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Friday, December 13, 2013


(Mbuso Gumede (representing “Iphara” for Happiness Cibane), Philani Sithebe, Mbuso Meyiwa (representing “Iphara” for Happiness Cibane) Sthembiso Mhlongo (Winner, “Things we do for love”) Bonie Sithebe, Smanga Cibane ( Producer for Pastor Alcoholic)

Durban Film Office’s Zero Budget Filmmaking Workshop ends 2013 on a high note

‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.’

This age-old proverb has formed the core structure for organisers behind the Zero Budget Filmmaking Workshops which have taken place in and around Durban throughout the year.

A project undertaken by the Durban Film Office during 2013, the free monthly workshops were geared towards providing budding filmmakers with practical skills to further the development of the local film industry and meet the growing market demand of low or zero-budget films.

“Instead of being wholly reliant on the film industry to provide career advancements, the workshops have equipped emerging filmmakers with expertise that will help them become proactive and self-sufficient,” said Durban Film Office Head Toni Monty.

Filmmakers who have attend the workshops facilitated by Philani and Boni Sithebe, co-owners of local production company Durban Motion Pictures, were taught the significance of being independent, innovative and ambitious, said Monty. “It is integral for the advancement and sustainability of any industry not to provide hand-outs but hand-ups,” he adds.

Filmmakers who gathered for the final Zero Budget Filmmaking Workshop of the year, which took place on December 7 during the recent KZN African Film Festival in KwaMashu, were encouraged to put their zero or low budget filmmaking skills into practice by creating a short zero or low budget film.

Award-winning producer Bonie Sithebe said that filmmakers were given a challenge to produce a five minute feature film based on the genre of comedy. “We were proud to witness the immense effort, creativity and originality that have gone into the film submissions as well as the eagerness and enthusiasm of attendees at workshops throughout 2013,” she said.

The winner of the five minute film award went to Sthembiso Mhlongo for his film offering Things we do for love which, with the guidance of Durban Motion Pictures, will be created into a full-length feature film. An aspiring Durban actor and filmmaker, Mhlongo has recently been cast in a small acting role in South Africa’s popular soapie Generations.

The two runners-up, Smanga Cibane and Happiness Mpase for film projects Iphara and Pastor alcoholic respectively, will both receive internships at Durban Motion Pictures. “We hope to nurture and develop their raw talent and put them in good stead of becoming accomplished and profitable filmmakers,” said Sithebe.

The 2014 round of Zero Budget Filmmaking Workshops, which will now partner with the eThekwini Filmmakers Association, would continue to fill the void of grooming underprivileged and aspiring filmmakers in becoming self-made entrepreneurs. “If 2013 was anything to go by, then we have a very promising future ahead of us,” she said.

The Durban Film Office (DFO) is the film industry development arm of the eThekwini Municipality, mandated to position Durban as a world-class film production destination and facilitator for the development of the local film industry. The DFO drives activity and development in the sector in order to boost tourism, job creation and the development of core skills and SMMEs in the region.  More information at