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SMILE WINS M-NET EDiT AWARD (article first published : 2007-05-27)

The M-Net EDiT (Emerging Dynamics in Television) Awards were held last month in Sandton.

M-Net flew Janet van Eeden, part-time lecturer in Scriptwriting in the Drama and Performance Studies UKZN PMB, and one of the students involved in the project, James Engelbrecht, to Johannesburg for the event.

They wanted to fly both Janet van Eeden (supervisor of the EDiT project in KZN) and Johann Hymann, the writer and director of the film SMILE, to the awards but Hymann had other commitments so he nominated James Engelbrecht (assistant director on the film, to go in his place.

The EDiT Awards are launched every year and are open to tertiary institutions around the country. What they require is a treatment of the script of a film from the students of film. A treatment is a specialised film proposal which Janet van Eeden teaches in the scriptwriting course. She submitted five treatments from the scriptwriting students last year. Johann Hymann’s treatment for the film SMILE was chosen from hundreds of submissions and he was given R40,000 to make his film which had to be no less than fourteen minutes long. Five student film-makers received this bursary from around the country.

Johann Hymann cast the play with the help of Sarah Roussouw who was the casting director. The Media Department also offered their help and a few of their students, including James Engelbrecht, helped on the production side.

The M-Net-EDiT Award was given to the Department of Drama and Performance Studies for Best Acting in SMILE. It was an award for overall acting and is high praise indeed for the Department. As the current head of Drama, Veronica Baxter said when she heard the news, “Tell the world! We don’t even teach actors for the screen!”

Most of the actors came from the Department of Drama and Performance studies but there were a few people from outside as well. The lead actors were Mlondi Zondi and Buddy Gaylard. Smaller parts were played by Hazel Barnes, Mbo Mthshali, Arifani Moyo, Yithi Nshangase, Jackie Hirzel, Caitlin St Ledger, Jono Pike, Siyathokosa Keswa and Sipho Bosa. Terry Higginson, a local pharmacist, also played himself as his pharmacy was used in the film. A young Epworth school boy, Luthando Shange, also played a small role as the protagonist when he was young.

The Award consists of a solid glass and engraved award, a large framed certificate from M-Net, and R7,500 to go towards the Department of Drama and Performance Studies UKZN PMB.




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