March 22, 2017

Reel Epics wins at SAFTAs

We won not one… not two… no, actually it was just two Golden Horns at this year’s SAFTAs (South African Film and Television Awards) for two different films. My, are we stoked! The event was held at Sun City over three days. The technical awards (including all awards in the Documentary Short category) were held on Thursday 16 March where we won Best Achievement in Directing in a Documentary Short for Six to Six (directed by Mia Cilliers).

The main televised event was on Saturday night (18 March) where Finding Freedom (feature-length documentary) won in the Best Student Film category (directed by Roxanne Dalton). Unfortunately, Rox couldn’t attend but Mia was there in full regalia to accept the award on her behalf (thanks also to Margriet Vollgraaff for the loan of her gorgeous outfits). Hosted by the National Film and Video Foundation, nominees and guests were also treated to a Beach Party in the Valley of the Waves on the Friday night with DJs, a delicious buffet dinner, and lifeguards to ensure intoxicated guests didn’t take a dip in the wave pool.

The SAFTAs are key event in the film industry calendar and glitzy to the max. The red carpet gets rolled out and celebrities don glamorous outfits by top designers (step aside, Oscars!). It’s a great networking opportunity and a chance for casts and crews to reconnect (often many months, even years) after production of their projects have ceased.

Check out more pictures of the event under #saftas11 on Instagram.

More about the films

Six to Six is an intimate look into the night shift of one of Cape Town’s busiest mortuaries, revealing the human and often humorous side of working with the aftermath of loss. The film paints a portrait of three forensic pathology officers who spend night after night, waiting for people to die.

We spent over two years intermittently shooting with the mortuary staff, notably Pierre, Lungi and Taariq. The film plays with the idea of cycles: the cycle of day and night, of life and death, and the cyclical nature of long hard shift work. The narrative follows each of them as they attend to a different death scene in a vast and varied Cape Town. These scenes are intercut with slow moments at the mortuary itself as they wait for time to pass: doing paper work, cracking jokes, watching TV, etc.

We’d like to thank Forensic Pathology Services for giving us access to their world and sharing their experiences with us. Documentaries like this cannot be made without people given of themselves and we appreciate that endlessly.

Finding Freedom explores rehabilitation through the stories of Franklin and Malcolm, who after being released from South Africa’s notorious prison system, work to redefine the freedom that comes with life after a life sentence. Having undergone an intensive rehabilitation process with the SmilingOne Foundation, Franklin and Malcolm have committed to becoming ‘Change Agents’, those who dedicate their lives to inspiring change in themselves and their communities. It’s been ten years and through their twin passions of hip-hop and spinning cars, Franklin and Malcolm are forced to redefine what freedom really means to them and the responsibility that true freedom carries with it. Neither of them can foresee the challenges that life is about to throw their way, nor the people they will become as a result.

“Finding Freedom” screened at DIFF 2016.

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