I HAVE to take my hat off to the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the creative gate-keepers of the long-running South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) – now in their ninth year.
Up until last year, the Saftas was a hotbed of controversy. But, now that the NFVF have worked through the kinks in the selection process, the industry’s perception of the ceremony has been more praiseworthy than defamatory.
I’m pretty sure that the inimitable Jerry Mofokeng’s co-role as the judging chairperson had some influence on the turn of events.
This year’s nominees are indicative of the change in TV, where fresh shows are flooding schedules and attracting a lot of noise, too.
In South Africa, there is a concerted effort being made to procure local, homegrown tales. I suppose this is to balance the entertainment scales with ingenious international dramas also on the menu.
Another prominent trend is Afrikaans content making in-roads – with nominations in an array of categories.
It’s the year of Afrikaans series, clearly. Swartwater, 90 Plein Street, Geraamtes In Die Kas and Donkerland are the shows that dominate most of the Drama categories.
End Game and Rockville are also in the running, though.
I predict Donkerland will be scooping up quite a few of the accolades, more so with Jenna Dunster in the running for Best Actress in a Lead Role and both Gerard Rudolf and Hannes Muller in the running for Best Actor in a Lead Role.
ON THE COMEDY FRONT
This time around the competition seems to be heating up between ZAnews: Puppet Nation, Check Coast and the Emmy-nominated Late Night News with Loyiso Gola.
And Nik Rabinowitz might just take the Best Actor in a Lead Role for his uproarious depictions of Desmond Tutu, Pieter de Villiers, Vladimir Putin, Oscar Pistorious and more.
On the Best Actress side of things, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the three Skwizas actresses in the running – Tsholo Monedi, Mary Mhlongo and Lilian Dube – took the title.
ONLY a few months old in the soapie playground, Skeem Saam seems to have made an indelible impression on the judges. It is in the running for Best Achievement in Editing, Best Achievement in Original Score and Best Achievement in Cinematography.
Meanwhile, Binnelanders, Isibaya and Rhythm City are up against each other for Best TV Soap honours.
And 7de Laan has also thrown in its impressive oar for Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Editing, Best Achievement in Sound, Best Achievement in Art/Design Production and Best Achievement in Make-up and Hair Styling.
IN OTHER NEWS
Talk shows are certainly interesting talking points – just not 3 Talk it seems, well… now that the show has been canned. On the flip side of that, Khanyi Mbau has been currying lots of favour with Katchi It With Khanyi. In fact, she even bagged a Best Talk Show nomination.
With her show renewed for another run – a win will definitely be a feather in her social butterfly cap.
We often complain about locally-adapted formats of international shows falling short of expectations. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Clash of the Choirs SA, The Comedy Central Roast of Kenny Kunene Fired Up and I Love South Africa. These shows are competing in the Best International Format Show category.
Looking at the nominations, Saftas 2015 have steered clear from several cardinal sins that they previously made. The nominations are more even-handed and reflective of the changes in the TV landscape.
Now every Safta win comes with merit and that is something that both the South African film and television industries can certainly be proud of.