CityVarsity hosts film festival

CityVarsity film student Kristen Jaftha sells popcorn to raise funds for the end of the year student films.

CityVarsity held an international student film festival on July 20.

The festival screened 46 narrative films, documentaries and music videos produced by student filmmakers from CityVarsity, the Animation School, Goldsmiths London University, the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking, Livify Africa, AFDA and RAW.

Ghaniya Ceres, a production assistant at CityVarsity, said the festival was an opportunity for students to expand their work outside of class.

“That was the idea behind it, to have a place for students to come and show their work to the public instead of just to their peers or to the lecturers or to their family.

“To show to other people and get some feedback and giving them a chance to network with people from other schools.”

Ms Ceres said the festival could help spread awareness of creative careers. Ten years ago, Ms Ceres said, filmmaking was considered a risky career that would not make money.

“But nowadays it’s a big thing. Creatives make money, there’s a big industry in South Africa for filmmakers which is amazing.”

With more international films shooting in South Africa, such as Netflix’s The Kissing Booth, Ms Ceres said film students had more opportunities than before.

Andrea Hogg, a CityVarsity film student, was involved in the festival from the beginning. Ms Hogg said the festival was an interesting challenge to put together.

“If you attach ‘student’ to a film, often you would find disinterest in the community. Which is a pity because of course we’re just learning ourselves.”

Ms Hogg said that although students could receive criticism from peers, public reaction was valuable feedback.

Motsiba Sesiu, also a film student at CityVarsity, said most students had never had a platform for their creations.

“For me, I would create a short film and I would just post it online, like on my YouTube channel, wherever I can just so other people can see it. For the majority of us, that’s what we do.”

Ms Hogg said many students could not enter their work in festivals because they lacked funding.

“Film festivals themselves are so expensive to enter. A lot of people don’t know that.

“They think they can just enter film festivals but it’s a lot of money. So a student film festival in which everything was done for free is just a great opportunity.”

Mr Sesiu said he expected the festival to grow in the next few years.

“This is just the first one
and I’m pretty sure that this is going to snowball into something bigger.”

Although the festival screened films from Goldsmiths London University, Ms Ceres said she hoped to expand the festival to include more international schools in the next few years.

“We’re hoping to grow in the future because obviously this was our first one. We’re trying things out, we’re seeing what works and what doesn’t.”