ACTION COMEDY: A scene from Gog Helen, which opens the KZN African Film Festival tonight. The film tells the story of Gog Helen (Lillian Dube, centre) and her granddaughter Agnes (Kagiso Rakosa, right) who, in their bid to save Gog Helens mattress  and life savings  end up in a race against time, drug lords and thugs. Picture: Supplied

PROMINENT film-makers and actors are due to attend this year’s KZN African Film Festival at K-CAP in KwaMashu.

From humble beginnings in 2008, the festival has grown into a week-long offering of African film – with an emphasis on KwaZulu-Natal – and a host of valuable workshops hosted by some of the most respected artists involved in South African film today.

This year’s festival opens tonight at 6pm with a screening of Adze Ugah’s action comedy, Gog’ Helen. Guests expected at the screening include the movie’s lead actors, Kagiso Rakosa, Lillian Dube and Andile Mxakaza, as well as Alfred Ntombela, Xoli Zondi Joseph Shabalala and Rosie Motene.

The festival will wrap up on December 16. Film-makers and actors such as Akin Omotoso, Rapulana Seiphemo, Kenneth Nkosi and Thembi Mtshali Jones are expected to take part in the workshops.

Festival director Edmund Mhlongo said this year’s programme was weightier than in previous years.

“The celebrity participation in our workshops is the result of the relationship we’ve built with them over the years. Most of them like the festival because it is community-based and one that is also trying to help emerging film-makers, and most of these celebrities want to give back to the community.”

The programme also consists of “packages” of short films that will be shown every day.

“These are a combination of films from students who’ve been trained in our scriptwriting course, but the bulk of these short films come from Big Fish Film School in Joburg,” said Mhlongo.

The festival is now in its ninth year and has largely been possible through the support of the National Film and Video Foundation, the KZN Department of Arts and Culture and the KZN Department of Economic Development and other funders.

• The KZN African Film Festival ends on December 16. For more information, call 031 504 6970 or e-mail [email protected]