By Lauren Granger
Pics: Stacey Burton
Champagne, stilettos and a red carpet were the order of the night for the third RUTV4 documentary film festival. The event, which took place at a packed Roxbury theatre on 14 October, provided an opportunity for the award-winning fourth year TV journalism class to showcase their work.
According to TV journalism lecturer Paul Hills, The night was an “outstanding success”. The 11 short films were shown in all three of Roxbury’s screening rooms simultaneously, allowing audiences to see the students’ work. “It was enjoyable and scary, all at the same time,” says Rulleska Singh, a fourth year student and organiser of the film festival. The exceptional five to 24-minute films varied greatly in subject matter and approach, impressing audiences with the high standard of journalism they displayed. “I was so stunned by the films,” said second year student Joanne Proctor, “I walked out of there and I was like, wow, that was amazing.”
Topics of the documentaries included the Rastafari community in Knysna, the story of a local prostitute, the love, marriage and future parenthood of an HIV positive couple, the near-extinction of rhinos in Zimbabwe, celibacy as well as an undercover investigation into illegal abortions in Grahamstown. Some of the people featured in the films attended the event, including ‘Charl’, whose decision to live in the township instead of central Grahamstown was discussed in the documentary Good Fences. He admitted that having his life displayed to hundreds of strangers made him “nervous and embarrassed”, but that he was ultimately content with the way the film was produced.
The line-up also included a documentary by FAB Productions. These students, Gabrielle Gray, Demelza Bush and Ashleigh Nash won 1st prize in the “TV Current Affairs” category for their film Food Crisis at this year’s SABC News Awards. The Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies dominated the student journalism categories at the awards in September. “We came first, second and third,” says Hills. “I hope we get some competition from other schools next year – it’s getting a bit boring,” he joked. FAB Productions received R10 000 in prize money for their documentary, which highlighted the poverty issues in South Africa.