South Africa: The NFVF announces the six Blingola Female Only Project


The NFVF is proud to present six (6) short films by Emerging South African women under the theme Negotiating Spaces. The project was introduced earlier in the year and female filmmakers invited to apply for an opportunity to be considered for the project.

The Female Only Filmmaker Project was launched as a valuable intervention by the NFVF to provide female entrants into the industry, particularly those from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, with an opportunity to make a film in collaboration with other women. Successful applicants were guided in the development of their stories into a 24-27minute script over a period of 5 months.

The series of six 24-minute films explore themes that look at the values and expectations of modern African women today. How do women negotiate their position as mothers, wives, daughters, career women and professionals, girls – in an ever-changing society? The pressures and expectation imposed by society on women requires them to continuously negotiate and navigate their place and position within their own personal desires. Themes such as Family (responsibility and expectation); Taboos (cross cultural); Love (dating across the colour bar/); Life lessons (lived experiences and how they mold us); the heroine inside and outside the family etc. - are just some of the themes explored. Told from a female perspective, the films promise to resonate with audiences today with the audiences recognizing both themselves and their friends in.

Evelyn and Tapiwa

Evelyn is an old domestic worker whose strength is failing. She lives in the servant’s quarters in Darla’s house where she cleans and looks after the family. Her life is comprised of this work, trying to raise her grandchildren from afar, her devotion to God and hopes to set up a goat farming business back home. One day Evelyn causes a terrible accident that forces Darla to dismiss her. Even though she is aware of her advanced age and the waning of her strength, Evelyn needs this job to make a living and take care of her family. For Darla, the choice is a difficult one, but must be made – Evelyn can no longer take care of her children. Evelyn is tasked with showing her replacement, a young girl named Tapiwa, the ropes. As Tapiwa settles into this household, Evelyn gathers up pieces of her life and prepares to leave. As she spends the day with Tapiwa, Evelyn’s resentment slowly grows to kindness as she realises that Tapiwa is at the beginning of a journey she’s travelled. Slowly Evelyn begins to empathize with Tapiwa and gain acceptance of the fact that her time to move on has come. The story chronicles ends and beginnings and is a window into the lives of the women occupying this house. Written by Tiny Mungwe and Directed by Samantha Nell

Panic Button

From the moment Tshepo, the security guard, breaks through her multi-locked door to save her, Jenny, feels as if she has been swept off her feet. But as she imagines herself falling in love with him, we can see an unhealthy, delusional obsession taking shape. She uses any excuse to see Tshepo, even going to the extent of destroying the alarm system that her security relies on. She has never been happier, or more inspired. But the gap between what is real and what is fantasy is widening, until Jenny can no longer tell the difference. Ultimately she discovers that Tshepo delivers the same service to her as he does to all the houses in the development. With her dream of romance in tatters, she confronts him, and in a moment of madness does what she has always feared someone would do to her. Finally she stands over his seemingly lifeless body, and presses her panic button. As the alarm sounds we know that fresh security are minutes away. Panic Button is written and directed by Libby Dougherty.

The Fall of Ganesh

The Fall of Ganesh is a short film that centers on the desire of a young Indian woman Amira, to host a Diwali dinner in order to mark a turning point in her life and announce her engagement to her friends and family. For an Indian woman, hosting a Diwali function is a kind of rite of passage signifying womanhood and Amira wants to demonstrate that she truly has turned a new leaf. The dinner invariably leads to a host of unexpected conflicts whereby Amira discovers that her father does not approve of their union. She is left constantly negotiating new and unexpected spaces to make it through the evening that culminates with a violent confrontation with her neighbors over a fireworks display. Sheetal Megan is the writer and director of The Fall of Ganesh

A Cup of Sugar

A few months after moving into a new community, Dipuo Motloung gets a knock on her door, from her neighbour, who borrows a cup of sugar. Martha Madumo is divorced, and for a former housewife, it’s not easy to adapt. Her husband was abusive, and when she finally got the courage to leave him, he ensures she’s left in the gutter. Her 14-year-old daughter, Malefu Madumo (14) is adding to her mom’s stress, as she’s dating a married man. Dipuo, who’s a social worker, helps Martha open a statutory rape case. That way this abusive man can be arrested. It’s when her husband, Tshepo Motloung (43) comes back after a long trip, is arrested that the culprit molesting Malefu is revealed. Can she be supportive of the neighbour now that her own marriage has been turned upside down? Nomcebo Ngema is the Writer and Xolile Tshabalala the Director

The Initiate

When Rethabile, a young ambitious girl, finds out days before her traditional coming of age Sotho ceremony that she is pregnant, a series of disastrous and hilarious events unfold as she tries to keep the secret from her controlling father. The ceremony is one that will transform this young girl into a woman, but the risk of partaking in the ceremony will shame her father and her family. Will she keep the child, or will she keep the secret long enough to realize what it takes to be a woman. Keitumetsi Qhali is the Writer and Director of The Initiate.

Nomalanga and the Witch

UNomalanga and her husband move into a small neighbourhood and begin to settle in. UNomalanga’s neighbours pique her curiousity when they gossip about the strange woman who lives across the street, who has recently been widowed and whom everyone suspects of using her dark powers to kill her husband. Being an outsider herself, UNomalanga goes to extend a hand of friendship to the widow, but soon finds herself drawn to the mysterious woman. A friendship develops between them, which UNomalanga tries to keep secret from her husband and from her new community of friends. She spends hours with Salome, who passes the time by plaiting her hair into tendrils, branches and strange constructions that UNomalanga then takes down when she gets back home. Soon, their easy exchanges turn towards deeper held secrets and their friendship slips quietly into a love affair. Now, turbulent currents of desire, fear, guilt and an unknown joy threaten to overcome UNomalanga’s otherwise still-water world. She cannot reconcile her new appetites with the carefully guarded virtues of a good, pious woman – a woman of God – and finds her new interest in Salome beset by questions and rumors and the serious possibility of being discovered for what it really is. In uNokulunga, two very different women are bound together by love and desire and must address the serious implication of their connection in a world that will not readily forgive their transgressions. Nomalanga and the Witch is written and directed by Palesa Shongwe.

Source: Filmcontact 17 November 2014