South African Film and Television Awards
|South African Film and
|Awarded for||Achievement of creative excellence in Film and Television arts.|
|Presented by||National Film and Video Foundation|
|First awarded||October 28, 2006|
The South African Film and Television Awards (sometimes referred to as the Golden Horns; often simply called the SAFTAs) is an annual South African awards ceremony hosted by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) to honour creative excellence in the local film and television industry as assessed by the volunteer judges. The various category winners are awarded a statuette, officially called the Golden Horn, and a certificate. The awards, first presented in 2006 at the Gallagher Estate, are overseen by a committee governed by the NFVF.
The finalists, nominees, and winners are chosen by a multi-phasic process of judging panels. Only South African citizens are eligible for the awards. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is the official live broadcast partner and sponsor.
At the first film indaba in August 2005, representatives of the South African film and television industry, with guidance from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), set to establish an annual awards ceremony. The awards would serve as a way honour, celebrate, and promote creative excellence, and encourage the development of new talent within the industry. Since the inaugural ceremony, the awards have been under the custodianship of the NFVF and governed by a committee. The current NFVF chief-executive officer is the chairperson, while the rest of the body consists of the national broadcasters, the South African Screen Federation (SASFED), Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA), and other key stakeholders.
At the 6th South African Film and Television Awards ceremony the then NFVF CEO and SAFTA committee chairperson, Eddie Mbalo, announced there would be an investigation into establishing a South African Film and Television Academy as "true custodians" of the awards. The announcement followed Eddie Mbalo resignation, "hoping" that the academy would be launched with a new chairperson. In the weeks before the 7th South African Film and Television Awards the current NFVF CEO, Zama Mkosi, reported that a special sub-committee had drawn up a draft constitution for the Academy. The constitution was released to the industry for feedback, she stated that "we may achieve [an Academy] within the next two to three years." It is modelled on international academies, such as Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The NFVF stated it could not fully fund the academy, stating they would "walk alongside" the industry to make the academy make "financial sense".
Golden Horn statuette
Since the inaugural awards ceremony in 2006, each winner receives a statuette named the Golden Horn and winner certificate in recognition of creative excellence. The faces on the statuette are based on artefacts from throughout Africa, some dating back to 800 CE, and reference the Lydenburg Heads. The three figure heads are sculpted to look like cattle horns and similar to the shapes found on indigenous snuff boxes. These objects were often a recognition the status of venerated member in an African community. Together the horns are a reference to flames and, ultimately, the rising sun as an “emblem of brightness, splendour and the supreme principle of the nature". The creative concept behind the trophy is built on the strength of the collective effort and the recognition of the individual as a part of the team.
Eligibility and entry
As per the awards committee guidelines, only citizens and permanent residents of South Africa are eligible for a nomination; in certain categories this rule only applies to the head producer. In the television award categories, the production company's majority stakeholders must be South African. In the case of co-productions with foreign companies, are only eligible where a "significant proportion" of the creative decision are made by the South African team and the production has been certified by the National Film and Video Foundation. The SAFTA committee sends out a call for entries, typically around August. For the 2016 SAFTAs, participates were allowed to submit their media online, before the entry forms were submitted online and the media sent via a postal service to the NFVF head offices in Johannesburg.
In the television categories, shows that were publicly aired on any local stations between 1 August and 31 July are eligible. The television show must be serialised, with at least one season. The production company or producer submit two of the best episodes, along with a list of the specific categories they with to enter. In the film categories, films that were publicly exhibited in South Africa between 1 January and 31 December are eligible. The minimum runtime for feature film entries was reduced from 70 minutes to 41 minutes for the 2016 SAFTAs. For any actor and actress categories a showreel of their best scenes is submitted, to give the judges a view of their range. If an entry is submitted incorrectly, it is immediately disqualified from that category.
The SAFTA committee begins each judging process, by electing a jury of three or more chairpersons. These chairpersons oversee both phases, supply score cards and guide the judges in each category. The film and television professionals with a minimum of ten years experience, or deemed "credible" by the jury, can volunteer to be a judge. In 2011, the SAFTA committee began incorporating previous winners and nominees into the judging process to "encourage peer recognition". The names of judges are not publicly available, to protect their anonymity and remove any potential coercion during the process. In the 2016, there were approximately 300 judges used throughout the process. The judging sessions take place in South Africa's three major cities, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
After much criticism from the television industry, the SAFTA committee partnered with the Emmy Awards committee in 2015 to review and advise on improvements to the judging process. As a result, judges only cast a vote within their speciality and not every category during the first phase of judging. In previous years, the first phase of judging was overseen by a selection of senior judges.
The first round of judging, or filtration phase, is when all entries are considered. It typically takes place over six weeks during October and November the year before the ceremony. The filtration process reduces the number of entries to a minimum of five and maximum of seven finalists per category. If there are three or less entries in a category, the award is suspend for the year. This often applies to technical awards, where as the threshold of entries may be lower for the top award categories like Best TV Drama, Best TV Soap, Best TV Comedy and Best Feature Film.
The judges are split into "panels", each panel is made up of specialists in the given category. For example, the judges who are television directors will only judge for the television directing categories (regardless of genre). The panels must elect a Panel Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, who participate in both phases of judging. A score card is created by the newly-appointed jury chairperson(s), based on specific criteria in a given category. This criteria typically ranges between three or four questions, with each question receiving a rating out of five. This is an example of what a score card for the television directing might look like:
|The technical direction of the show||3|
|The direction of performances||2|
|The directorial interpretation of the script||4|
Once all the score cards have been counted, the top seven finalist in each category move onto phase two.
The final phase takes place between November and January with a new set of judges. These judges have no prior knowledge of the first phase and are, again, split into speciality panels. Each panel is encouraged to have at least one meeting, via Skype or in-person, to discuss the finalists in their category. An auditor is present during meetings to assess that discussions are "free and fair", and are not dominated by one point-of-view. After these discussions, the judges submit their score cards to the SAFTA committee. The three productions that receive the highest scores make the nominee list, that is typically announced in early-February. The auditors, assigned by the SAFTA committee, tally the final scores submitted and are the only ones who know the winners before the awards evening.
The inaugural awards ceremony was held in 2006, there have been 10 editions to date.
Generations withdraws its nominations (2008)
In 2008, Mfundi Vundla, creator of the popular TV soap Generations, withdrew from the 3rd South African Film and Television Awards by declining all nominations of the show, directors, actors, and actresses. The entry application had been submitted by the SABC, without consulting the head producer, Friedrich Stark, whose name was on the application. It was then signed by an intern, violating the SAFTA entry requirements. Vundla stated that the Generations entries at the 2nd South African Film and Television Awards were "pushed through" by the SABC and accepted by SAFTA after the judging process had already been completed. This brought into question the integrity of the ceremony, Vundla explained that he would not be "coerced" into entering again and that the "awards must first get their house in order". The Generations production team did not attend the ceremony, as Vundla explained he wanted to avoid "creating the impression that Generations in any way supports [the SAFTAs]". The NFVF CEO, Eddie Mbalo, publicly stated his "disappoint" in Vundla's decision to withdraw the nominations and believed the team was being "denied the opportunity to be acknowledged" by the industry.
Other special awards may be awarded at the discretion of the SAFTA Executive and Judging Committees.
- List of South African Film and Television Award categories
- Cinema of South Africa
- Television in South Africa
- List of South African films
- List of South African television series
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