NFVFThe National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, hosted a public discussion on the problems and challenges facing women and young people in the film industry.

The NFVF Women and Youth, Our Heritage Indaba took place on Tuesday 25 September 2012 at the Main Change in the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg. The NFVF is a statutory body mandated by parliament to spearhead the development of the South African film and video industry.

Zama Mkosi, chief executive officer of NFVF, said in addition to the discussion, her organisation offers the Female Only Filmmaker Project, for which R5-million has been put aside to support the production of 10 films by women over a period of five months.

Last year’s discussion of the same kind, held in August, was meant as a celebration of Women’s Month. The decision to hold it September, Heritage Month, this year was to encourage South Africans at large to think hard about their heritage, said NFVF chairperson Mmabatho Ramagoshi, and what they would want to leave behind for future generations.

Lindi Ndebele-Koka, reading a statement on behalf of Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Dr Joe Phaahla, said the role of women in the film industry is one that cannot be taken for granted.

“It has to be encouraged and stimulated through government intervention if we are to fully develop the productive and creative capacity that is possible for the sector within the South African economy,” she said.

She added that another key factor is the role of youth development as a means to fuel social and economic transformation in the sector, especially by honing in on exploring the talent base from the underprivileged.

The film industry contributes substantially to the cultural life of the country’s citizens, while also supporting job creation through its relationships with other cultural and service industries.

Ndebele-Koka went on to explain: “We know that within the cultural industries, film contributes a significant turnover towards the GDP and has shown itself to be a driver of new opportunities in allied industries thus being an important factor in employment and productivity growth.”

“The NFVF is playing a critical role in the film industry in furthering the imperative through various programmes.”

Ndebele-Koka stressed her hope that through the discussion process, the dialogue would bring about meaningful interaction, expose expectations of government in enabling growth and assisting with the eradication of blockages where women and youth are concerned in the industry.

“It is essential from a government point of view that we constantly question, examine and deepen our understanding of the industry to ensure that we meet the overall imperatives which we set ourselves,” she said.

“More importantly, the department is more reachable and open in order to deliver in a way that is impactful to the film industry.”