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8th SAFTAs: A Review

The 8th South African Film and Television Awards took place yesterday (Saturday 5 April) at Gallagher Estate, in Midrand. And for once, it's wasn't as bad as we expected it to be.

It's always easy to find something wrong with the SAFTAs and it's mostly because they have left much to be desired over the past seven years. Not only have the awards had some of the worst MC's, the performances have been boring, uninspired and the awards have never screamed that they were about awarding the best in the South African film and television industry.

Even more ridiculous, is the constant silence regarding the MC's, the awards presenters, the red carpet coverage and the performers. Every year it's a struggle to get the NFVF to release details about the awards. 

However with that said, the awards were mostly impressive and that's thanks to the MC's. Finally the SAFTAs had MC's who not only were great, but were funny, were outrageous and could poke fun at themselves and the industry as a whole. 

Tumi Morake and Alan Committie were the MC's and we loved every minute of them on stage. Their chemistry and comedic timing was amazing and I could easily say that the SAFTAs can bring them back next year. 
From Tumi's ratchet jokes, to Alan's effervescent Tom-foolery, they were a joy and that's what we want from awards hosts. Awards are generally boring (the Oscars are such a snooze-fest) so when Alan started fake contemporary dancing? That was a stroke of genius!
We also loved it when they brought out pop corn for the guests. It's become a popular awards show gimmick (People's Choice Awards & Oscars) and we love that South Africa jumped on that bandwagon. So Tumi and Alan? Amazing!

The production itself was above expectations, with some nifty technology that allowed the hosts to be animated and juxtaposed into pictures and scenes from TV shows. For that, Clive Morris Productions deserve a pat on the back. 

The stage was beautiful. We loved the Pretty Yende's rendition of Ave Maria, which kick started the awards. What a coup in getting her to perform. 

Oh and the section were they had the ZA News do puppets of Lady Gaga and Charlize Theron? A stroke of genius and totally unexpected! That was funny.

Now not everything was rosy. The misspelling on some categories, the in memoriam section was riddled with spelling mistakes, which was rude. Surely someone could have double checked the names? It was a nice touch seeing Nelson Mandela at the end of the in memoriam section and the awards attendees standing up and singing. Salute. 

The presenters- surely they could've been brought out from the stage, instead of directly from their seats? It just wasted a whole lot of time and also brought some unnecessary dead air. 

Oh and the performers? We have so many South African musicians. Sometimes it would be great to get different, underexposed acts to perform. We are not only over Mi Casa performing at awards ceremonies, but we know what and how they are going to perform and sadly, the novelty is gone. Maybe next time, the entertainment would be getting some of the participants of South Africa's many reality show competitions to perform. Musa from Idols surely needed the exposure, not to mention getting the guys from last season of Strictly Come Dancing to perform a great dance piece. Or even Clash of the Choirs. Something else, that's theatrical and outside the box. 

When will government and business people stop forcing themselves to be seen at awards functions? We totally appreciate that they inject loads of money into the arts, film and TV and whole that's great, there really is no need for them to have speeches and also to give out awards. It just makes it irritating when the actors don't even know what to say to these suits. We saw it last night when Lindiwe Ndlovu was presenting the Best Actor/Actress awards with the Film and Publications Board's CEO, Themba Wakashe. he kept on rambling and then he just started laughing, which was awkward and then everyone was laughing to stop the awkwardness. 

We may be hard on the NFVF and that's because we expect them to be great at all times. Sadly that's not happening yet, but baby steps? Let's hope that next year will be much better.

Oh and we didn't ignore the red carpet. Check the next post to read what we think of it. 

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