If content is King, then the platform is Queen
Updated: Jan 28
By Khuthala Nandipha
The film industry generates approximately R12.2 billion per year and has increased the number of people it employs twice over, according to the National Film and Video Foundation. This was the leading narrative at the launch of the 5th Eastern Cape Film festival in East London last Tuesday supported by the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts & Culture, for the first time.
The festival will be held over four days, on March 25 -28, in East London. Leading the pack, Uitenhage born Nceba Mqolomba, the founding member of the festival which started five years ago at the Steve Biko Centre in Ginsberg, says this is the first year where there is a solid funding model.
His passion has ensured that he hosts a six-day festival every year across the province from King Williams Town, East London to Makhanda. The former TV producer believes in growing talent of his home province, so much that he relocated and left a thriving TV career in Joburg to start this festival.
“The EC is a gold mine; the country is dependent on this province for the bulk of its talent. We lack our own platforms; hence our theme, ‘if content is King, then the platform is Queen’. We should capitalise on all our strengths, including the fact that the province is affordable as a film destination. Budgets do not have to be mega, and this will allow us to create jobs,” he said.
Fezeka Bayeni MEC for the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts & Culture in the province, believes that if we tell the right stories about the province of the legends, then half of the work is done.
“Ben Okri says, ‘a nation is as great as the stories it tells itself, and the stories it tells about itself.” Our fairytales growing up were not inspiring nor did they glorify us as the people. We should not be passing such stories to the next generation. Storytelling is an African tradition, so it must be preserved and used to uplift the people; teach our children morals, the lessons we have learnt in order to build the next generation.
As Okri says again, ‘a demoralised nation tells demoralised stories to itself. To poison a nation, poison its stories,” she said pledging her support to the film industry.
Mdantsane born award-winning filmmaker, Xolani Jahmil Qubeka agreed that film is a medium that helps us reflect who and what we are. “We speak on the present, past and future society, and the challenges we are facing as a community. I am very privileged to do what I do and have the support that I have. The impact is huge,” he said.