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Tuesday, September 8, 2015


(Front row: Sindi Mngadi, Acquilla Malinga, Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala (Deputy Mayor), Lindo Ndlovu & Thabisile Sincadu. Back row: Gugu Radebe, Siphamandla Ngcobo, Toni Monty (Head of DFO) & Nick Gumede)

Eight young filmmakers recently received certificates by the eThekwini Municipality Deputy Mayor Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala for their participation in the inaugural Durban Film Office SCOUT programme.

The five female and three male filmmakers who participated in the Durban Film Office’s (DFO) location scouting and management programme which forms part of the DFO’s skills development initiative to support and grow the City’s film economy, were Acquilla Malinga, Lindo Ndlovu, Siphamandla Ngcobo, Sindi Mngadi, Thabisile Sincadu, Msizi Mlaba and Nick Gumede.

“The programme aims to increase the number of locations scouts in Durban by providing support dedicated to local development and by doing so, effect transformation in location management in the Durban industry,” says Cllr Shabalala. “As we work towards developing Durban as a film city, with a lively and robust industry that can contribute to the growth of the economy, it is vital that we continue to upskill and train young people who can provide the requisite skills needed to support this sector."

Toni Monty, Head of the DFO, adds: “Location scouting and management plays an important role in the film and commercial production value chain. One of the most critical members of a modern day film-making crew, is the location scout. This is an individual who goes out in the field and looks for places and locations that best resemble or suit the aesthetic needs of the scriptwriters, producers and directors. Location scouts are vital in the pre-production stages of a film, as they are responsible for acquiring the right kind of information about the sites and locations that are necessary to shoot a film or television commercial, and therefore also play a key role in attracting productions to a region.”

SCOUT is an intensive programme that has been developed by the Durban Film Office to provide and professionally develop local location scouts and expose young and previously disadvantaged filmmakers to the business of location scouting. The aim is that they will eventually move into full location management and production services.

The programme provided an opportunity for these young people to be trained by experienced professional Locations Manager, Neville Botha from Unit Co-Op. The trainees were selected after a public call-out workshop was held at the Botanic Gardens and were enrolled in a one-week theory class and two weeks of practical classes. The training comprised practical and theoretic classes on location management, as well as formal and accredited NOSA training in Basic Fire Awareness, Introduction to Occupational Safety and Health, and Safety, Health and Environment Representative Training.

Siphamandla Ngcobo (27) from Ntuzuma said, “The SCOUT training changed the way I view locations and exposed me to the details of things like architecture, parks and roads. It has equipped me with skills I need to extract locations from a script and how to reference the picture for a film director.”

Msizi Mlaba (22), an AFDA student from Avoca Hills said: “I found the programme very insightful in terms of the importance of scouting in the context of film-making and pre-production”. Sindisiwe Mngadi (25), from Musgrave, who is a founder of Loper Media, said that she found it fascinating to see Durban from a location scouting point of view.

Some of the trainees have already begun working as location scouts including Thabisile Sincadu who says, “The experience has been very good, I learned a lot in a short period of time and it has brought many opportunities for me as a result. I have been called for six location jobs since doing the training.”