence for the most-promising sound engineer per region for East Africa was awarded to 24-year-old Anthony Njoroge from Kenya.  

"From the onset, we as MultiChoice believed that working in partnership with creative organisations across the continent and beyond will contribute towards making this initiative a success for the students and broader creative industry," says Cheryl Uys-Allie, the MultiChoice Talent Factory director.

"We truly thank the partners who have come on board to contribute towards equipping our emerging creatives with the technical skills they need to expertly navigate our industry. As the old African proverb says, ‘If you want to run fast, go alone. If you want to run far, go together. It’s our hope that we will see more partners joining us to ignite Africa’s creative industry further."

'On any given day there might be 3 out of 39 lifts working in our buildings in Auckland Park,' the SABC tells parliament.

The technically insolvent South African public broadcaster's precarious situation in terms of its backlog on the maintenance of its physical infrastructure has become so bad that on any given day only 3 out of its 39 lifts at its Auckland Park headquarters is in working order.

So says Yolande van Biljon, the SABC's chief financial officer (CFO), who on Wednesday in parliament painted a dire picture through examples of the SABC's dilapidated and deteriorating infrastructure.

The SABC that owes R1.8 billion to creditors and that is technically insolvent, struggles to pay its staff from month to month and has long since stopped doing capital expenditure on things like maintenance.

As an example of the SABC's delayed spending on capital expenditure which includes things like maintenance, Yolande van Biljon told parliament's committee on public enterprise and communication on Wednesday how terrible the situation with just the elevators inside the SABC is.

"We have to replace all the lifts in Auckland Park. That's R160 million. The lifts are 15 years past lifespan. We keep them together by making ad hoc investments and repairs and maintenance".

"On any given day there might be 3 out of 39 working in our buildings in Auckland Park," said Yolande van Biljon.

In June 2019 a fire in the cafeteria in the SABC's Radio Park building prompted the evacuation of staff with 15 people who were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

The same Radio Park building was evacuated in May 2019 during a diesel spill that saw thousands of litres of diesel flood the building and down the elevator shaft when a power outage caused the building to switch to its back-up power generator located on the 15th floor. "A failure of the equipment led to the diesel tank overflowing," the SABC said.

SABC executives, as well as former and current SABC board members have been warning for months that the SABC has stopped and failed to do maintenance due to the broadcaster's precarious financial position with the SABC hovering on the edge of collapse and warning that the SABC's "Day Zero" and a black-on-air situation could happen any day.

In November 2018, the former SABC board member Mathatha Tsedu told and warned parliament and the minister of communications that the SABC is turning into a potential death trap.

"We haven't maintained our buildings for a very long time. Last week a huge chunk fell from the reception of the Radio Park building. The people responsible for the maintenance of our buildings have been warning that there are cracks there - something is going to happen. But we don't have the money. We're only dealing with what is broadcast critical," he said.

"If there is a crack up there and it doesn't stop us from going on air, we will not fix it until that rock falls down. And one day, it is going to fall on someone."

In September 2014 SABC management were furious when staffers put up a self-made notification - an image that was shared and send to TVwithThinus at the time, inside one of the lifts "announcing" that "we are pleased to inform you that Schindler's Lifts are due to be repaired and serviced by the year 2029".

""As a token of our appreciation for your loyalty, you are being encouraged to use the stairs provided for emergency evacuations to proceed to your various work stations".

"Those of you unable to ascend to the top, do not have any ambition in any case and are encouraged to resign," the fake notification told SABC staff.

"We appreciate your patience and know many of you will reach retirement age by the time the lifts are fixed. Together we can climb mountains".

In the internal news letter to staff at the time, a copy of which TV with Thinus obtained, the SABC addressed the lift humour, called it an "act of sabotage" and threatened whoever responsible for the note with disciplinary action.

"We are currently experiencing an abnormal amount of lift outages at this time and as First Citizen you are requested to be patient. The situation is getting a necessary intervention," the SABC told staffers.

"There are 39 lifts and 4 escalators in use on the Auckland Park premises.  Most of these lifts and escalators were installed as far back as 1972 making them over forty years old. Due to their age parts are extremely difficult to obtain and in some instances they have to be re-manufactured."

"This causes long outage periods and affects the reliability on these lifts and escalators. This is the main cause of our First Citizens having to wait for lifts".

In February 2015 scared SABC staff said that "lifts in the SABC are in a deplorable situation" and that "several of the lifts at the SABC are no longer in working order. SABC personnel often have to wait up to 10 minutes for an available lift. Others climb steps to get where they have to be".

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Democratic Alliance political party says that it opposes plans by the South African public broadcaster to increase SABC TV licence fees.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party on Wednesday in a statement said that it is against the plans of the South African public broadcaster that wants to increase SABC TV licence fees.

On Wednesday SABC board members and top executives appeared before parliament's select committee on public enterprise and communications where Yolande van Biljon, the SABC's chief financial officer (COO), revealed that the SABC had drafted a proposal for an increase in SABC TV licence fees which was send to Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the minister of communications.

Yolande van Biljon told the parliamentary committee that the struggling SABC has less fresh content because the technically insolvent and cash-strapped broadcaster is using money that is supposed to go to content investment to pay staff salaries.

"The DA is opposed to any additional - what would be in essence - taxation of already over-burdened South African taxpayers, as well as those who are impoverished and struggling to put food on the table," said Phumzile Van Dam, the DA's member of parliament for communications, in a statement.

"We call on the public broadcaster to find new revenue streams to stay afloat instead of imposing increases to TV licenses fees. The SABC needs to find innovative measures to strengthen their collection of revenue as poor South Africans will, without doubt, be unlikely to afford increased licence fees."

"The SABC must position itself as a trustworthy and properly managed entity to encourage current TV licence holders to make payments."

"Furthermore, the broadcaster should explore purchasing content that will attract viewers – by doing so doing, they will see an increase in advertising revenue. Advertising makes out the bulk of the SABC's revenue, and an increase in advertising will surely be a boost for the SABC."

"We look forward to feedback regarding funding of the SABC – especially given the fact that the public broadcaster is still reeling from the financial consequences of well-chronicled years of mismanagement, looting and governance failures," said Phumzile van Dam.

