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Bumping into Reality, Brutal Realism and Bafundi 2009: Some Thoughts on a Student Film Festival

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The 2009 Bafundi Film Festival held in Johannesburg provided a platform where various issues with regards to film were aired and contested. Students were given a taste of the filmmaking world in South Africa and an opportunity to engage with the film and television industry. This review outlines the major issues that emerged in the discussion and screening sessions. The main theme which ran throughout the festival emerged through the engagement of students who were oriented towards either a theoretical or practical background. The review argues that a singular approach to filmmaking education is not sufficient for equipping students for the real world. Rather, an inclusive approach is preferred. Examples from the festival are discussed and reveal the tensions that exist between practical and theoretical film education. Participatory filmmaking is provided as an example of one approach to filmmaking which can overcome various theoretical and technical issues that one may encounter in filmmaking, particularly ethnographic filmmaking. The tensions that exist between aesthetics and ethics are also highlighted and discussed through the use of various case studies in the review. The main argument of this review is that students need to understand more than just how to press camera buttons; a heuristic engagement with the world of filmmaking will reveal that making a film does not start and end with recording and screening. Rather, filmmaking as a concept needs to explored by students in order to make films of significance and quality.
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Keywords: audiences; circuit of culture; film aesthetics; film education; film ethics; participatory filmmaking

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film.
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