Young, up-and-coming director and cinematographer, Benitha Vlok, has been announced as the overall winner of the inaugural Cinema Nouveau The Short Film Project, for her short film titled Fortabt (Danish for “Loss of Love”). Her film was one of ten shortlisted from the more than 120 entries that were received in the first year of this competition.
The Audience Choice Award, as voted by the public who watched the ten shortlisted short films at Cinema Nouveau theatres and voted online, went to Dewald Brand, MD of creative agency Grand Kids Collective, and his co-collaborators Max Mogale and Jade de Waal, for his short film, In Foreign Transit.
The winners were announced at a function attended by the local film industry at Cinema Nouveau V&A Waterfront last night (08 July). The prizes were presented to the winners by one of The Short Film Project’s judges, Steven Markovitz, who is recognised as one of Africa’s pioneering producers, with 20 years’ experience on feature films, documentaries, short films, distribution and festivals.
For directing the Best Short Film, Vlok’s film will open the Short Film segment on 21 July, at the upcoming Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) 2015. Her prize also includes a trip to Durban to introduce Fortabt at DIFF and to attend five days of the festival, with flights, accommodation and spending money included. In addition, Benitha receives a Sony Handycam camera (NEX-VG30EH) valued at R20 000.00, courtesy of Sony Corporation, to assist her in continuing to direct winning films!
For being selected as the Audience Choice Award, director Dewald Brand will also have his short film, In Foreign Transit, screened on the opening day of the Short Film segment at DIFF, In addition, he receives a Ster-Kinekor Premiere Card to enjoy movies at any Ster-Kinekor or Cinema Nouveau cinema for a year.
Special mention was also made of the short film, True – Jose, directed by Mandla Shonhiwa of film production company, Groundglass, who also receives a Ster-Kinekor Premiere Card.
In addition to Markovitz, the final judging panel comprised other big influencers in the local film and creative industries, including: Conn Bertish, former executive creative director at Quirk; Melanie Triegaardt, current MTV Channel Programmer at MTV Networks Africa; Uno de Waal, founder of digital agency Between 10 and 5; Rob Hughes, Short Film Curator at Conclave London; and Bryce Hepburn, Head of Film Production at the SAE Institute.
Cinema Nouveau’s The Short Film Project, was launched towards the end of last year in collaboration with Short&Sweet and Spectrum, with a number of objectives in mind.
“As the country’s only dedicated ‘art-house’ cinema chain, we wanted to show our commitment to the growth of local cinema. We know this industry houses an abundance of raw and untapped young talent, but much of it goes unseen. It was our intention with this project to give short films a wider public platform,” explains Lola Gallant, Brand Manager of Cinema Nouveau for Ster-Kinekor Theatres.
The response to the inaugural The Short Film Project launched by Cinema Nouveau in September last year, was extremely positive. A total of 124 entries were submitted by the extended deadline of end November and, of these, ten made it onto the shortlist. The shortlisted films were paired with a major title release at Cinema Nouveau during April and May this year, and screened as the ‘supporting act’ to the main feature film, encouraging audiences to vote online for their favourite short film.
“The team was extremely impressed with the standard of submissions received, as a reflection of the young, creative talent within the local film industry. Overall, the majority of entries submitted ticked all our boxes. We are delighted to have been able to give some of these young filmmakers a public platform to feature their short films on the big screen, alongside some of our most popular feature films,” says Gallant.
Julia Stephenson of Short&Sweet said: “There were some real gems among the entries received. It was pleasing to view the work of those film-makers who just understand what a short film of ten minutes or less, should encompass. There was some exciting new potential on display among the entries that encompassed various film genres including animation, documentary, drama and experimental.”
Spectrum transferred the shortlisted films into the required digital format to ensure compatibility with the upgraded digital projection systems installed in all cinemas.
“Following the success of the first year of The Short Film Project, the team at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau is looking forward to announcing the next project in the near future. While we are delighted with the results as a first-time project, we are looking to streamline some processes to encourage more entries from a broader participation base,” concludes Gallant.