"The public should not have to pay for the SABC’s sins through additional TV license fees. We trust that the current SABC management will prove its mettle, by steering the SABC to a profitable position."

BBC Studios creating a separate BBC Lifestyle channel feed on MultiChoice's DStv for East and West Africa from September 2019 to better target sub-Saharan African viewers.

BBC Studios has announced that it plans to create advertising opportunities on its BBC Lifestyle channel specifically for clients across sub-Saharan Africa in countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.

BBC Studios says that from 1 September 2019 advertisers in these countries will be able to reach modern female audiences through a separate BBC Lifestyle commercial feed that will broadcast across Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

"This will enable advertisers to target client needs through a combination of traditional advertising spots and tailored creative solutions," says BBC Studios.

Sales for this BBC Lifestyle feed will be managed by MultiChoice's DStv Media Sales arm on behalf of BBC Studios. Advertisers targeting South African and SADC audiences will be able to reach those upmarket audiences on the current BBC Lifestyle feed.

BBC Lifestyle is available across Sub-Saharan Africa on MultiChoice's pay-TV service for DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus and DStv Compact subscribers. 

BBC Studios says competitive cookery and entertainment series on BBC Lifestyle such as Come Dine With Me and MasterChef, aspirational design shows George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and Grand Designs, and dating show Dinner Dates have proved to have huge affinity with Kenyan and Nigerian audiences.

In the coming months, BBC Lifestyle will broadcast a number of viewer favourites such as the return of Come Dine With Me South Africa for a fifth season and a new 9th season of Dinner Dates.

These will be shown alongside the newly-commissioned First Dates South Africa and the second season of Bake Off: The Professionals.

Sarah-Jane Harling, advertising account director for Africa at BBC Studios, says "This is a significant step to offer brands the opportunity to align with BBC Lifestyle's premium global and local content and extensive reach across Sub-Saharan Africa".

"With its unique mix of entertaining programming, the channel now offers dedicated ad breaks for South Africa and Africa, and remains a very attractive environment for advertisers operating on the continent."

"It enables BBC Lifestyle to assist brands wanting to specifically reach aspirational households in South Africa as well as consumers in Sub Saharan Africa, separately."

MultiChoice declares R1.5 billion dividend for Phuthuma Nathi empowerment scheme shareholders.

MultiChoice declared a R1.5 billion dividend on Wednesday for shareholders in its Phuthuma Nathi empowerment scheme, an increase of 13.6% from 2018.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice CEO, said the pay-TV operator was "pleased to announce an increased dividend to our Phuthuma Nathi shareholders despite tough economic conditions".

According to MultiChoice the additional 5%-share allocation given to the scheme as part of MultiChoice's listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in February this year contributed to the increase in the dividend that was declared.

"The Phuthuma Nathi schemes have now been running for about 13 years and we're proud that we are able to share our success with thousands of black South Africans. The dividends are a way we can demonstrate our thanks to our shareholders for the role they have played in transforming MultiChoice South Africa," said Calvo Mawela.

"By September 2019, approximately R11.9 billion will have been paid in dividends to Phuthuma Nathi companies.

"This is another demonstration of MultiChoice's continued commitment to broad-based black
economic empowerment and to further enhance the value for Phuthuma Nathi shareholders," said Mandla Langa, chairperson of Phuthuma Nathi.

With 'less that's fresh' the technically insolvent SABC wants to increase SABC TV licence fees.

With "less that's fresh" in terms of content and viewers seeing constant repeats, old content and programmes changing timeslots and channels, the technically insolvent South African public broadcaster wants to increase SABC TV licence fees.

Appearing on Wednesday before parliament's committee for public enterprises and communication, the SABC's top executives admitted that it's stale content is leading to audience declines and that several of its biggest content suppliers have stopped giving the SABC shows and episodes because of the broadcaster's failure to pay or to stick to the payment schedule.

Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, told parliament on Wednesday that the SABC's TV audiences are declining and that "this is largely because of a lack of investment in local content. In our business audience drives revenue and when the audience numbers are low it affects revenue".

He said that the SABC's database has 9.6 million SABC TV licence fee payers but that only a measly 2.2 million people who are still bothering to pay their licence fees, with "455 000 doing it in instalment terms. As you can see the gap is quite huge".

Yolande van Biljon, SABC CFO, told parliament that the South African public broadcaster is "technically insolvent" and that it's ongoing failure to pay local production companies for content "naturally has a significant effect on our local content productions and the creative industry".

"The SABC is technically insolvent," she said. "Cash is depleted. Several of our major content providers have ceased production and they even retain content as a result of us being unable to pay them".

"We rely on these programmes to generate revenue because they attract the eyes and ears that we need. Because we can't pay, we're unable to have the content as fresh. As a result of that, advertising revenue is impacted that affects our financial sustainability."

She said that "service providers that have successfully tendered now no longer want to accept the awards. There's been an increasing demand for upfront payments. With sports rights we're unable to acquire the sports that the South African public is interested in."

Yolande van Biljon said that the SABC is "reducing our investment in content. We are also not investing in marketing as we should. The impact is ultimately that the revenue also reduces".

She explained that SABC viewers "on specific channels see these constant changes in programming and timeslots.A lot of it is as a result of the uncertainty of our financial circumstances. We couldn't invest in a specific programme and go into repeat strategies".

Despite the less fresh content, the SABC however wants viewers to pay more for their SABC TV licence fees.

"We have in the last few months investigated a possible increase in the fee and we have presented it to the department of communications and we are awaiting the outcome of that," Yolande van Biljon said.

She revealed that the SABC on average is supposed to spend R180 million per month on content investment. "We have about R60 million to R80 million for that. So R100 million of that investment cannot take place. I call it we 'preserve the cash' in order to pay salaries or to pay a specific creditor that is under pressure".

By this Friday the SABC will have only R75 million in its bank account, she said. "Effectively we need to be able to issue a notification to our creditors why we are not going into business rescue," she explained. "We are what is defined as 'financially distressed'. In terms of the Companies Act we have to issue these notifications. Or declare liquidation."

As an example of the SABC's delayed capital expenditure she said "We have to replace all the lifts in Auckland Park. That's R160 million. The lifts are 15 years past lifespan. We keep them together by making ad hoc investments and repairs and maintenance".

"On any given day there might be 3 out of 39 working in our buildings in Auckland Park," said Yolande van Biljon.

