The Garden Route is a tourism gem with much to offer, including hiking trails in Heidelberg and Mossel Bay and water adventures from Witsand all the way to Plett.
“The Garden Route Film Office is fairly new – it is the first year where municipalities such as the Garden Route District Municipality and Mossel Bay Municipality joined forces to promote the Garden Route as a film destination,” shares Jeanetta Marais, a resident of the Garden Route for over 19 years and vice chairman of the Garden Route Film Office.
Marais and her team at the newly-established Garden Route Film Office have embarked on a marketing drive to position the region as a premium film destination, “We attended the Durban International Film Festival to market our region and have put together a 30-second ad that will be screening soon on DStv promoting the region,” she comments. “We are also planning to attend and take part in the inaugural Knysna Film Festival (KFF), creating awareness amongst our communities of the opportunities the film industry holds.”
Plett Food Film Festival patron, Lika Berning, is part of the Garden Route Film Office board and founder of iKasi Media, which offers film training programmes for unemployed youth from rural areas in the Garden Route. “We offer a 3-months NQF Level 4 training programme in Film, TV and Digital Media targeting unemployed youth. Our mission is to bring access and real transformation in the film industry. We focus on accessible skills like using your mobile phone to create content and practical, industry-linked skills to prepare learners to be on set. We also place learners on local and international productions in the region,” shares Berning.
In June this year, iKasi Media held a graduation ceremony that saw 22 of its learners graduate, with some selected to work at the Knysna Film Festival this year where four short films made by iKasi student directors will be screened.
“These [student films] can be seen on our YouTube Channel – iKasi Creative Media. We are also hosting screenings in the Knysna community for audiences who do not have access to the festival. Our line-up includes Mama Africa, a documentary about the life of Miriam Makeba by Mika Kaurismäki, and Have you Heard from Johannesburg: Oliver Tambo by Connie Field. These films are supplied by AfriDocs,” explains Berning.
iKasi Media has also partnered with KFF to offer workshops to young people at the festival. “We will be running a five-day orientation programme to introduce the youth to career opportunities in the Film and Television industry. The training includes an overview of the script to screen process, Mobile Journalism and Set Etiquette,” shares Berning. “The programme is part of our recruitment and selection process for the MICT Seta accredited training, which takes place in Thembalethu George.”
Image: Warner Bros MGM