Province to promote film with a new festival

PROMOTING FILM MAKING: ECPACC chief executive officer Phumeza Sikoti speaking about the preservation of local history being documented in locally-produced films during the launch of the Chris Hani Film Festival at the Queen’s Casino and Hotel last Friday Picture: ANDISA BONANI

The Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC) hopes to include the Chris Hani Film Festival in the district municipality’s Chris Hani month celebrations, from next year.

This was announced by ECPACC chief executive officer, Phumeza Sikoti, during the festival launch dinner at the Queen’s Casino and Hotel last Friday.

Sikoti indicated the launch was conducted this year to precede the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) celebrations is April next year, so that people could look forward to it when it happens.

“We have a long-standing relationship with the CHDM, especially with the craft hub flagship event, Inkcubeko Fashion Show, with which we partnered. This time we wanted to elevate the partnership so that the film festival is included in the activities of Chris Hani month next year.

“The festival will create a marketplace and audiences for local filmmakers while building a culture of watching locally-produced films.  We realise there is opportunity for economic growth when people can create jobs with their artistic work. Our interest is to ensure we watch IsiXhosa films to preserve our language and for the people of the province to easily relate,” she said.

Sikoti indicated ECPACC was supporting a documentary production that celebrated the art of music in the province and was produced by a filmmaker from the Chris Hani region.

The two-day festival launched ended at the Enoch Mgijima council chambers where discussions with film industry stakeholders were held.

A Chris Hani Film Forum was elected when Siphiwe Ratsibe was named the chairperson to look into the establishment of a film office where film-related information would be easily accessible to all who required it.

“We were elected to drive capacity-building for all involved in filmmaking – be it script writing, acting, camera work or anything else. My vision is to have a Chris Hani television channel to document what is done in this area. The vision of the elected forum is to have a film studio that can be rented out for editing and used by locals to produce their short films,” said Ratsibe.

Founder and director of the Eastern Cape Film Festival, Nceba Mqolomba, said the establishment of the Chris Hani Film Festival was an initiative of the Eastern Cape Legacy Projects which sought to have regional film festivals across the province.

“The provincial film festival is not an annual event. We needed an idea that would keep the momentum going for filmmakers and those involved in film productions so they could continue working and building their profiles while creating local content. We will establish festivals in all eight regions of the province so that when we host the festival again it is one huge event that accommodates artists from across the province,” said Mqolomba.

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