Jonathan Thekiso, the SABC's HR boss, said that the SABC's bloated personnel number is falling due to a block on hiring new staff. As people are resigning and retiring, the staff count has dropped from 3 200 in February 2019 to 3 083 by June 2019.

Yolande van Biljon said the SABC wants to get back to building up a content inventory instead of making and receiving a programme one day and broadcasting it the next. "We want to build up a little bit of content investment, bring stability, finalise our schedule for a 2-year period [in advance] so that you can give your advertisers comfort in terms of stability".

"The investment they make in our world is also impacted when we move programmes around or move it between SABC channels.

MultiChoice Africa announces the 59 students from across sub-Sahara Africa who will attend the 2nd year of its MultiChoice Talent Factory film academy for 2019/2020.

MultiChoice Africa announced the 59 names of students who were selected to attend the 2nd one-year internship of its MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), the pay-TV operator's film academy that it will be running for another year from three regional hubs in Southern Africa, East Africa and West Africa.

The 59 students will start their 12-month film academy training programme at the MultiChoice Talent Factory academies in Lusaka, Zambia, in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as in Lagos, Nigeria from October 2019 for the next class.

The three regional academy hubs that started in 2018 as a new film academy initiative to upskill and educate young film creatives, continue to be run and overseen by the three academy directors Berry Lwando (Southern Africa), Njoki Muhoho (East Africa) and Femi Odugbemi (West Africa).

Cheryl Uys-Allie remains as MultiChoice Talent Factory director.

The Pan-Atlantic University in Lekki, Kenyatta University in Nairobi, and the University of Zambia in Lusaka will respectively confer the course qualification when students complete the academy programme.

"As one of the few industry players that not only tell African stories but also invest in them, the need for a dynamic training programme such as the MultiChoice Talent Factory academy has been a long time coming," says Cheryl Uys-Allie.

"As MultiChoice Africa, we always ask ourselves: what's next in the industry, and how can we better prepare for it? The MultiChoice Talent Factory academy was the answer to that question: By giving young Africans the chance to hone their television and film production skills."

As the new class of 2019 get ready to start their year-long course, the graduating class of 2018 who are ready to graduate are getting ready to have their first films screened on M-Net channels across sub-Sahara Africa on DStv, as well as on MultiChoice's subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, Showmax.

The MultiChoice Talent Factory is also growing its relationships with the international film and TV industry, like the already-announced partnership with the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA), as well as Jasco Broadcast Solutions, Nihilent with its connection to Bollywood, and the DOLBY Institute and Universal Music Nigeria (UMG).

As part of their curriculum the 59 new students will also attend MultiChoice Talent Factory masterclasses with practical, expert-led industry skills workshops across 13 African countries.

Here are the 59 students selected for the MultiChoice Talent Factory class of 2019:

Yoseph Baye (Ethiopia)
Audrey Seme (Tanzania)
Kefa Igilo (Tanzania)
Philipo Ngonyani (Tanzania)
Priscilla Narealle (Tanzania)
Brian Ontiri (Kenya)
Christine Wanjiku (Kenya)
Fridah Naliaka (Kenya)
Hanigun Kwenya (Kenya)
Joshua Wango (Kenya)
Milanoi Lenaiyasa (Kenya)
Moses Irungu (Kenya)
Anthony Wanyonyi (Kenya)
Faith Elizabeth (Kenya)
Maurice Muendo (Kenya)
Sally Ngoiri (Kenya)
Daisy Masembe (Uganda)
Isiko Abubaker (Uganda)
Victoria Nakimbowa (Uganda)
Talemwa Pius (Uganda)
Abel Ngoma (Zambia)
Cosmas Ng'andwe (Zambia)
Masuzyo Mwale (Zambia)
Edward Sakala (Zambia)
Kaluba Margret Musonda Mayowe (Zambia)
Tasha Chitika (Zambia)
Christine Mulemeli (Zambia)
Nkosilesisa Ncube (Zimbabwe)
Nelson Madzima (Zimbabwe)
Maira Armanda Isaias Tauacale (Mozambique)
Amarilis Felimao Gule (Mozambique)
Mphatso Makamo (Malawi)
Riejhaat Wolhuter (Namibia)
Humbuhumbu Ngava (Namibia)
Hilma Sheehama (Namibia)
Masego Mohwasa (Botswana)
Lorato Orapeleng (Botswana)
Paulo Idalecio da Silva Joao (Angola)
Adriano Vunda Dizongo (Angola)
Gloria Akor (Nigeria)
Adebowale Lipede (Nigeria)
Julie Ako (Nigeria)
Funmilayo Okonta (Nigeria)
Chioma Paul Dike (Nigeria)
Gbenga Gomes (Nigeria)
Nwaozuzu Amarchi (Nigeria)
Chinyere Ohuonu (Nigeria)
Deborah Omikunle (Nigeria)
Timayo Ogunro (Nigeria)
Igho Arusi (Nigeria)
Orire Nwani (Nigeria)
Godfred Dela Duvi (Ghana)
Christine Boateng (Ghana)
Daphne Atsutse (Ghana)
Abisola Aboaba (Nigeria)
Joshua Tsotso (Nigeria)
Chike Igwebuike (Nigeria)
Esther Akapo (Nigeria)
Eric Kafui Okyerefo (Ghana)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

How a 7de Laan producer and Isidingo writer helped to save Oprah.

A 7de Laan producer and an Isidingo writer have helped to save Oprah.

After a man in Centurion heard a faint noise last Saturday and investigated, Lucius Fred discovered a newborn baby in a plastic shopping bag when he decided to investigate and found the child in a bloody bag with her umbilical cord, according to reports.

He thought the baby was dead but immediately called his employers Allyzander Fourie, a writer on the SABC3 soap Isidingo, and Roelien Spruyt, a producer of the SABC2 soap 7de Laan. They also thought the baby was already dead when they arrived on the scene but then Roelien Spruyt heard a noise - the baby was still alive.

Roelien told Rapport newspaper that she opened the bag again and pressed the baby against her, summoning the neighbourhood watch and a paramedic with an ambulance from Kalafong who gave the baby an oxygen mask before taking her to hospital.

The baby has been named Oprah, after Oprah Winfrey, "because she's a miracle" said Roelien Spruyt.

