EC Film Festival unearths local talent

A passion for creative arts has led a Uitenhage man on a journey of discovering all the stories the Eastern Cape has to offer through the Eastern Cape Film Festival. Originally called the Ginsberg Film Festival, creator of founder of the film festival, Nceba Mqolomba, 41, said while working as a producer and director in Johannesburg for 12 years, he always had the dream of moving back to his hometown to rejuvenate its and rejuvenating the creative space. “I gave myself 10 years to live in Joburg and I stayed a little longer than anticipated working on shows such as All You Need Is Love and Khumbulekhaya to name a few. But apart from making television, I produced music shows for the likes of Ringo, Kabelo and Watershed,” Mqolomba said. Born in Uitenhage, Mqolomba grew up in Mthatha after moving there with his family at the age of three. After Matric he studied , stayed and matriculated there and went on to study speech and drama at the then Natal Technikon in Durban. Mqolomba said his journey in television started long before he even realised himself that it was something he was into. “Growing up I’m told I would sit in front of the TV screen and look at things I wanted to change and I grew up with that thinking. But now a lot of what we see on our screens isn’t really top quality. Another passion of mine was also music,” Mqolomba said. “I’ve worked with artists such as Simphiwe Dana, MXO, Sliq Angel and Camagu, who was the first and only artist who released under my label and we got a South African Music Award nomination too. But I was helping out with the process of development and hooking them up with industry people,” Mqolomba said. Through his company, Radio Yabantu, which he started in 2011, Mqolomba focuses on media, communication, film and music. His and said his aim is to make Uitenhage a creative hub, that does not only rely on the automobile industry, which its popularly known for with factories such as Goodyear and Volkswagen. Mqolomba said that through his company, Radio Yabantu and its partnership with the Eastern Cape Information Technology Initiative (ECITI), the film festival was set up as a platform drawing to bring in filmmakers –, professional and aspirants – to conversations on the entrenchment of film as “a potent economic sector in the province”. “The festival is a platform to explore how through film sustainable employment opportunities can be created and heritage celebrated. “Developing local film makers will only deal with the socio-economic challenges that we are confronted with,” Mqolomba said. The three-day festival activities include screenings, production critiques and networking sessions. The workshops and master classes will be facilitated by the award-winning trio of Jahmil Qhubeka, whose film Of Good Report was the opening film last year, Rolie Nikiwe and Diliza Moabi. Festival director Mqolomba added if people wished to submit films for screenings they can contact him on submissions@ecfilmfestival.co.za and those who wish to enter the workshops can contact him on info@ecfilmfestival.co.za The Eastern Cape Film Festival takes place from November 18-20 at the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre popularly known as the Miriam Makeba Centre in East London. Entry to the festival is free.