"Africa needs to tell its own stories, otherwise, it will disappear. History only remembers those who tell the story." Acclaimed director and masterclass facilitator Ndumiso Sibanda addressed a rapt audience at the Joburg Film Festival Youth and Audience Development Programme workshops in the West Rand over the weekend.
Ndumiso Sibanda, presenting the Directing Masterclass to the youth of West Rand.
The development programme is Joburg Film Festival and MultiChoice’s shout-out to every creative mind that has ever dreamed about storytelling and or filmmaking. It is a valuable access card to a room with South Africa’s actual film gurus.
Strategically positioned to become Africa’s premier film festival through the curation and showcasing of African and international films, the development programme lights the pathway into the often-obscure avenues of the film industry.
It is designed to teach the youth crucial lessons that include knocking on the right doors, and an awareness of the depth of preparation that goes into telling truly great stories.
Participants engaging a facilitator during a workshop session.
Moderate group numbers allow for seamless interaction and direct learning from award-winning directors, designers, writers, and actors; with various opportunities for development, training, skills transfer, and networking.
The development programme which takes place across five of Gauteng's municipalities over five weekends has a simple registration process. This time around, the West Rand's creative souls poured in and revelled in the inspiration, vibe, and positive energy that enveloped the Gauteng Archive Centre.
Basetsana Koboyankwe, a 40-year-old mom, singer, and poet who attended the West Rand leg of the Youth and Audience Development programme along with her seven-year-old daughter, expressed her excitement about being part of the programme.
“Aspiring to break into the film industry feels like one of those things you can't tell people you want, but [in my case] secretly desire. I thought this might be a one-time chance to explore my dreams in a safe space, and see how far I can go,” Basetsana said.
Nineteen-year-old Thapelo Nelson who uses a camera to tell short stories through dance enthused a similar sentiment, “I’ve gained so much knowledge and understanding. Everything that was taught here I’ll put into my craft!”
This youth development programme is everything it has been hyped up to be.
“The kasi is filled with talent, but we don’t have access to the platforms that allow us to follow our dreams. We need more opportunities to express who we are, and that’s what this festival represents for us,” Thapelo Nelson finished.
The acting and filmmaking workshops are geared towards young people interested in pursuing a career in the film industry, behind and in front of the screen and regardless of the level of previous academic training in the subject matter.
Mmabatho Kau’s masterclass on story-writing and conceptualisation was a riveting entry point into the weekend’s workshops, giving roots to the budding dreams already beginning to take shape.
If you’re a young voice, aspiring to be a filmmaker, actor or future industry giant, then, the Youth & Audience Development Programme was made just for you! Register here to join the next set of sessions scheduled to take place in Ekhurhuleni on Saturday and Sunday 19 - 20 November 2022. For more information on the programmes and how to participate, please follow us on Twitter @JoburgFilmFest, Facebook and Instagram.