"I hope that one day she can attend the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Hopefully she can walk and one day ask 'do you have a little place for me?"

According to statistics more than 3 000 babies are abandoned annually in South Africa by their mothers and left for dead with the most who don't survive.

Roelien told eNuus "that I just saw this little face in the darkness. In this bag. With these small little fists. And all the way I said 'Just don't die. Don't die.' "

"Because she didn't have a name I wanted to give her a strong name. There are several people who would now like to adopt her".

Wesgro film promotion boss Monica Rorvik says festival synergy with kykNET's Silwerskermfees continues to help the film industry grow and with local job creation.

Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, was once again a part of M-Net's 9th kykNET Silwerskermfees, with Monica Rorvik, the head of Wesgro's film and media promotion unit, who says that its collaboration with the film festival continues to help grow the film industry and with local job creation.

"The Silwerskermfees has invited the team at Wesgro for the last few years to attend the festival as guests, in order to observe, and take meetings with industry," says Monica Rorvik.

This year's 4-day Afrikaans film festival was the biggest one yet with the Silwerskermfees that lured film and TV executives, filmmakers and producers, actors, the media, film support services and writers from across South Africa and Southern Africa - including many who don't speak Afrikaans.

"Its been a great place for Wesgro to stimulate industry – from taking meetings with top producers coming here to scout; to watch master classes - Zev Foreman's class is online and still give fantastic insights to the American model) - to meeting local filmmakers needing some advice on how to grow their business," says Monica Rorvik.

"Thus, when the opportunity to assist the festival to grow their footprint came through earlier this year, the team jumped to make it happen," she said.

"The synergy between our Wesgro-organised and First National Bank (FNB)/Rand Merchant Bank (RMB)-hosted annual finance workshop, seemed to be the place to link-up."

"The finance workshop, over these last 4 years, had outgrown the premises at the FNB Port Side House and we were oversubscribed."

"This year we were able to host 400 people to listen to 3 hours of well-paced talks, and followed by 2 hours of curated 'hot desks' for in-depth questions for the speakers," says Monica Rorvik.

"M-Net gave 3 hot-tables of executives, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), and our legal, packaging and finance experts each had one table."

"My colleague Lisa Mini and I are hopeful that this sort of festival industry synergy can continue and develop companies’ growth and local job," says Monica Rorvik.

In his opening speech kicking off this year's film festival, JP Smith, Cape Town mayoral committee member representing the city’s film events team, said that in the last 9 months Cape Town's film office received 11 726 film bookings, compared to 11 350 for the comparative, preceding time.

 “Of those the film office issued 6 902 permits for a variety of locations around the city so this industry is steadily growing year on year," JP Smith said. “What we do need now is more places for you to shoot and we’re hard at work at creating additional facilities for you.” 

ALSO READ: 4 takeaways from kykNET's 9th Silwerskermfees Afrikaans film festival.
ALSO READ: IN IMAGES. 28 photos of kykNET's 2019 9th Silwerskermfees Afrikaans festival held at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, Cape Town.
ALSO READ: kykNET announces short film nominees for 9th Silwerskermfees with Die Begrafnis in the lead followed by Gebles and Oedipus Die Musical.
ALSO READ: kykNET announces feature film nominees for 9th Silwerskermfees. 

Reaction from the public and media fraternity following death of eNCA news boss Ben Said: 'His powerful presence in the newsroom will be missed but never what he's taught us'.

Reaction kept pouring in following the tragic, shocking and unexpected death of eNCA's (DStv 403) news boss Ben Said who drowned in a tragic accident in Mozambique on Monday afternoon whilst on holiday:

Philip Owira said "I worked under the leadership and guidance of Ben Said for over a decade. In South Africa he always allowed me to push the boundaries in terms of story telling. He gave our small eNews Late Edition team in Cape Town the freedom to produce a bulletin in an unconventional way."

Mpho Lakaje said "I can't believe my former editor at eNCA Ben Said has passed on. What an amazing journalist and human being. Rest In Peace my dear brother."

Sharon Ogunleye said "I worked with your team for a short while. You never said no to any of my story ideas. You were a quiet man but you made a huge impact.I was inspired each time you went to the field. Your writing style always amazed me."

Johnnie Isaac said "We had the management of Patrick Conroy, Ben Said, Mapi Mahlangu and others. We feared Patrick for his no-nonsense approach and found refuge in Ben's gentleness."

Samora Biko said "I would never forget the name Ben Said. I worked with him in our early years at at the time. A gentle giant. Soft spoken yet loud. It’s an absolute devastation what I hear and may your family find peace. RIP brother."

Robyn Kriel said "Devastated to hear about my former boss and friend Ben Said's passing. His poor family. What a wonderful guy".

Gaopalelwe Ditinti said "I met him a couple of years ago with my sister who was at Juta buying textbooks. Ben Said was outside with an eNCA or eNews camera and mic. A kid recognised his and yelled 'Ben Said, eNews, Pretoria!' He smiled from ear to ear and was nice to everyone who greeted him".

Simon Stephens said "I wept at the news then broke it" and that Ben Said "was over my shoulder in the control room on Friday and we laughed about something. His clubs are in my garage. Awful day".

Shahan Ramikissoon said "Ben Said will forever be someone I look up to for his fearless, outstanding journalism. His powerful presence in our newsroom will be missed but we will never forget everything he's taught us".

Narissa Subramoney said "Ben Said told me I would have to fight for my ideas because TV is cutthroat and everyone thinks their ideas are better. I replied that I would be in his office, fighting daily. He said his door is always open. He was fair in an unfair world and kind in a cutthroat industry".

Karyn Maughan said "Ben Said persuaded eNCA to hire me when I was a punky-looking newspaper reporter with black and pink hair and terrible dress sense. He was an incredible, thoughtful journalist and a great boss. I am devastated by his passing, and my heart breaks for his family. This is beyond sad".

Louis Oelofse said "I'm not sure what an immense impact Ben Said has had on my life" and that he and Ben Said the last few months often spoke about his plans for eNCA. "Ben was friendly, inspiring, a voice of reason with a dry sense of humour. Hy was my friend and one of the good guys."

Samkele Maseko said "Farewell Ben Said. You were a great listener, gave direction and provided leadership. You always gave constructive criticism on one's packages. You will be missed".

