Gwen is the only Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) in Botswana, a member of SAFREA and SASJA, a sub-editor for BizCommunity and the author of a book on conference & Events Planning. She freelances for Independent Newspapers and other SA media. She offers training in all her specialities
Freelancers Writing Services is a communications consultancy, committed to providing a professional, competent and measurable communications service to its clients.
Gwen Watkins formed a PR partnership in South Africa in September 1988, offering the full gamut of PR services from media liaison, marketing positioning, branding, external and internal communication strategies to event planning.
As a seasoned writer, Gwen offers commissioned features or articles on a per word fee basis to magazines, newspapers and on-line media. Editorial and sub-editorial services are also offered on a part-time basis. The consultancy has extensive Plain English re-writing expertise.
As a CMP®, Gwen organises conferences, events & exhibitions for commerce and industry. She also offers reportage services for conferences and meetings.
This base of expertise offers clients the ideal solution to the most serious problem facing a company - how to find a consultancy that will understand and strategize its communication and marketing messages in a sea of options.
In late 2011, Gwen produced three monthly reviews leading up to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Seventeenth Conference of Parties (COP 17) with a final review for the Department of Environmental Affairs in Independent Newspapers.
In November 2012, she edited and contributed to 'Origins of our Future', a coffee table book for the Department of Environmental Affairs, covering the 10 years of progress on sustainable development in South Africa, since the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg in 2002.
Gwen has written a textbook, 'Conference & Events Management', for Edge Publishing, as a textbook for third year tourism students taking events management as an elective in 2013.
Last week’s media preview of District 9, the new South African sci-fi film, left most of us quite shattered. Not expecting such a performance or to be so engrossed, the film may draw on recognised genres but it delivers the shock and uncomfortable recognition that Paul Verhoeven used to deliver. [video]
The film is deservedly gaining credit internationally but in South Africa it may well be greeted with uncomfortable reactions - the film unashamedly draws on our past and current view of species different to our perception of what is human and how we treat them.
The plot seems simple enough: an alien force landed in Johannesburg 20 years ago and, producing neither useful technology nor annihilation, has camped on the outskirts of the city, forming eventually a slum. The Multi-National United (MNU), a private corporation, runs the slum and now has been charged with removing all the aliens to a new camp much further from the city.
Most unlikely hero
Enter the most unlikely hero - picture your average small bank branch manager and you have Wikus van der Merwe (portrayed by Sharlto Copley).
His job is to knock on doors and get the aliens to sign an agreement to be evicted. Some of the ‘prawns,' as they are so charmingly called, refuse, some get violent and some clearly don't understand but he works his way through the camp like a true bureaucrat, until he meets Christopher Johnson and his son little CJ, aliens who have assumed human names as required to fit into the society in which they find themselves. Wikus is accidently sprayed with a contaminant and then during an exchange with an alien, injured as well.
Now infected with alien DNA, he holds the key to MNU's need to make alien technology work and, faced with no mercy from humans or MNU forces, he flees into District 9 as the only place where he can try to survive and make sense of his calamity. His disintegration from a happy family man into a hunted outcast and his integration into violence is a moving experience and the introduction of Nigerian gangsters and psychotic MNU enforcers makes it all too real.
The film is presented often as a newsreel or documentary footage and, by interspersing actual SABC footage, adds to the horribly real feeling of the film. This is far truer as to the way humans would deal with aliens - no cute ET moments or Independence Day mayhem - just grim township life on the edge of a dump.
South-African born director
Neill Blomkamp, the South African-born director, has spent many years in Canada as a visual effects artist and director of award winning ads, short films and was recognised as one of the Top 5 Directors to Watch at the First Board Awards, featured in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase at Cannes.
The producer, Peter Jackson, is world-renowned for his directing of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and he is quoted as saying, "Neill Blomkamp is a terrifically exciting young director. We were considering a production of Halo based on the video game. That movie never happened but we loved working with Neill so much that when he pitched us District 9, we decide it would be fun to turn his idea into a feature film."
Allegedly, according to YouTube, this a short film from Neill Blomkamp, which the movie District 9 is based off of.
Following its international launch late last week, it opens in South Africa on 28 August 2009. Ster-Kinekor is hosting a Red Carpet Premiere at The Zone@Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, 19 September 2009, for Ster-Kinekor Movie Club Card Holders at normal ticket prices.
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kzamats felling insulted-
I think you may have missed some of the sensitivity and subtlty of the casting. The parallel with our history is intentional. He also has to consider his international audience. He used SA actors and using Sotho is not jarring to 99 % of viewers. The term " Nigerians" is also symbolic. Please do not be hurt by the casting. It is not the intention of the film makers to hurt you. In this movie the real baddies are in any case white. Please look at the movie again bearing in mind the above. We need to slowly move on. Enjoy.
Interesting way of dealing with the trauma's of the past-
I found your article very appealing. In finding ways to penetrate the hollywood machine with 'south african' stories, Blomkamp and Jackson have created a unique starting point for a modified hollywood formula that can perhaps 're-ignite' the dreary quality of the stories now being churned out of hollywood almost at will. what this film symbolizes for me is a turn to a much needed, 'globalized' broadcasting of the depth of trauma that apartheid left in its wake. I found a similar, thought-provoking article about District 9's metaphors in Peet du Plooy's article on The Economist's new blog site, The Unexpected Jozi (www.theunexpected.co.za), entitled "Space Invaders"...a brilliant take on some of the symbolisms District 9 sought to deal with tackling the issue of segregationist apartheid community District 6, in Cape Town. very cool. thanks!