Bay to get the first laugh

Mkhululi Ndamase

A GROUND-breaking Port Elizabeth training project will see to the production of the country’s first comedy series specifically tailored for community television.

The project was launched yesterday by Newton Park-based The Media Workshop, in association with national TV production company Urban Brew Studios.

Media Workshop owner Denise Roodt said the company had been working towards developing the industry in the province for a long time.

“The project is specifically for the Bay. The students had to apply to be one of the filmmakers. They will work on the concept of friends sharing a flat.

“They have already made five-minute movies which will be shown on Bay TV from time to time. We chose five who we felt did well and will be in charge of the new series, but we do not know who will do what at the moment,” Roodt said.

The project aims to develop the film industry in the region.

The Media, Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Seta-funded project will see five young and upcoming filmmakers produce what will be the Bay’s very first community comedy series.

The budding filmmakers are mentored by award-winning director David Lister, who directed Leon Schuster’s Panic Mechanic and Oh Shucks, Here Comes UNTAG!, among other movies. He has also worked with South African-born Hollywood actor Arnold Vosloo.

“I enjoy working with the students. This is something I have never done before.

“It is really nice to work with people who are passionate about what they do.

“The students show a lot of potential. So far we have the working title Grand Hotel Shongololo,” Lister said. He is known to the students as the Zulu warrior.

Sisanda Matshoba, 25, said she was excited to be part of the 13-part series of 26-minute shorts.

“It has been what I wanted for a very long time. I studied drama but always knew TV was what I wanted to do. We are learning a lot from David and I am 120% sure that it will work, because we work well together,” she said.

Tom Collins, 22, agreed.

“It is something I have been interested in doing but always thought I would have to go to Cape Town, Johannesburg or overseas, since I also have British citizenship. It is a good opportunity that will make me stay here,” he said.

Roodt said they hoped to have the series aired on Bay TV in December.

Of the 40 students, 20 are completing the FET certificate in film and television production operations at NQF level four, and 10 are completing the national certificate in film and television production at NQF level five. The other 10 are Media Workshop interns.

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