In the seven years that kykNET’s Silwerskerm Festival has been running, this is the first time I attended.Blown away, would be an understatement of how I’m feeling on day three of the festival.
Aside from it being held at The Bay Hotel, where the glistening azure ocean often steals my attention, the venue has been transformed into a mecca of homegrown talent.
Everyone from actors, filmmakers, scriptwriters, distributors to a slew of talented people who make the magic happen behind the scenes were in attendance.
I spotted familiar faces Tobie Cronjé, who is in the short film comedy Vossie Vergas Homeself, Jody Abrahams, Milan Murray, John Trengove and Sisanda Henna, in the crowd.
What isn’t widely known is the origins of this festival. It started out as a small gathering with Afrikaans film enthusiasts.
Now it’s grown to a massive four day event, where short films and feature films are showcased before small and big screen debuts.
In my time here, I bumped into Helen Kuun from Indigenous Films. She is a vault of information and, aside from being on the pulse of what’s going on in the filmmaking industry, is passionate about it.
Our informal chat led to an interesting conversation on the surge of Afrikaans feature films, where writers are pushing the envelop.
Comedy was the initial template before rom-coms took over. Now filmmakers are seeking out stories that are refreshingly imaginative, while also treading a very identifiable path. There is bravery in the storytelling.
Kuun pointed out that, these days, there are about 30 movies being made in a year. In comparison to what the ratio was back in 2007, it’s an impressive stride.
The Silwerskerm Festival also has a lot of activities, from interesting discussions, encouraging healthy debate around the controversial movie Krotoa and sensitive film subjects, as well as workshops on cinematography and lighting; post-production and copyright protection; and, what many are looking forward to - the Master Class with Hollywood filmmaker Zev Foreman, which will be held tomorrow morning.His credits include The Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club to highlight the calibre of the projects he’s done.
Tomorrow night, the 2017 Silwerskerm Festival will conclude with an awards ceremony, celebrating those behind some pioneering short as well as feature films.