Speech delivered by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi on the occasion of the closing ceremony of the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking Learnership at Aucklandpark, Johannesburg

23 APRIL 2015

Programme director
Monica Newton, Deputy Director General for Arts, Culture, Promotion and Development;
Dr Anton van Staden, Chief Director Department of Rural Development and Land Reform;
Johan Ryk, Director for NARYSEC Programme, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform;
Melanie Chait, CEO of Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking;
Graduates;
Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning

We are gathered here today to congratulate talented young people from different provinces who have successfully completed their Film and TV production learnership.

In just few days to come, South Africans from all walks of life will be celebrating 21 years of Freedom and Democracy under the theme “Celebrating the beginning of the Third Decade of our freedom through Accelerating Radical Economic Transformation”.

We must always remember that we did not attain freedom free and that we fought apartheid in solidarity with other people of the world, in particular our African brothers and sisters.

Government condemns the violence in the strongest possible terms. The attacks on foreign nationals violate all the values that South Africa embodies, especially the respect for human life, human rights, human dignity and Ubuntu.

A prolific Nigerian woman author, Buchi Emecheta, once said,

“I usually make sure that my stories are from Africa or my own background so as to highlight the cultural background at the same time as telling the story”.

This quote aptly resonates with what brought us here today. We are here to congratulate young people who took it upon themselves to be part of the training intervention to acquire new skills in digital filmmaking and TV production.
These new skills will empower young people to tell our own South African stories through filmmaking. The stories of South Africa are many and diverse, and collectively they tell the story of our entire nation. They also teach us lessons about the past to better arm us for the future.

Film is one of the most powerful artistic media in the world; it can reach across time, language, culture and geographic location to tell compelling stories, document events and spark debate. For many, film and TV defines a generation, and our role in the Department of Arts and Culture is to enable the telling of the stories that will record our journey.

We do this in a variety of ways; firstly through the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) which provides grants and bursaries for film development, amongst other support mechanisms. We work closely with the Department of Trade and Industry on the administration on the large scale commercial incentives such as the Film Rebate.
The Department of Arts and Culture’s most important role however, along with the NFVF is to support the development of artists and local content. What this means is that we focus on the people and processes that create films.

Big Fish is one such project. Our partnership long standing, and exists to support the training and development of young film makers from across the country. This is part of much larger project to support the transformation of the arts, culture and heritage, because it is only through creating more access to people, particularly young people, and ensuring that these talented artists have the necessary skills to become professional film makers that we can change the status quo.

Over the last two years, the Department of Arts and Culture has supported one of many incubator projects that Big Fish runs in partnership with a range of stakeholders.
This intensive training process takes aspirant film makers through a programme that covers the entire film and TV value chain, producing, at the end of the programme, graduates and award winning films that sought after by production houses.

The project actively seeks opportunities for film makers, for example, trainees from this organisation recently participated in the filming of the international blockbuster film The Avengers: Age of Ultron in Johannesburg.

The programme produces socially conscious material that speaks to the realities of a modern South Africa, and also speaks to many language groups as some of this content is multi-lingual, but most of all, develops and nurtures new generations of film makers who will continue to tell our story at home and abroad.

In conclusion I would like to thank the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking for inviting me to be part of this auspicious occasion.
I would like to reiterate the Government’s call for the fight against Xenophobia.

Hash tag – Say No to Xenophobia….Hash tag – We are Africa

I thank you

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