Iman Rappetti said "Ben, my darling, I'll always love you. My heart can't deal."

Hopewell Chin'ono said "I'm gutted to hear of the tragic passing of my friend and journalism colleague Ben Said. We worked together on many big stories under the most difficult of circumstances but his laughter always broke the ice when there was fear".

Derek van Dam said "I'm so saddened to hear this news of the passing of a great colleague, excellent journalist and wonderful mentor during my time at eNCA in South Africa. He will be missed. Rest in peace Ben Said".

Twanji Kalula said "Ben Said intimidated the hell out of me when I joined eMedia as a young media person. I thought he was so smart and talented, and wanted to be in the same league someday".

Paula Slier said that she's "shocked and deeply saddened to hear the tragic news about Ben Said's passing. I saw Ben during my last trip to South Africa a few weeks ago and was reminded again of what a perfect gentleman and outstanding journalist he is - and will always be remembered as".

Kieran Burke said "Heartbroken. We've lost an immense person. Ben Said, I count myself lucky to have known you. Rest well my friend, until we meet again".

Chriselda Lewis said "As a media practitioner, I am very sad to hear this. We all had great respect for Ben".

Peter Ndoro said "so sorry to hear this very sad news. What a loss. My deepest condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with your whole family".

Chris Bishop said "One of the best. Ben I shall never forget you, nor your passion for the job".

Marcelle Gordon said "Ben was just beginning to rev those journalistic engines in his new gig at eNCA and he was happy to be home. What a tragic loss".

Robin Adams said "My heart is so sore".

The South African government in a statement on Tuesday said that it "conveys its deepest condolences to the family and friends on the passing away of journalist and eNCA director of news, Ben Said".

"The death of a journalist of Ben Said's calibre makes the media profession poorer," said government spokesperson Phumla Williams. "The industry, and in particular journalists, plays a critical role in shaping public discourse, equipping citizens with information, and strengthening the country's democracy."

The TRT World news channel in Turkey in a statement on Tuesday said that "the news of Ben Said's death has brought immense sadness to the entire TRT World family. Ben Said was an excellent journalist and has inspired many of us who had the honour of working with him here at TRT World. He played an essential role in shaping the channel".

Riyaad Minty said "Ben Said was a fantastic journalist who always had time to pass on his knowledge to younger people in the newsroom."

Mapi Mhlangu said "I'm devastated. Ben Said was a brilliant television journalist and a perfect gentleman. He was group news editor when I served as head of assignments. I used to assign him and just marvel at his craft.Who can forget the Marikana story told through vide footage?"

Bongiwe Zwane said "What a boss! The best manager I have ever worked for. After Jeremy Maggs recommended me for a reporter position, Ben Said took a chance and hired me. The rol you played in shaping my career is immense. Broadcast journalism is poorer without Ben".

Annika Larsen said "You were so decent. Infuriatingly principled at times. There's a song playing on the radio right now 'Lean on me'. Sometimes in our lives we all need someone to lean on. We leaned on you. Thank you".

Simon Marks said "Waking up in the United States to learn of the tragic death of Ben Said, veteran of both eNCA and TRT World. A good friend to all at FSN, we'll greatly miss his wisdom, advice and untrammelled enthusiasm for great stories. An enormous loss to his family, his friends and the industry".

Luyanda Maone said "I worked with him at eNews for 3 years - principled, kind, thorough and very soft-spoken. The world is a poorer place without him in it."

Kungawo Inga said " 'Ben Said, eNews, Johannesburg.' I grew up loving that line. I'd even wait tilthe end of a clip and say it together with him! He was the man who inspired me to fall in love with and study journalism".

Melanie Rice said "It's not surprising to see how many lives Ben Said touched and how many young journalists he mentored. It's devastating to realise how many more lives he would have changed through his leadership. His death is a huge loss."

Cathy Mohlahlana from Newzroom Afrika said "What a tremendous loss to broadcast journalism. Ben was my manager and the one who recruited me to eNCA. He convinced me to give TV a try. Condolences to his family. We will never forget him".

Patrick Conroy said "Devastated at the passing of my friend for 30 years. From students to radio and then TV. I can't imagine working in media without you Ben. All the achievements would not have been possible without you my friend. You contributed so much to this country. We will miss you greatly."

More tributes and thoughts to follow ...

Deep shock after eNCA news boss Ben Said dies following drowning accident Monday afternoon in Mozambique.

eNCA's new news boss Ben Said (45) who recently returned from Turkey to head up the South African TV news channel has died after a tragic drowning accident on Monday afternoon whilst on vacation with his family in Mozambique.

"It is with devastation shock and deep sorrow that eNCA announces that the channel’s director of news," eNCA says in a statement.

"Ben Said drowned while on holiday with his family in Mozambique on Monday afternoon. Ben had recently returned to South Africa from TRT World in Turkey and had re-joined the senior management team at eNCA."

eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs says "Ben was one of the country's best television journalists and his loss to the station is immense. Having just re-joined the station he was already making his presence felt across all aspects of the business. We are all in deep shock."

"eMedia investments extends its sincerest condolences to his wife Nicky and his daughters Lily and Bella."

On Tuesday morning, Ben Said's brother Nick wrote on Facebook: "It is with unbelievable sadness that I confirm my beloved brother Ben Said passed away suddenly while on holiday in Mozambique. Our family is devastated, and our hearts bleed for Nikki and the girls. We have lost a wonderful man. We will let you know about funeral arrangements in due course."

Nick in an interview with the Cape Talk radio station said that Ben Said was supposed to go snorkelling with two friends after the family and friends played cricket on the beach but then said that he wasn't feeling well. The two proceeded and left Ben who was knee-deep in the water. 

When they returned they found him dead in the water where he likely collapsed.

The South African government in a statement on Tuesday said that it "conveys its deepest condolences to the family and friends on the passing away of journalist and eNCA director of news, Ben Said".

"The death of a journalist of Ben Said's calibre makes the media profession poorer," said government spokesperson Phumla Williams. "The industry, and in particular journalists, plays a critical role in shaping public discourse, equipping citizens with information, and strengthening the country's democracy."

"The government extends heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ben Said."

