Ten films of Love from ten Southern African countries

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Love - Stories, a series of 10 short films for television from 10 countries in southern Africa, will explore the many facets of love. In a time of HIV and AIDS, the series will tug at your heart strings and stir up your emotions. It will get you thinking and talking about who and how you love. It broadcasts on Wednesdays from 24 March on SABC1 at 20:30.

Each half-hour film depicts a slice of life: A woman tired of duty and trapped in a loveless marriage; a traditional wedding day that goes horribly wrong; a couple returning from a disastrous honeymoon; and a husband who is about to take a second wife. These are ten stories from ten countries, speaking of love and desire, secrets and lies in a time of HIV and AIDS.

The series is rooted in rich research, and forms part of OneLove, the largest cross border HIV prevention campaign in the region which is tackling head on the issue of multiple concurrent partners. The campaign, led by Soul City Institute in South Africa, works in partnership with nine other southern African countries as well as regional partners and has been rolling out since October 2008.

Love - Stories in a time of HIV and AIDS builds on the success of the Untold television Series which earned international recognition and was shown at film festivals in both Europe and America. Harriet Perlman, Head of the Soul City Regional Programme, explains: “Untold – stories in a time of HIV and AIDS, was our first regional film series for TV, which brought together stories from nine southern African countries. It was broadcast on public television in 2009 across nine countries in the region and research showed that the series was hugely successful. Audiences from across southern Africa identified with the films. The Untold series, developed in collaboration with Curious Pictures, also saw new and exciting talent emerge, both in front of and behind the camera. Many were first timers, who were part of our large-scale capacity building programme.”

Love – Stories in a time of HIV and AIDS, is also the culmination of an ambitious capacity building programme, in which 120 people (writers; producers; technical crew; and directors from 10 countries) were trained and mentored in the development and production of effective and entertaining drama. Training happened both in workshops and on location.

Perlman explains, “In collaboration with Curious Pictures, an intensive training programme was devised drawing on the skills and support from some of the best people in the industry.”

Yula Quinn, Series Producer, says the intention of the capacity building programme was to “transfer skills and enhance the film-makers abilities from script writing through to post-production, in a practical way. Learners were supported and mentored on pre- production; during filming; and in post-production by leading industry experts. After the filmmakers had done a rough cut in their own country, they were taken through the process of final editing in South Africa.”

Brent Quinn, a leading SA film and television writer and teacher, was head of story development on both Untold and the Love stories. He believes that the training is creating a solid foundation to build skills and careers in this region. ”It’s a whole new way to build national and regional capacity in film-making. There are very few opportunities for film makers to learn and show their work at the same time,” he says, “When the films have been shown to audiences, they have loved them. I believe that they could stand up to any film market in the world. Well written stories that resonate with audiences are so important in the fight against HIV and AIDS. These films are empowering new voices in the industry.”

These Love stories showcase films from Swaziland; South Africa; Botswana; Mozambique; Malawi; Zambia; Lesotho; Zimbabwe; Tanzania; and Namibia. All films have English subtitles.

The series is sponsored by BP and DFID.

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