The award-winning film Skin, currently on circuit in South Africa, is being utilised as a tool to expose South Africans at a young age to cinema. Recently shown to 412 grade 12 pupils from

Grade 12 learners to see the film Skin
disadvantaged areas in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, the initiative is part of the National Film and Video Foundation's (NFVF) audience development programme.

The NFVF subsidised the ticket prices for the schools and covered all the travelling costs to the screening venues. The foundation plans to extend this pilot programme to other regions in the future.

The purpose is not only to promote the film but also to make South Africans aware of local productions and expose South Africans at a young age to cinema. The foundation's theme for this year is 'Taking Cinema to the People' and the initiative fits in perfectly with the theme.

"This is the kind of film and story that needs to be told, that our country needs to hear, our citizens need to interact with and our schools need to prescribe to our learners," says Eddie Mbalo, NFVF CEO.

"This was an experiment as the first film to be distributed by the NFVF under the New Ventures department headed by Ryan Haidarian.

"We are very pleased with the response and see exercises like the schools outing as key in developing new audiences," says New Ventures department head Ryan Haidarian. "To hear how matriculants responded to seeing their own images on the big screen and to marvel at how spectacular the cinema viewing experience was for the majority of whom had never been to the cinema makes it clear that not only did the outing give an opportunity for young South Africans to explore their past, but converted them into live-long cinema goers. We have 412 new cinemagoers from one outing. Imagine what similar initiatives with big blockbusters can do for new audience development," he said.

Source: Biz Community, 11 February and 17 February 2010