Facts About Film

african cinema open air theatre

Following us but know nothing about film? Here are a few facts:

+ Feature Films are the long format, fictional (non-factual) films you see in cinemas. They are called long format because they are longer than most other forms of film making – anything between 80 minutes and four hours, with 90 minutes being the average length.

+ They are generally the most expensive kind of film to make, the most demanding, and the most prestigious. Directors of features like Steven Spielberg (USA) or Franco Zeferelli (Italy) are much more famous than people who direct commercials or documentaries for television. It takes hundreds of people to make a feature, and usually millions of Rand – although low budget features are possible, like South African Akin Omotso’s G-d is African (released in 2003).

+ A feature film usually has a dramatic story and identifiable characters.

+ Different countries have developed different kinds of feature films: USA – the Hollywood blockbuster, India – the Bollywood musical melodrama, New Zealand – intense art-house films, Europe – the Dogme 95 movement. African film has also developed its own story-telling techniques, some of which derive from the continent’s rich tradition of oral history and indigenous modes of communication.

+ Since the end of the colonial era, films have been produced which respond creatively to the ever shifting conditions and dilemmas the continent faces. This despite the fact that most African countries are poor (which means less money available to finance films) and they lack the necessary infrastructure (transport, film equipment and facilities).

+ Feature films tell dramatic stories in such a powerful way that they often shape how we see each other.

Silwerskerm Film Festival Screens “Trompie”

Trompie South African Cinema 1975 RetroAfrika Bioscope

The Silwerskerm Film Festival is an annual gathering for mostly Afrikaans filmmakers. It’s a 4-day marathon which showcases the best new South African films at the kykNET Silwerskermfees. The festival is predominantly Afrikaans, but English stand-outs like the Durban International Film Festival award-winning “Durban Poison” was also screened.

In addition to the feature films, the end results of a competition that develops script ideas from first-time filmmakers of all ages were screened. This isn’t just a film festival that showcases the best of the best. It nurtures new talent and gives it a valuable platform.

One of our more recently restored films, “Trompie”, was also screened at the venue. Directed by legendary Tonie van der Merwe in the 70’s, about 15-30 people in the room watched as a digitally remastered version of a South African classic was screened. “Trompie” is a compact, highly enjoyable and kinetic comedy feature.

“Trompie” also has some well-crafted English subtitles for non-Afrikaans audience.

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