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) in a statement said that "SANEF is deeply saddened by this loss to the media industry and we send our deepest condolences to his wife Nicky and his daughters Lily and Bella as well as his family, friends and colleagues across the media industry".

Ben Said rejoined eNCA in July this year, responsible for editorial output.

Ben Said left eNCA at the end of 2015 to join TRT World (Cell C black 508), the English TV news channel start-up from broadcaster TRT in Turkey as news executive producer.

After three and a half years in Istanbul, Ben Said returned to South Africa and eNCA after he joined as a producer in 2000 long before eNCA, formerly the eNews Channel, existed, and just started its eNews brand doing news bulletins for

Ben Said became a senior reporter covering a large number of stories for eNews on and was eventually appointed group news editor at eNCA. Throughout his first 15 year career at and later eNCA and although moving into a news management position he kept appearing from time to time to report on-air and to give analysis.

ALSO READ: Reaction from the public and media fraternity following death of eNCA news boss Ben Said: 'His powerful presence in the newsroom will be missed but never what he's taught us'.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Steve Harvey to produce a Family Feud South Africa and Family Feud Ghana version to broadcast from early-2020 in Africa produced by Rapid Blue.

The American entertainer Steve Harvey on Monday announced that he will be producing and hosting both a Family Feud South Africa and Family Feud Ghana version that will start broadcasting in Africa from early-2020, produced by Rapid Blue.

Steve Harvey is on a Southern Africa tour and last week visited Botswana where he promised to invest in that country's TV industry.

He's now travelled to South Africa and announced at a press conference on Monday in Johannesburg that he will be presenting Family Feud SA and a Family Feud Ghana version with South African and Ghanaian families, that is planned to debut in the first quarter of 2020.

The South African and Ghana broadcast partners are not yet known.

In Family Feud, a show that Steve Harvey started hosting in 2010 in the United States, two families compete to name the correct responses from a group of people to survey questions as they attempt to win prizes with what the most general answer was.

Steve Harvey isn't really known to South African and Africa viewers. A few seasons of his now-cancelled Steve Harvey Show talk show was first broadcast since 2012 on M-Net's M-Net Series channel after which it also started on SABC1 with M-Net moving it to Mzansi Magic from 2013.

Steve Harvey is most recognised for the implosion of his image when he made the big mistake and then went underground after he announcing the then-Miss Colombia 2016 as the winner of the Miss Universe pageant and struggled to correct it.

Family Feud South Africa will be filmed in South Africa. It's not known whether the Ghana version will be filmed in South Africa or Ghana.

The show has been seen in 50 international markets outside of the United States and will now include South Africa with Family Feud SA and Family Feud Ghana which will be the first localised African versions.

In a deal with Fremantle, Steve Harvey’s media company Steve Harvey Global acquired the format licensing rights for a South African and Ghana version of Family Feud with the South African production company Rapid Blue that will be producing it.

"Bringing Family Feud to Africa has long been a dream of mine," says Steve Harvey in a statement."I believe Family Feud will become a household name for local South African and Ghanaian families. And this is just the beginning in Africa. I expect this show to lead to multiple media and business projects in and throughout the continent."

Duncan Irvine, Rapid Blue CEO, says "Family is the cornerstone of life in South Africa and Ghana, and we are confident that we will see some wonderful families take part and that both seasons will resonate well with audiences here".

"We're planning additional projects with Steve Harvey and his team for viewers here in Africa."

The local version of Family Feud South Africa will start production in Johannesburg in the last quarter of 2019 by Rapid Blue that is part of the BBC Studios international family of production companies and works on BBC Studios Africa productions and produces shows like The Bachelor South Africa for M-Net.

The Family Feud Africa business deal was negotiated and executed by Anahita Kheder, Fremantle's senior vice president for sales and distribution for the Middle East, Africa and South Eastern Europe region; and Brandon R Williams, Steve Harvey Global's chief operating officer (COO) and chief legal officer.

"We have a longstanding relationship with Steve Harvey and once we heard about his dream of taking our iconic format to Africa, we partnered to make it a reality," says Anahita Kheder.

"Rapid Blue has been our trusted producers across the region for many years, so it made sense to join them up with Steve Harvey Global to make the local African versions of Family Feud."

Three dozen MultiChoice staffers protest on Monday as 'historic strike' of ICTU fizzles out; workers issued disciplinary notices.

Only about three dozen striking MultiChoice call centre staffers pitched on Monday for a public protest at MultiChoice City at the pay-TV operator's headquarters in Randburg, Johannesburg on the second day of a strike that the Information Communication Technology Union (ICTU) on Thursday last week warned would be a "historic strike".

Monday's fizzled out protest followed after Friday's strike action that saw tyres being burnt, the police called, extra security guards being deployed and the gates that were locked as MultiChoice call centre staffers embarked on an unexpected and unprotected strike.

The ICTU on Monday in a statement said that striking workers have been issued with disciplinary notices.

In June 2019 MultiChoice announced that it was planning to fire up to 2 194 of its workers as part of a massive retrenchment plan to get rid of thousands of staffers in its call centre division and walk-in centres because the Randburg-based pay-TV operator is restructuring its "customer service delivery model".

MultiChoice at the time said the "realignment" had to be made because of the "changing behaviour of customers, who are increasingly moving away from traditional voice calls and visits to Walk-in Centres and adopting new self-service and digital technologies to engage with the company".

On Friday the ITCU in a statement slammed MultiChoice after workers went on strike, saying in a statement that the strike would continue on Monday and that "today, 23 August MultiChoice South Africa has deployed a lunatic, charlatan of the highest order Nonhlanhla Sibanda, to intimidate and harass workers and tell them that they will be dismissed with immediate effect if they join the strike".

MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry said that "MultiChoice is disappointed at the call for a strike by the ICTU".

SABC sports anchor and analyst David Kekana dies in hospital at 47 after long battle with diabetes.

The SABC sports analyst and anchor David Kekana has died. He was 47.

David Kekana who worked for the SABC for 18 years died on Sunday after two weeks of being hospitalised after a long battle with chronic diabetes.

David Kekana's family confirmed his death in a statement on Monday saying that the father of two was admitted to the Milpark Hospital on 13 August and died on Sunday 25 August 2019.

"We wish to thank the medical team that attended to him for their medical interventions and unwavering support during David’s stay in hospital. David Kekana is survived by his mother, sister, father and two daughters," the family spokesperson said.

