The 40 interns will receive unit-standard aligned, accredited training and mentorship in leading production companies and on local and international film, TV and commercial productions. Interns with Grade 12 qualifications, receive NQF Level 4 film and electronic media training, while the college and university graduates receive NQF Level 5 training.
"The film industry is notoriously difficult to enter; even top graduates from our leading film schools struggle to get onto productions," says FILM project director Seton Bailey. "We've become the bridge to get these passionate, talented people working productively in the industry."
FILM has placed over 100 trainees on productions since May this year, while three FILM graduates were winners at DStv's inaugural short film awards in March.
Of the 35 people on the programme's last Sallywood Project, 26 are now working as entrepreneurs, trainees or crew. "We've consistently seen our trainees add real value, being asked back from production to production and becoming full-time crew," says Seton.
International experience, Mad Max opportunities
Its trainees have worked on many of the major local and international productions that have come through South Africa in the last year. These include Long Walk to Freedom, with Idris Elba and current Bond girl Naomie Harris; Zulu, with Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker; Mary & Martha, with Hilary Swank; ITV's Marple; Warner Premiere's House Party; the Emmy-nominated Strike Back; and Bruce MacDonald's debut feature film, The Perfect Wave, with Scott Eastwood.
The trainees are already at work preparing for Black Sails, the TV series executive produced by Michael Bay, and Mad Max: Fury Road, with Charlize Theron.
FILM is playing a critical role in the transformation of the film industry, a key requirement for the sector to receive ongoing support from government. As Film Afrika general manager Rudi van As says: "Its trainees are vital to the future of a sustainable South African film industry."
The productions that hire the trainees qualify for the dti's BEE skills development points, but interns and trainees add far greater, enduring value. "Our primary focus is turning a grudge purchase into a real value proposition," says Seton.
As Film Afrika line producer Theuns de Wet says, "At times, I had difficulty distinguishing my trainees on House Party from my crew... and my crew was highly experienced."
Experiential training critical
One of the keys to its success is the hands-on, experiential learning the interns and trainees receive working alongside industry professionals and icons as mentors. "FILM is a not-for-profit organisation, created by leading Cape film production and servicing companies, to coordinate mentorship, training and skills development in the industry," says Seton. "We focus on preparing interns and trainees to be sustainable crew - and heads of departments - while filling actual skills shortages in an increasingly diverse, internationally-competitive industry."
Jet Black Entertainment's Roy Zetisky agrees. "Its trainees generally have an understanding and respect for the film production culture - just how tough it is and what it takes to break into it."
The programme will award the 2012 top industry trainees and mentors at Film & Event Media's Monthly Wrap on Thursday, 29 November.
Companies interested in becoming a FILM partner company or would like FILM trainees for their next production, should email or go to www.filmsa.co.za.
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