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JACO BOUWER (article first published : 2007-10-25)

Jaco Bouwer, (34) the winner for the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama 2008, has embraced this discipline on all levels by winning awards for directing, design, music production and short films.

Jaco was born and schooled in Pretoria and attended the University of Stellenbosch initially to study Engineering with Applied Maths which is a far cry from where he is today. He subsequently changed his course and received an Honours Degree in directing (1996) at Stellenbosch University and then completed a Master’s Degree in 2000.

Jaco has become a master in his field – he performs and can direct anything from plays to video, animation, fashion shows, documentaries and films. Such is his talent and reputation that his professor, mentor and friend Marthinus Basson acts in the play Saad by Saartjie Botha, which he directed and which recently premièred at the Aardklop Festival in Potchefstroom.

“It has been an amazing experience directing my lecturer and mentor. Marthinus is someone I admire greatly and was proud that he respected me enough to agree to perform in my play. I have received nothing but encouragement and support during this project”, he said.

There have been a number of highlights during Jaco’s career. His first award in 1996 was the Mark Graham Award for the best student director at Stellenbosch University. He received the Slurpie Award for Grafwater in 2001; the Fleur du Cap Young Director Award for Spanner in 2002; the Smeltkroes Award for Verkeer 2005 and Best Experimental Short Film for I love you jet li in Santiago in 2006.

His winning streak continued in 2006 when he received the Kanna awards for Best Design and Best Music Production as well as the Kanna Herrie award, all for Altyd Jonker. In 2007 he was awarded the Fleur du Cap Award for best director for Altyd Jonker.

2007 has been a busy year for Jaco. He directed Brother Number with Rob van Vuuren and James Cairns, which played at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, ‘n Ander Tongval by Antjie Krog, Teer (Parasiten) by Marius von Mayenburg at the KKNK and Jampass in collaboration with the Remix Dance Company at the FNB National Dance Umbrella.

On receiving this award, Jaco explained, “I have always known about the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards in the various disciplines, but never dreamt that I could ever be a recipient. The recognition for me is the most important factor and I am looking forward to producing my own work for the Festival programme in 2008. I have done a lot of Afrikaans work and am thrilled to be able to produce work in English, as I do not wish to be known only for the work I do in Afrikaans.”




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