Member Spotlight: Free Film School

The IPO has expanded the Diversity and Disruption Subcommittee’s remit to include Skills Development and are delighted to be partnering with Free Film School to amplify their activities.

Free Film School is a film and arts education co-operative, that aims to provide alternative, accessible and African-centred skills-sharing between established and aspiring filmmakers in South Africa. As we begin our pilot programme, we are inviting industry professionals to offer input into our curriculum. The aim is to design our programme based on practical, real-world scenarios, which will give our participants an advantage in securing work. The feedback from this survey will be collated into a series of unofficial “Unit Standard” skills which we can then ensure are covered and assessed in our programme. At present, this is not for the purposes of official certification, but to ensure our programme has real-world value. 

From 2022, FFS has partnered with Bertha House in creating a community hub for ongoing, holistic, sustainable education in the long term. We prioritise contact teaching, providing a safe, physical learning environment, and most importantly the connections which are central to developing a career. Our 3-month pilot programme (26 Feb – 28 May 2022) involves a curriculum of weekly, in-person workshops, classes, field trips, screenings and networking events. We will also be curating a database of participants and their work to assist with sourcing both employment and mentorship opportunities for those without access.

Our pilot is aimed at Foundation level skills – appropriate for those entering the industry – but we will ultimately broaden this. Rather than a short course or diploma, FFS offers an ongoing education model – after our pilot, we aim to continue or programme throughout the year. 

Since launching in 2019 with a series of screenings and workshops across the Greater Cape Town Area, FFS transitioned into an online platform during the pandemic, creating Lockdown Film School – a resource of practical skills and theory for filmmakers. In 2021, FFS co-hosted the Queer Writers Incubator with Femme Projects – a training and mentorship lab for emerging, queer writers of colour. 

FFS is currently managed by IPO member Jenna Cato Bass and Qondiswa James and has recently registered as an NPO and Voluntary Association. Membership is open to all, and details are available on request. We’d love your input, especially if you are a producer:

Facilitator Questionnaire for anyone interested in teaching – not limited to Cape Town only
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