The fourth South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) judging phase began on 1 September 2009, with 221 entries, across 18 genres in television and film, submitted from South African production companies and broadcasters alike. The SAFTAS 2010 will take on the theme of National Identity.

Two new chairpersons, Paul Raleigh, southern African director of Film Finances SA, and Coco Cachalia, CEO of Kagiso TV & Communications, will oversee the judging process. Spearheaded by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) CEO, Eddie Mbalo, the SAFTAs committee appointed Raleigh and Cachalia, whose experience in the film and television industry spans more than a combined period of 50 years.

"The committee is thrilled to have Paul and Coco on board, who both have extensive experience in the film and television sectors. Both are knowledgeable specialists in these fields, and we have confidence that they will lead the judging panel diligently," commented Mbalo.

"The SAFTAS are a very important event in the South African film and television calendar as they recognise the excellent work produced by our practitioners. I wish to thank all the judges who generously give of their time to ensure that this event enjoys the respect of the industry," said Raleigh.

Seventy judges, specialists in the fields of television and film, will select the best of South African productions, focusing on critique of excellence in scripts and/or content, creativity and execution. The judging process will end on 31 October, when judges will decide upon the nominees.

The category of Lifetime Achievement recognises outstanding achievers in the film and television industries and is open to the public to nominate individuals, who have continued to surpass expectations and make outstanding contributions in the industry. Nominations for this category will be open until 31 December.

For more, go to www.nfvf.co.za/saftas.