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SAFTA Film Nominees 2020 - 14th Edition

The fourteenth edition of the SAFTAs, South Africa's local TV and Film awards ceremony, is coming soon. While SPL!NG has had reservations about the ceremony, referring to it as McSAFTAs under its awkward partnership with McCafe, it seems to have adopted a more subtle approach under its partnership with Grolsch. The nomination annoucement images don't have any branding, making it seem as though they're focusing on the celebration and talent.

While this is a positive development for both the TV and film industry, as well as the integrity of the awards, there's still much work to be done. The South African Film and Television Awards is essentially our Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmys rolled into one. While it's a privilege to even have an awards ceremony honouring the best talent in our country, now in its 14th year, we still need to dot the i's and cross the t's. As TV with Thinus, pointed out -releasing the nominees to media in PDF format is restrictive in terms of accessibility of information for distribution. While some PDF software can remedy this hurdle, you'd expect the Golden Horns to make it easy to publicise and at least get their nominee's names right. Spelling errors, incorrect names, not presenting their names as billed in the film credits or IMDB, it's a little careless and doesn't reflect well on those who have been identified as worthy of a Golden Horn.

South African Film and Television Awards - SAFTAs

While it's great to see so many female-led films about strong South African women dominating the film nominations, there are some curious judging decisions. The strangest is quite simply that this year's official Oscar contender, the feature film selected to represent South Africa for the coveted Best International Feature Film, didn't make the Best Picture selection of the local awards show. One has to imagine that the film's contentious subject matter, criticised by some as a callous display of toxic masculinity, may have something to do with it. Over the last year, there's been a drive to give voice to the victims of sexual violence, rallying against the abuse of women and children. Within this context, there would probably be some outrage over a film like Knuckle City winning Best Picture.

Some of these women happened to be boxers, who became victims of such abuse at the hands of men. Perhaps the selectors decided that nominating Knuckle City for Best Picture would be in bad taste based on current trends. The film has earned nominations in virtually every category, making this snub both contentious and political, especially in light of its selection as our Oscar hopeful.

Another film, which should have garnered a Best Picture nomination is Christiaan Olwagen's stage play adaptation of Die Seemeeu. A stellar and unconventional drama using free-flowing cinematography and touching on some deeper strains of drama, it's uncharted territory for South African film. Moreover, having Olwagen's Poppie Nongena in the running may have made a double nomination seem conspicuous. Both Knuckle City and Die Seemeeu are pushing the boundaries of local film-making, crafting bold and relentless dramas that are ahead of their time, too big or niche for our local awards show to truly appreciate.

Here's a list of the film nominees at this year's event.

Best Achievement in Directing - Feature Film

Fiela se Kind - Brett Michael Innes
Knuckle City - Jahmil X.T. Qubeka
Poppie Nongena - Christiaan Olwagen

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting

Fiela se Kind - Brett Michael Innes
Knuckle City - Jahmil X.T. Qubeka
Poppie Nongena - Christiaan Olwagen and Saartjie Botha

Best Actress - Feature Film

Sandra Prinsloo, Die Seemeeu
Zenobia Kloppers, Fiela se Kind
Clementine Mosimane, Poppie Nongena

Best Actor – Feature Film

Albert Pretorius, Die Seemeeu
Stian Bam, Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer
Bongile Mantsai, Knuckle City

Best Supporting Actress - Feature Film

Cintaine Schutte, Die Seemeeu
Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Poppie Nongena
Elize Dunster, Skemerson (Sun, Cry, Moon)

Best Supporting Actor - Feature Film

Wayne van Rooyen, Fiela se Kind
Patrick Ndlovu, Knuckle City
Thembekile Komani, Knuckle City

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Skemerson (Sun, Cry, Moon), William Collinson
Poppie Nongena, Victoria Turpin
Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer, Willie Nel
Fiela se Kind, Tom Marais
Knuckle City, Willie Nel

Best Achievement in Editing

Back of the Moon, Sibongeleni Mabuyakhulu & Megan Gill
Fiela se Kind, Cornelius Abraham van Aswegen
Cut-Out Girls, Brett Rayner
Knuckle City, Layla Swart
Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer, Warrick Allan

Best Achievement in Production Design

Knuckle City, TK Khampepe & Justice Nhlapo
Fiela se Kind, Chantel Carter
Back of the Moon, Dylan Lloyd
Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer, Chantel Carter

Best Achievement in Make Up and Hairstyling

An Act of Defiance, Julia Rubinstein
Zulu Wedding, Bongi Mlotshwa
Poppie Nongena, Gale Shepherd
Fiela se Kind, Maritsa Maritz
Knuckle City, Carol Babalwa Mtshiselwa

Best Achievement in Directing – Documentary Feature

Buddha in Africa - Nicole Schafer
Dying for Gold - Catherine Meyburgh and Richard Pakleppa
The Fun's Not Over - The James Phillips Story - Michael Cross

Best Documentary Feature

Buddha in Africa - Thinking Strings Media
Dying for Gold - Breathe Films
Sound of Masks - Lionfish Productions
The Fun's Not Over - The James Phillips Story - Rogue Productions

Best Short Film

Die Begrafnis
Joko Ya Hao
The Letter Reader