Film Culture in KZN gets a Boost

Nanu Mabaso writes for us about film culture in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This is following the shooting of a new movie, called Uncovered, which was shot in Newcastle.

by Nanu Mabaso

What a time to be alive in Africa!” I often wondered how it feels like to say this. I must admit, it came to a point where this statement got very annoying, because everyone was saying it. It seemed like I was the only one who wasn’t feeling it, so I got a bit jealous. Well now you have it. Indeed, what a time to be African.

Young South Africans throughout the country are talking about the decolonization. This is the case in many industries, from business, to education, art and other professions. Not only is the youth talking about it, but it is happening.

In filmmaking, we are currently at a point where we can make our own movies, led by an African cast and crew, and still make good productions. Productions like Kalushi directed Mandlakayise Dube, Nommer 37 by Nosipho Dumisa, Tell Me Sweet Something by Akin Omotoso, have shown that we can also compete in the arena of cinema till the final round.

A Durban-based film production company called The Final Chapter, run by Zuko and Thandeka Nodada has chosen Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal as a site for new feature film called Uncovered. The shoot took place between the 14th of August and the 1st of September 2018. Places like Blaaubosch (one of the early amakholwa free-standing communities in the region), Chelmsford (Normandien) and Newcastle CBD, among other locations turned into picturesque for the film shoot. The theme of the story is one of Mzansi’s most burning topics currently; LAND!

About the Film

Fezile Makhanya actor (right), Nathi Mkhize assistant director (left) in Uncovered, a film recently shot in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal

Uncovered is directed by the SAFTA Award winning director Zuko Nodada, who also directed Matatiele, Meet the Khambules, Between Friends. The cast includes well known South African actors like comedian Fezile Makhanya, Sthandiwe Kgoroge (nee Msomi), DJ Happygirl and Dumisani Mbebe. As well as  Nqobile Khumalo, Sorisha Naidoo and comedian Thenjiwe Khambule. Newcastle-based film-maker, Simphiwe Qwabe, who made the thrilling documentary Amandla Embokodo was also part of the production team.

Up-and-coming actors got the opportunity to be part of the cast as extras. According to producer, Thandeka Nodada, the film is expected to be in cinemas around July 2019. Nodada also promised that special film screenings will take place in Newcastle, Johannesburg, to mention a few places. Nodada urged fellow citizens, “to support local content as it is about them, for them.” She thanked all the local interns that took part in the production in various roles as assistants in departments like art directing, production, wardrobe, make-up, continuity and lighting.

Production Process

The local interns for the film were taken from students of the short-courses in film done by the Face Of The Earth Foundation and KZN Film Commission‘s Impucuzeko Skills Development Programme.

Movies are a form of art that can kill a flock of birds with one stone. Through our movies we can promote our music, our clothing, our cultures, our businesses and ideas. So when one supports local movies, they are supporting all these other professions that we may be able to feed our own as a nation. That we may be able to fulfill all the prophecies of great African leaders like Captain Thomas Sankara, Dr. Wally Serote, Gogo Miriam Makeba and many other greats. It seems like our very own Revolution is really upon us, and we are upon it.

Since the 1980s, Nigeria has shown us that it’s possible to have a swing booming movie industry, eish, excuse the wordplay. Now is the time for ours. §

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