David Kekana was a mathematics and English teacher at the JS Mpanza Primary School in Diepkloof before he branched out and ventured into a journalism career.

He became a reporter at The Sunday Times newspaper in 1999 and did sports commentary for Primedia and SuperSport. He joined SABC Sport as a sports analyst in 2001.

The SABC in a statement on Monday morning said that the South African public broadcaster "conveys its condolences to the Kekana family" with David Kekana's "journey with the organisation that commenced in 2000 at SABC Sport, where he started as a football analyst and scriptwriter on Soccerzone".

"He later joined the Soccer 411 and Sport@10 teams as a journalist. On SABC1's Laduma he formed part of the analysis team and on occasion, he was touchline presenter on the field."

"David Kekana formed an integral part of the SABC Sport team as a researcher and script writer for various productions, including the FIFA World Cup tournaments, the Olympics, All Africa Games and the Africa Cup of Nations."

"He possessed great knowledge of the sport and his passion for the game made him one of the greatest South African soccer pundits. David Kekana was a hard worker and a passionate team player and he will be sorely missed by his colleagues at SABC Sport, the SABC at large and the sporting fraternity."

Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa's minister of sports, said "Today we woke up to devastating news of the passing of veteran football analyst, David Kekana. His contribution to football analysis spans close to 2 decades and his commitment to sports development will be sorely missed".

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Disney's Frozen 2 releasing 22 November will reveal that the past isn't what you thought it was.

The worldwide public couldn't let it go, making the animation film Frozen the 15th highest grossing film of all time, so when the sequel is released on 22 November the story will reveal that "the past is not what it seems".

The upcoming sequel that is set 3 years after the 2013-original and that will likely surpass the box office take of the original, will once again feature Elsa, her sister Anna, Kristoff, Sven and the snowman Olaf who this time all go on a new journey beyond their homeland of Arendelle in order to discover the origin of Elsa's magic powers.

At Disney's D23 Expo this past weekend but not yet released online some new clips of Frozen 2 were shown, with Disney Africa that also showed some of it this past Tuesday to the media at its annual upfront for its 2019/2020 content showcase.

Key is the phrase "The past is not what it seems".

Frozen 2 will answer all of the unanswered questions left from the original,

At the D23 Expo during the Frozen 2 presentation, the film's co-director Jennifer Lee said the sequel will explore questions like "Why was Anna born the way she was? Where were their parents really going when that ship went down? And is there really such a thing as happily ever after?

The other co-director Chris Buck said that Frozen 2 revolves around "a past that wasn't what it seems, a past that could threaten the future of Arendelle, a past that leads our gang to an enchanted forest".

"It's a story that starts in the past. In these Disney films, we tend to kill off the parents. Well, we're bringing them back."

About the enchanted forest that the group soon finds themselves in, Chris Buck said that it's "a place of transformation where change comes for you whether you like it or not. Relationships are tested, everything you thought you knew proves to be wrong, powers that were once too strong for the world are suddenly not enough, and it's easy to get lost."

"We can't tell you whether they solve the mystery of the past or whether Elsa ever finds the answers about her powers, but we can tell you that Frozen 2 is even bigger and more epic, but most importantly, in the end Frozen 1 and Frozen 2 work together to form one complete story."

The Walt Disney Animation Studios produced film will start off in the past with a prologue and the flashback will feature the mother of the princesses, Queen Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood) singing to her two young daughters to help them fall asleep.

The sequel will have 7 new, original songs, including an ensemble number with Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Kristoff. There will also be a big power-ballad called that will be the film's version of "Let It Go".

Struggling Econet puts its shuttered and debt-riddled Econet Media and Kwesé up for sale in 29 countries including its 20%-stake in South Africa's new free-to-air Kwesé Free TV licensed venture.

Zimbabwe's struggling Econet Wireless Ltd. - that has seen its ambitious pay-TV business Kwesé TV implode under a mountain of debt with services ranging from its abruptly shuttered Kwesé Play streaming service to TV channels like Kwesé Play Free Sports go dark - has put up a "for sale" sign for Econet Media for all of its businesses across Southern Africa and Dubai.

Interestingly this includes its 20%-stake in Kwesé Free TV, the free-to-air, commercial TV station that got a licence from South Africa's broadcasting regulator earlier this year to start a new bouquet of freely available TV channels in South Africa.

It's not clear how the sale and proposed sale of Econet's stake in Kwesé Free TV will affect its TV licence, with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) that has done nothing so far to investigate and re-interrogate the granted licence given the changing conditions of ownership under which the original licence was granted.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that Econet is now offering up its Econet Media unit, housing the damaged Kwesé brands, for sale.

Ernst & Young Ltd. ran a full-page newspaper advertisement, saying that it will oversee offers for all or part of the company's shareholdings in 29 businesses in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mauritius, Ghana, Kenya and Dubai.

It remains to be seen whether companies and rivals operating in South Africa, ranging from the MultiChoice Group, M-Net, and Netflix, to China's StarTimes, telecom operators like Vodacom and MTN or other players might be interested in any of the severely reputation-damaged Econet Media debt-mess.

The shutdown of the embattled Econet's business ventures keeps rippling as it abruptly shuttered its whole Econet Media division which included Kwesé iflix as latest victim.

The debt-laden Econet that has not paid retrenched staffers their severance money and told them it doesn't know when it will be able to, has seen its Kwese TV pay-TV division abruptly shut down and placed into liquidation, its TV channels like Kwesé Free Sports abruptly go dark and off air without warning, and its Kwesé Play streaming service and Roku-device terminated.

Now Econet,owned by the Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa, has been forced to shut down its entire Econet Media subsidiary where Joseph Hundah has been Econet Media CEO and that racked up more than $130 million in debt in content costs including expensive sports rights and other services.

Econet has said nothing about its alleged bad management, rapid and aggressive expansion plans and cash splurges, bad and often non-existent customer care and foolish content acquisition strategies that were all self-inflicted damage that led to Econet Media's downfall and implosion.

Econet said in July that its beleaguered pay-TV and TV business struggled to compete with China's StarTimes and MultiChoice's DStv.

