Janet King, a winner of "Best Original Score" with the film Sanctuary in the M-Net EDiT (Emerging Dynamics in Television) Awards, believes this student competition provides an invaluable opportunity for film students to produce projects in real-world situations, as well as preparing them for working in the film industry.

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Janet King
"From our initial pitches for M-Net, to script development and waiting to be green-lighted, we had to be constantly aware of the need to meet the requirements of the funder and target audience," she commented.

Janet, who has just completed a BADA at Wits University, specialised in Television Production which is offered by Wits School of Arts, TV Division.

"Working with a R40 000 budget also influenced our decision making on the project and we realised how tough it was to make the money stretch. The possibility of our work being broadcast nationally though was a huge incentive for us to push our limits in every aspect of the production process."

King said she and her colleagues learnt valuable lessons from their EDiT commissioning editor, Anka Prinsloo. For King, Prinsloo's input regarding script discussions was critical.

"It is through her that I became sensitised to the importance of the audience, something that students don't really consider in many film schools.  This is because the audience for most student projects is usually other students and academics."

In King's view, the competition shows a genuine commitment from M-Net to the development of young film-makers and therefore to the quality of film and television in South Africa in the future.  She would love to see the competition grow to enable more student projects to be funded. Besides discovering talent, she believes that this would contribute to the level of competence in the South African film and television industry.

Besides, M-Net, Janet's film production crew had the support and expertise of the WSOA TV staff as well as the use of their equipment for the duration of their project.  "Particularly Ian Walters, the student production coordinator and Khalid Shamis, our course coordinator gave generously of their time and advice.   In terms of equipment, it was particularly helpful that MCC (now MFS), gave us a huge student discount for additional equipment.  MCC has always been sympathetic to student budgets and thereby makes a contribution to development in the SA film industry," she noted.

Since graduating, King has been working as production manager on a short film Jackpot, starring Tobie Cronje and Sylvaine Strike and directed by Damon Heatlie.   She is also doing research for her own screenplay, a South African action-comedy.  "I never considered writing an action script because it's a genre I seldom watch nor comedy because it's too hard to write. But it's one of those ideas that popped into my head and refuses to leave me alone.  I hope to have the opportunity to spend much time writing and producing this film, after which I expect I'll return to writing drama."

In Focus asked King about her favourite shoot location so far in Gauteng. Her answer: on top of The Lister Building in the Jozi CBD, at a venue Private Practice.

"On the day we were up there shooting our documentary, the weather conspired to provide us with perfect lighting - even cloud cover let through plenty of soft light in the afternoon.  The Jozi city-scape surrounded us fading into a pinkish sunset, framing and complementing the glossy russet of our subject's hair. The city-scape was transformed again as the light faded further and columns of square lights popped out all around us in the darkness from near to far."