Film festival expected to boost local film industry

The O.R Tambo Film Festival, themed “Exploring the African Narrative,” will take place from March 29 to 31 at the Nelson Mandela Museum and Mayfair Events Centre in Mthatha. With the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs, and Tourism’s (DEDEAT) Stimulus Fund, the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC) is funding this three-day film festival.

The main goal of the Film Festival, according to its organisers, is to draw more local and foreign film productions to the O.R. Tambo District of the Eastern Cape in order to take advantage of the untapped potential of the area’s stunning locations and showcase its diversity.

The Mhlobo Wenene radio personality Mafa Bavuma will serve as the program director, and the film festival will get underway at 6pm on March 29. According to Festival Director Luzuko Dilima, the opening night will be an a “hype of activity,” complete with a red carpet, traditional dancers, and a marimba group.

The film Ingoma – The Song will be shown on opening night, followed by a Q&A session and a networking session. Dilima announced that Bakwena Productions’ producer Rashaka Muofhe and actor-director Kagiso Modupe would be present. The outstanding films Losing Lerato and Thando were produced by Bakwena Productions.

The second day of the festival will feature panel discussions on script writing and indigenous languages led by Nompumezo Buzani, a writer, actress, and author who currently plays Anathi’s grandmother on Gqeberha: The Empire. Moreover, Muofhe and Modupe will lead master classes in producing and directing, respectively.

The Mayfair Events Centre will host the second day’s film screenings, featuring regional student films, short films, and documentaries.

On day three, Lonalinamandla Bawuti, who plays Nobom Mxenge on Gqeberha: The Empire, will lead an acting workshop. Sessions with funding stakeholders will also be held.

“The O.R Tambo Film Forum has among others facilitated students and aspiring filmmakers from the five local municipalities to attend and acquire the much-needed knowledge and information to build the film sector from their own respective areas where they can better reflect and hopefully develop their own new projects,” said Dilima.

Considering that many potential South African viewers do not have access to cinemas, the Film Festival is anticipated to give filmmakers the chance to expand their distribution options. Additionally, it is claimed to offer essential networking opportunities for those working in the film industry.

People are urged to visit the O.R. Tambo Film Festival Facebook Page or the website for registration and further details.