Coal Stove Pictures is a wholly black owned television and film production company based in Johannesburg. The company�s goal is to bring warmth and light into the lives of others through television and film entertainment. While Coal Stove Pictures produces television commercials, music videos and documentaries, their longest running project to date has been the well known, and much loved, film screening event �Off The Shelf� which takes place on the last Sunday of every month, bringing audiences the best short films by Mzansi's finest filmmakers . Recently Off the Shelf hosted the second Annual Coal Stove Awards. Scottness Smith, PRO from Coal Stove Pictures spoke to In Focus about the Awards and the future of the screenings.

�The future of the Coal Stove Awards is bright. We hope to grow the number of attending filmmakers to include regions beyond Gauteng�, says the youthful image maker.

According to Smith the vision is to eventually have Off The Shelf sessions in Cape Town and Durban before the year is out. To realize this, they already have a scheduled run at this year�s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown which takes place this month. Plans are also underfoot to have an Off The Shelf screening at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth in August this year. �So all in all, the Coal Stove Awards are likely to be a national event in a shorter time than anyone had anticipated.�

Meanwhile, the response to the screenings from Gauteng filmmakers has been �great� and came as a bit of a surprise as the founders thought �it would last a couple of nights.� Smith explains, �However, thanks to the enthusiasm of Gauteng filmmakers we are now well into our third year!�

Coal Stove screenings offer a wealth of independent filmmaking that have up to now had �little opportunity to shine� in the Province. The company has enjoyed significant help in funding the awards with grant assistance received from the Gauteng Film Commission. In addition Allister Maclaglan of Private Practice provides the venue at a reduced rate while the remaining costs are met by the company.

Plans are also in place to create a fund that will allow the company to directly plow back in to local film projects. �This is already underway with the launch of the Movie Economic Empowerment Project or �MEE� for short. MEE movies will see the winner of the Coal Stove People�s choice award being given the opportunity to direct a feature film as part of the honor of winning�, Smith says.

The first of these is in the script-writing stage with the winner of the people�s choice from the second Coal Stove Awards, Morne Du Toit, at the helm. Under the working title �Trapped� the project will be the first film to be produced as an outcome of the MEE initiative.

Coal Stove Pictures was the winner of the 2007 Business Day � BASA Award for Art Sponsorship by a Small Business and a finalist at the 2008 SAB KickStart Competition for Entrepreneurs.