AFDA, The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance

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Coordinates: 33°55′54″S 18°28′06″E / 33.93167°S 18.46833°E / -33.93167; 18.46833

AFDA, The school of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance
Motto Sada tanisens gera kuru da
Motto in English
Our actions create us
Established 1994
Type Private
Students N/A
Location Johannesburg Cape Town and Durban, South Africa
Campus Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban -

AFDA the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance is a film, television and performance school located on campuses in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, Observatory, Cape Town and Glen Anil, Durban, South Africa. AFDA is South Africa's only full member of CILECT [1] and therefore all AFDA degrees are recognized internationally.[2] It offers two three year undergraduate degree programmes - a Bachelors of Arts in Live Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture and postgraduate degrees as an Honours or a Master of Arts in Fine Arts (MFA).


AFDA has campuses in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Johannesburg is South Africa's television production hub. AFDA was established in Johannesburg in 1994 and is situated on a 10,000 square metre campus within a stone's throw of the national TV broadcaster, the SABC.

AFDA Cape Town campus was established in 2003 in Observatory on a 7000 square metre campus in an area just outside the central business district.

AFDA Durban campus opened its doors on 4 February 2013 with a pioneering group of first years. AFDA Durban is situated in the Durban North area and suburb of Glen Anil (#2A Highdale Road, Glen Anil, Durban North). The three story building is an ex-municipal building that will be converted into a campus to accommodate 350 students studying film, TV, music and acting over four year groups of students.

The campus is accessible from Umhlanga Rocks drive at the BP Station which leads to Highdale Road along Sagewood Way. Alternately the campus can be accessed from the R102 and taking the Old North Coast Road, first right onto Cypress Drive, first left onto Wistaria Grove and on to Highdale Road. The campus includes studios, lecture rooms, rehearsal rooms, recreational area, staff and administration area, storage and parking facilities and has the stage, film, TV and music equipment required for each year of study


Undergraduate degrees:

  • BA Degree in Motion Picture,
  • BA Degree in Live Performance.

Postgraduate degrees:

  • BA Honours Degree in Motion Picture,
  • BA Honours Degree in Live Performance,
  • Master of Arts in Fine Arts (MFA).

AFDA has developed a learning programme that mixes Core Classes with film discipline skills.

The first year offers a foundation and focuses on identifying each student's talents. The second year focuses on the entertainment medium, and increase the students' understanding of the 'nuts and bolts' of the motion picture and live performance courses. The third year identifies and develop each learner's artistic expression, while the fourth year teaches commercial management of the learner's chosen discipline.

In addition to the compulsory Core Course, AFDA offers disciplines which undergraduate students may choose a combination of, allowing them to specialize in an area of film making or performance. These include:

AFDA Honours students interact with the industry, their films are occasionally broadcast on M-net and SABC. The Honours thesis is a document with direct correlation to the student's chosen subject or that is focused on Master of Fine Arts Motion Picture (MFA).

The AFDA Masters of Fine Arts in Motion Picture degree provides students with the opportunity to create a feature length film.


International recognition[edit]

Tristan Holmes, Oscar winning director of Elalini
Oscar nominated student film, Wamkelekile

AFDA films have been exhibited at international festivals and have been broadcast worldwide, some winning awards including a prized Oscar.[3]

At the 33rd annual Student Academy Awards, in June 2006, the AFDA production Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes, won the award for Best Foreign Film. This is the first time that this award has been given to a South African film school.[4]

In addition, Ongeriewe was nominated as a finalist in the professional short-film category at the Cannes Film Festival of 2006.[5][6] And Wamkelekile in the category of Best Foreign Film in 2009.[7]

AFDA is a full member of CILECT (Centre International de Liaison de Ecoles de Cinema de Television). AFDA is the only film school in South Africa to be a full member of CILECT.[1]

Outside Broadcasting Unit
Interior of the OB van


AFDA campuses have 16mm super sixteen and 35mm film cameras as well as digital industry standard cameras and camera accessories, lenses and lighting equipment.

AFDA's OBU (Outside Broadcasting Unit) is a mobile television vehicle. The unit enables AFDA to train students for multi-camera recording, such as live television. The unit has a three-camera rig using JVC HDV (high-definition) cameras, two of which are linked via a control cable system and one which is linked via a fibre optic system. This allows it to be operated at a distance of 300m from the vehicle. All cameras are remote controlled by camera control units (CCUs).

A Digital Broadcast Pix Switcher cuts between cameras and insert graphics, clips and chroma key requirements in real time. Final programme material is recorded onto hard disk drive via a Deck Link Multi Bridge interface. The rig has a separate audio station with a digital audio desk to control all audio inputs and mix down to final programme material.

  • 4 lecture halls
  • Film studio
  • Television studio
  • Music studio
  • Music production suite working with Cubase, Korg M1, Sibelius Software and Hypersonic.
  • Edit suites
    Research Centre with Macs
    Cape Town Research Centre
  • 1 X fully equipped fixed rake 75 seater theatre: MX 24 lighting board. lighting rig and 12 channel mixing desks. 1 x floating-rake studio: rehearsal rooms.
  • Visual effects studio
  • MPM/LP Research Centre with access to computer work stations and 3 meeting pods with viewing facilities.
  • Production design workspace
  • Cinematography equipment includes a 35 mm Mitchell animation camera 35 mm Arri camera BL with b/w video take-off, Arri 2C camera b/w video-tape, lenses and accessories. Super 16 mm Arri SR camera and Aaton LTR54 with lenses and accessories. Arri-M 16 mm film cameras with lenses and accessories. Light meters. Griphouse Crane with swivel seat assembly and docking mount of Elemack Dolly.

Research Centre[edit]

The Research Centre is a recently renovated to include state of the art interior design for modern students. The Centre provides an environment to encourage research by offering a wide variety of print and electronic resources. It is also fitted with macs for research and seating space for students to work. The library consist of unique student DVD's from first year to postgraduate level that is unique to each campus. The staff provide reference and information services to the students and staff.


External links[edit]