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LAUNCH OF KWACINEMA (article first published : 2007-03-18)

As part of the re-structuring of the quaint Kwasuka theatre in Greyville Durban, a film initiative has been launched – aptly named KwaCinema – which will have its first weekend screenings from March 23 to 25.

Local theatre producer Themi Venturas has recently taken over the venue and is determined to see it used as a communal creating space – especially for emerging, new, young and adventurous work in various genres. Specialist teams have been created to ensure that no genre is ignored, with the focus now being on innovative theatre, dance, music and film – all with the emphasis on new and local work.

Karen Logan and Neil Coppen head up the film division (KwaCinema) and their mission is to create a meeting place whereby Durban film-makers and film enthusiasts will be able to screen and discuss cinema and have a forum to experiment with locally made film.

Now known as The Kwasuka Cutting Edge Theatre, it is an ideal venue for such an undertaking. Just down the road from Bean Bag Bohemia (corner of Stamford Hill Road) and with a fully stocked bar, renovations have been made to transform the old church hall-come-theatre into a comfortable and informal meeting point for local artists and audiences (already dubbed the KwaClub House). The intimate theatre seats 115 people and Neil and Karen are currently sourcing a projector and screen as well as developing interest and support for the project.

The division aims at organizing regular film festivals centred on diverse filmic mediums such as animation, documentary, music video, shorts, full length, arthouse, experimental as well as commissioning local film initiatives. To this end, they are planning The One Minute Fixed Frame Film Festival planned for the near future. The organisers are currently searching for interested parties to climb a board and assist in utilising this space and opportunity.

“Durban offers very little support to local film makers. The KwaCinema initiative aims to provide a valuable networking point whereby filmmakers will be able to discuss and receive feedback on their films,” says Neil Coppen. “So if you feel like you'd like to be involved in the project, as a film maker, or interested audience member then please let us know and we'll keep you informed of up and coming events. If there's any avenue of film you would like to explore, or a work you are keen on screening and discussing or even a mini festival you would like to organize then please send suggestions and proposals to this email address – kwacinema@gmail.com”

“Dates to diarize this month are March 23, 24 and 25. This will be used as an opportunity to meet members of the community as well as discuss the future of the initiative. Films screened over this weekend will be centred on the documentary - local and international. If you have a project or suggestion you wish to include in the programme, please let us know. This is a communal effort and its success depends entirely on the film community’s submissions and suggestions,” Neil adds.

“A project like this can only work with the participation and enthusiasm of independent Durban film-makers and audiences. Rather than this being a flash in the pan idea, we sincerely hope the KwaCinema will become the premier independent screening and meeting point for independent film makers “




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