Home Lifestyle SAFTAs first-time nominees are buzzing

SAFTAs first-time nominees are buzzing


The performers and production houses in the creative arts industry were severely hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, since early 2020.

Bonko-the-wife. Picture supplied.

JOHANNESBUR – This year’s South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) will be a battle royale in September, and first-time nominees are giddy at the prospect of walking away with the coveted golden horn.

The performers and production houses in the creative arts industry were severely hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, since early 2020.

The recent relaxation of all national disaster regulations by the government has cleared the path for the 16th edition of the SAFTAs to continue its success.

Multichoice leads the pack with a mixed bag of long-term favourites and relatively new entrants gaining nods. The SABC is well represented with six nominations including Best documentary (Murder in Paris), as well as Best Actor and Best Actress (Skeem Saam).

The CEO of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Makhosazana Khanyile, said that this year’s theme ‘Frame the Future’ called for more collaboration within the industry, in order for it to grow successfully and sustainably.

The cast of Showmax’s The Wife

“Last year, we faced our greatest challenge ever, post-Covid. This year, we celebrate the connectedness that helped us get through, while actively promoting optimism within our local industry,” Khanyile said.

“With the release of this year’s nominees, we are looking forward to a remarkable show that will showcase the creative innovation that our local industry has continued to display despite the circumstances that have been faced.”

Keeping in line with the future of television, online streaming service Showmax’s Original series trailed behind Multichoice and SABC with 52 SAFTAs nominations.

DAM, a psychological-thriller series on Showmax starring Lea Vivier and fellow Best Actor nominee Pallance Dladla, grabbed four nominations for its production. Lead actress Vivier was given her first SAFTA nod for her role as Yola, a young woman who returned from Chile to bury her estranged father and is faced with a number of dilemmas in the farming town.

“I was filming all day and only found out during lunch when I took my phone off aeroplane mode. Alex Yazbek, DAM’s director, had screengrabbed the list of nominees and sent it to me. I immediately started screaming and laughing and yelling, all the emotions bubbling out of me in one go,” Vivier explained.

“I felt ecstatic, giggly, and over the moon because I poured every single fibre of my being as an actress into the character and the project. So, it feels wonderful to receive some recognition. I definitely feel like this nomination belongs to me, but also to Alex and the rest of DAM and its cast and crew because it was such a group effort and without them our DAM wouldn’t have been so damn phenomenal.”

Vivier’s cast mate, Siv Ngesi, earned his first acting nomination for Best Supporting Actor for DAM.

“I was having a meeting and someone just WhatsApped to congratulate me. I was in the meeting with Ashley de Lange, and then she found out she was nominated for Best Actress in a TV Comedy, so we both celebrated. Then I called my mom. I’ve always wanted to get a nomination for acting and this was my first one,” Ngesi said.

Winners from the DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards for Favourite Actor (Abdul Khoza) and Rising Star (Kwenzo Ngcobo), The Wife, is up for 10 SAFTAs.

Newcomer feature film Glasshouse is up for six SAFTAs, including Best Film. The horror film is the debut for director Kelsey Egan, who is also nominated for Best Director. Glasshouse focuses on a family trying to survive through an airborne pandemic in an airtight glasshouse, which is disturbed when a mysterious stranger arrives and unearths a past they have tried to bury.

“Making this film was a gift, as was having such dedicated, passionate, talented teammates. Thank you to the creative wunderkinds who helped bring our dystopian fairy tale to life, and to the SAFTAs for recognizing these achievements. Not even a global pandemic could stop the team that built Glasshouse,” Egan said.

In the Best Student Film Category, Four Walls and a Roof, gave producer Kristin Pienaar and director Keelan Nieuwstadt their first nods.

“We are so elated, and humbled by this nomination. Surreal! It is such an honour to be nominated for a SAFTA. All the hard work and time that has gone into this film, it comes as a great affirmation for all of us, a real privilege,” Nieuwstadt said.

In an interesting twist, streaming platform Netflix received 45 nominations. This made it the first time since the brand launched in South Africa, in 2016, that it could enter original content for consideration. I Am All Girls received 11 nominations across various categories such as Best Directing, Best Cinematography and Best Feature Film.

Successful Netflix series How To Ruin Christmas, Season 2, received 16 nominations. The series featured recently departed actress Busi Lurayi, who played the lead role of Tumi Sello. One of the nominations for the show is Best Actress In a TV Comedy for Lurayi.

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