Following the resounding success of the recent 7th edition of Ugu Film Festival (UGUFF) held in January, 2020, the organisers of the festival, Zindela Pictures are set to return virtually with a bigger and better 8th edition of film screenings, talks and industry-driven workshops.
Dubbed the Ugu Film Festival Virtual Integrated Programme, due to the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions, the online programme will feature an array of local and international film screenings as well workshops manned by a litany of speakers, thought-leaders and stakeholders from across the filmmaking landscape. The workshops, talks and discussions hosted in partnership with The Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, and Ugu South Coast Tourism will be hosted via Microsoft Team’s webinar as well as through the film festival’s official Facebook page on October 23, while the virtual film screenings of local and international films will happen live on Facebook as well as virtually on Microsoft Team’s from October 22 – October 25. For four days, the virtual event will culminate in at least nine online interactive workshops while showcasing over 30 film screenings in what looks like the film industry’s biggest online event.
The opening night of the virtual screening will kick things off with the screening The Sweetest taste of salted bread and undies directed by Che Espiritu. In a small community near the Manila Railroad, Sal- a lonely baker suffering from a chronic kidney condition wants to end his life via the oncoming train. Sharing his grim, grey life are his neighbors- a barber with hand tremors, a Carinosa dancer paralyzed by stroke, a father-meat vendor with a tumor in his breast- all hoping for a miracle. Their prayers are answered through Aguy- a 7-year old girl wandering from Visayas, who possesses the extraordinary ability to heal. When she sees someone in pain, she hurts them- by slapping their faces or punching their chests or anything violent- and they get healed. With a series of miracles, life in the small community is off to a new start. Especially for Sal, who has grown fond of the little healer, just like his own daughter. But as Aguy is able to heal the sick in the small town, she however, cannot heal Sal. As his kidneys fail, urinating with too much pain and blood, Aguy realizes she must hurt him the worst way she can- a heartbreaking sacrifice.
Other films to be on the lookout for include South Africa’s Quarantine Story and The Waves of Life directed and produced by Thendo Brilz, Help, and Hands of Time, as well as Sankara is not Dead by Lucie Viver.
As the only event of its kind in the South Coast region, UGUFF is a crucial local film development and empowerment platform aimed at giving emerging up and coming filmmakers an opportunity to learn as well as gain expert insight and exposure on and about the nature of the filming industry, while also being a vehicle to showcase their craft to potential investors, film enthusiasts and the media.
Talks earmarked for virtual event include but are not limited to script-writing, film regulation, policy and law industry, film financing, film production and distribution, as well as the art of film development and film funding. This will be presented by amongst others, Bonginkosi “Mr B” Ncube, Ben Johnson Jr, Bondit Media Capital, Film Publications Board, Buffalo 8 Studios, The Writer Project Film Fund, KZN Film Commission and the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality.
According to the Founding CEO of UGUFF, Senzo Zindela, the 2020 virtual line-up of films and workshops are meant to empower and equip emerging filmmakers with skills as well as intimate knowledge about the industry’s multi-faceted value chain.
“We, at UGUFF, strive to entertain our fans, most of them, young up-and-coming filmmakers and creatives in the space with great content in the form of film screenings and workshops. Our mission is to create and sustain a friendly working environment that acknowledges and celebrates professionalism and responsible decision-making processes.
“As we attempt to adopt to the new normal, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have employed our best technological knowledge to ensure that we unleash our utmost best innovative creativity. Our hardworking team is ready to host our speakers and guests from all over the world,” says Senzo Zindela.