Television - General

When the Saftas were first launched, in 2006, industry pundits and participants were perplexed by the choice of nominations put forward by the NFVF (some of which included actors who had long since left their respective shows).

Still, they were just starting out and, given that the NFVF was the forerunner in attempting to establish a home-grown version of the Emmy Awards, it was felt that perhaps they could be afforded a little leeway.

But after the list of nominees for the second Saftas was released last year, one began to question in earnest whether the NFVF had actually bothered to heed any of the criticism levelled at its selection procedure.

Once again, many of the programmes and people who had made the final cut hardly merited consideration, let alone inclusion. Also, given that the majority of nominations stemmed from the national broadcaster (with far more noteworthy shows from the pay-TV and e.tv channels being blatantly overlooked) it seemed farcical to refer to the ceremony as the South African Film and Television Awards.

Still, we held out hope that maybe - just maybe - they'd get it right the third time around. We were wrong.

From 16 categories encompassing over 70 awards in total, only three shows from e.tv found their way on to the selection roll, with M-Net afforded a measly single entry.

And to add insult to injury, the bulk of the comedy, drama and sports shows proposed (which include series - Font and Bay of Plenty aming them - that can best be described as a mockery of what it means to produce good quality programming) make it glaringly obvious that the nominations have been heavily influenced by the publication sponsoring this year's Saftas, rather than offering a true representation of the SA television market as a whole. - Lara de Matos

Film

You'd be forgiven for thinking only three local feature films were broadcast in the last two years, because only three are mentioned in this year's Safta film categories.

That's not really the case, it's just that if production companies don't submit their films they can't get nominated.

Media Relations Co-Ordinator for (Safta organisers) the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Naomi Mokhele, said they were surprised by the lack of entries considering their numerous attempts to contact as many production companies as possible.

What they may have neglected to point out is that the eligibility period of October 31 2006 to March 31 2008 doesn't just mean films broadcast locally, but "public exhibition globally" as NFVF acting marketing manager Azania Muendane put it in response to an e-mail query last week.

Clearly Shamin Sarif (director of The World Unseen, which has not yet been released locally) must have realised this, because her film is nominated in several categories including the lone nomination in the Best Director category.

None of the three films (Big Fellas and Confessions of a Gambler round out the nominations) have been nominated in the Best Film category, which isn't the only category that's empty.

While it would have been interesting to see this trio up against Jerusalema (which does qualify since it premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February this year) it really does boil down to whether the filmmakers feel compelled to actually enter their products.

It would appear most do not and this puts into question the regard South African filmmakers have for the Saftas. - Theresa Smith

Television - Soaps

Is there any merit in being nominated for a Golden Horn at the Saftas?

For all NFVF's claims of the selection process being transparent and representative of an entire industry, the soap nomination list tells another story. It is nonsensical and smacks of a bias towards the SABC.

That they can't even get the spelling of names and categories right does leave one holding little hope that the Saftas will come close to its aspired status of prominence.

It is laughable that Rhythm City's supporting actor, Zenzo Ngqobe, cracked the nod for Best Actor along with deserving heavyweights Jamie Bartlett (Rhythm City) and Menzi Ngubane (Generations). To be honest, Ngubane has won enough awards (and a cool million at the Mzansi awards) already. And his co-star Seputla Sebogodi, who plays Kenneth Mashaba, surpasses his popularity. Also, Scandal's Sello Maake ka Ncube and Muvhango's Rapulana Seiphomo deserve a shot at the award.

And Mduduzi Mabaso (Suffocate in Rhythm City), Lesley Fong (Slu in Isidingo) and Zane Meas (Neville Meintjies in 7de Laan) bagging nominations for Best Supporting Actor is equally mind-boggling.

Er, wasn't Meas nominated in the same category, albeit for playing Jack van Onselen in Isidingo, two years ago? Maurice Page (Isidingo), Clint Brink (Scandal), Shona Ferguson (Scandal) and Dingaan Mokebe (Muvhango) clearly meet the criteria - and then some.

And, why, oh why, is Ashley Callie up for Best Actress? Yes, she was an extremely popular character but, given that she passed away in February, an actress who is currently on air should have been given that honour.

And could someone at NFVF please clarify why the Best Multi Camera Team category has two conflicting lists of nominees? One list features Generations, Isidingo and Rhythm City and the other sees Muvhango and Scandal pitted alongside Generations.

On whether Generations, which is up for several nominations, will be pulled out following Mfundi Vundla's objections, Naomi Mokhele, spokesperson for the National Video and Film Foundation, said: "The Safta committee is still awaiting an official withdrawal from the SABC, therefore we are not in a position to withdraw Generations from the nominees list."

As for the conspicuous absence of M-Net's flagship Afrikaans soaps, Binnelanders and Egoli, she stated: "All efforts were made to encourage all productions to submit their eligible productions."

Could their lack of participation be interpreted as them not having faith in the selection process?

Mokhele argued: "The Safta judging process is made out of 52 judges who are active professionals in the industry. Therefore we do not believe that M-Net's reason for not submitting could be due to that."

Sadly, while the awards will, no doubt, be held amid much pomp next year, it won't be underscored by the prestige it was so badly aiming for. - Debashine Thangevelo