Meanwhile several current and former South African workers of Econet who are enduring living hell but who were once "promised heaven" if they join Kwesé TV, showed TVwithThinus correspondence of them not having been paid their severance packages after being retrenched and Econet executives telling them that there isn't money and that they can't give answers as to when they will be paid.

4 takeaways from kykNET's 9th Silwerskermfees Afrikaans film festival.

It's not quite Cannes - but it isn't trying to be.

Again taking place as in previous years on the other side of Victoria Road at Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town, kykNET's just-concluded 9th Silwerskermfees Afrikaans film festival for 2019 was the biggest one yet.

The 4-day Silwerskermfees, or Silverscreen festival, continues to grow as the African continent's only film festival organised by M-Net's Afrikaans channels division, dedicated to promoting and celebrating Afrikaans language film and its industry in South Africa.

Beyond specifically supporting Afrikaans, the Silwerskermfees has grown to become an inclusive umbrella film festival helping filmmakers and producers, on-screen talent, writers, industry executives and a wide variety of people employed in the film and TV production and related services value chain to connect, attend master-classes, and to workshop and learn more from panel discussions on a wide range of industry topics.

"Right from the start, kykNET had a long-term vision with this special project. The Silwerskermfees' focus has been, and will always be, the South African and Afrikaans film industry," said Karen Meiring, director of kykNET channels at M-Net.

"The festival has generated positive energy and results, organically growing in size and influence. This year the festival spread its wings even further with screenings opened to the general public in the Theatre on the Bay and the Labia, inviting film enthusiasts to become part of the experience."

"Afrikaans films and content have huge potential internationally because it is authentic and represents a diverse South African community in a unique African language. There is a great need to watch each other's work, to learn from each other and through this to grow," said Karen Meiring.

Jan du Plessis, director of M-Net channels said "the kykNET Silwerskermfees was a risk 9 years ago - as is every original film and TV project that M-Net gets involved it. But it has always been our mission to give a platform to creative talent - in front and behind the camera".

Here are 4 important takeaways from kykNET's 9th Silwerskermfees 2019 edition:

1. Making films but minding the money
"There's a growing recognition, awareness and focus under filmmakers to think of what will be happening to their film from the time they're envisioning and planning it, writing it, pitching it, producing it and marketing it," Jan du Plessis told TVwithThinus at the festival.

"It has always been a case of something being a 'passion project', then we show it to the world, and it hits or it doesn't. If you look at this year's Silwerskermfees there are a lot more projects based on things like books or real-life stories [Fiela se Kind, Toorbos, Griekwastad, Poppie Nongena, Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer]."

"In order words, you hope to enter the film and consumer market with some type of awareness or a built-in audience or an appeal, which a film without it wouldn't necessarily have had."

"It's very interesting for me that when we start the pitching process, we immediately start by asking the person: 'For which market, which channel, where would you place and play it, what are comparative titles?'"

"And then we go back to the person and say 'You mentioned these 10 titles saying your films is almost like them. Do you realise they performed like this at the box office - and it's likely not a lot - or it made this at DStv BoxOffice on TVOD, and these 10 films you mentioned have never been sold internationally.' Then we look at the budget and then we look at whether it's making business sense."

"If you look at the Silwerskermfees films, they're films that have a commercial approach for an international market."

"We have to start to ensure that our film budgets and marketing plans accurately represent the potential of the film, instead of just blindly making something."

"It's important to always still produce passion projects and to believe in certain stories to make it to film. I'm not saying we should stop doing that. But ensure there are enough hooks."

"And in terms of casting - who are the talent putting bums in cinema seats? Who are the actors who are big stars in soaps or who feature big here, or who feature big there? Ensure your film has angles," said Jan du Plessis.

2. A shift to a bigger business focus awareness under filmmakers
"The Silwerskermfees this year, the biggest thing I've noticed at the film festival is the shift towards a business-focus format in terms of bringing in an awareness of all of the business and strategy side that filmmakers need to put in place whether you're producing short films, features or documentaries," Shaamila Fataar, senior specialist for Showmax Originals, told TVwithThinus at the festival.

"The highlight for me at this year's Silwerskermfees was the film finance event with Wesgro and bringing in all of these different players from the banking sector to a broadcaster, an entertainment law legal firm - all sharing their knowledge and explaining to filmmakers and creatives that your movie is not just a content piece, it's not just a work of creativity, it's also a work of financial value."

"I think this is the cusp of a new generation of filmmakers who are going to be producing content with a financial model in mind, and not just for the sake of creating art," said Shaamila Fataar. "It's blending the two together."

3. A strong focus on remarkable women in front of and behind-the-scenes, as well as subject matter.
The debut feature films at the 2019 Silwerskermfees were true South African stories, beautifully told, with a focus on remarkable women.

Elsa Joubert's Poppie Nongena swept the award ceremony with 12 wins including for best feature film, while Racheltjie de Beer and Dalene Matthee's Fiela Komoetie came to life in a new 2019-version.

Two female directors, Jenna Bass [Flatland] and Rene van Rooyen [Toorbos] were at the helm of two of the films.

4. The celebration of non-Afrikaans speaking, black film talent
The big winner(s) at the 9th Silwerskermfees were not what South Africa would traditionally expect from an Afrikaans film festival. Instead of accolades for predominantly white Afrikaans mother-tongue talent, prize after prize at the 2019 festival went to non-Afrikaans speaking, black talent.

It reflects the progressive and extremely diverse nature of what kykNET's Silwerskermfees has become, which has expanded to become one of the most inclusive annual film festivals in South Africa.

The win of Poppie Nongena as 2019's best feature film - a harrowing depiction of the brutality and injustice of South Africa's apartheid system and reflecting the courage and fortitude of people in the face of hardship and difficulty - was accentuated by the recognition given to non-Afrikaans speaking talent who cleaned up across categories.

Clementine Mosimane won for Best actress, Chris Gxalaba won Best supporting actor, and Nomsa Nene won best supporting actress, with several more awards going to Poppie Nongena (12 in total, the most ever for a single film).

In addition, several other films and their on-screen and production talent scooped category wins at the Silwerskermfees - people who work in the industry and worked on Afrikaans films but who don't speak a word of Afrikaans.

ALSO READ: IN IMAGES. 28 photos of kykNET's 2019 9th Silwerskermfees Afrikaans festival held at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, Cape Town.