NEWF 2018 N.E.W Pitch Finalists Announced

DURBAN: The NEWF N.E.W Pitch short documentary pitching competition aimed at discovering the next generation or nature, environment, wildlife conservation filmmakers, has announced the 2018 finalists.
The N.E.W Pitch is one of the key sessions at the Nature Environment and Wildlife Filmmakers Congress (NEWF) taking place from 16 – 18 July at Durban Botanic Gardens and surrounds – as part of Durban’s city-wide mid-year extensive focus on film.
The N.E.W Pitch is targeted particularly towards emerging and student filmmakers in order to provide them with pitching experience and the opportunity to win a production grant to produce a short documentary film in this genre.
An unprecedented nine finalists were chosen by a carefully-selected panel of experts “We were intending to award eight finalists the opportunity to make a N.E.W documentary short film, but the panel were so impressed with the level of commitment, professionalism and great ideas of the final nine candidates, that they made the unanimous choice to award all nine finalists the opportunity to pitch, not eight as planned,” explains Noel Kok, NEWF Programmes Director.
“Of the entries we received, we had over 30 really good entries all of whom were possible contenders for our eight finalists. Even veteran film makers applied. The judges were enormously excited about the level, passion and professionalism of entries received, and observed that the overall quality has grown substantially This year we received entries from out of KZN and even out of South Africa – including Tanzania and Botswana,” said Kok.
“Geographically we have a finalist from Bostwana; one from Limpopo province; two from Cape Town and five from greater Durban.”
Finalists are: Londiwe Shange from KZN with “Toxic Relations” about life in the South Durban basin; Myles Arendse from Western Cape with “The Eco Brick” which will help us re-evaluate our relationship with trash; Jessica Singh from KZN with “Epic Encounters” looking at saving Africa’s deadliest snakes; Liana Hassim from KZN with “Vida” a homeless woman representing Mother Earth and the challenges she faces; Surprise Matlaila from Limpopo with “Silent Victims” looking at the poaching of African vultures; Tessa Barlin from Western Cape with “Becoming One” a story about Lucky Mahlatsi Rapitsi who empowers rural children through nature and wildlife photography; Emily Cross from KZN with “Part of the Pack” about the African Wild Dog; Tumo Maokisa from Botswana with “When We Worked Away” about sustainable organic farming; and Brian Khawula from KZN with“Umelusi” about lessons learned from a rural cattle herder.
“Last year this time the industry had four less nature, environment and wildlife filmmakers, but as a result of the N.E.W. Pitch there are new entrants into the industry all of whom are using the medium of film to highlight important issues”.
During the NEWF Congress, the nine finalists will be invited to participate in a pitching session before a live judging panel. Coming out of the pitch session, four winners will be selected to win R50 000 each to develop and produce their documentary short. The four winners will have access to mentorship during the production of their shorts. The films need to be completed within a year, and the four films will be combined into a once-off 48-minute TV documentary, which will be broadcast on national television.
This year NEWF delegates will also vote for their favourite pitch and the winning filmmaker will be recognised with a coveted audience award.
During the 2018 NEWF Congress, the winners of last year’s Pitch will screen their film for the first time. The winners of last year’s competition were, Fidel Tshivhasa for his story on the humpback whale migration that takes place in KZN; Shivan Parusnath for an undercover look at the illegal reptile trade, Mikhale Singh whose project is about the endangered Pickersgills’ Reed frog and the Ashdown and Imbali EnviroChamps (Liberty NPO and DUCT) who are a group of individuals working to protect the wetlands and rivers in their area. These four films are all now complete and will be premiered at a public screening on Durban’s New Beach on July 17.
“The Congress promotes outstanding environmental, conservation and wildlife films from professional, aspiring and student filmmakers. It will contribute towards transformation through our developmental programmes aimed at enriching the industry with an increased pool of diverse content creators,” he said.
For more info email or contact Pragna on 064 294 0669.

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