Tracing democracy's journey, telling a legislature's story
Desmond Mthembu (Senior Manager: Industry Support and Development at the GFC), Peter Skosana (Secretary to the GPL), Mahlengi Bhengu (Executive Director: Core Business Programme at the GPL), and GFC Chief Executive Officer Andile Mbeki at the special screening.

There was plenty of insight for the audience when the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) hosted a special screening of the documentary Democracy in Action: A Legislature's Story at the African Pride Hotel in Melrose Arch on Friday, 27 November.

The private viewing served as a curtain-raiser for the public launch of the documentary, which takes place at the Gauteng Legislature at 6pm on Thursday, 3 December.

Political figures, ordinary people

Produced by Global Access Telecommunications, with support from the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), Democracy in Action traces the evolution of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) from its beginnings at the Bullring in Nasrec in 1994, through its move to Johannesburg City Hall and up till the present.

This story is told through the eyes of various players involved in the creation of this core democratic institution, including some of the country's most prominent political figures, as well as ordinary community members who demonstrated democracy in action by contributing to the birth of the Legislature.

Giving the province's film makers and public officials the opportunity to interact
Giving the province's film makers and public officials the opportunity to interact.

The documentary showcases the legacy the Legislature is putting in place through oversight and scrutiny of the Executive, law making for the province, and fostering public awareness and participation in democracy in Gauteng.

Twenty years' worth of archive footage

Director and script writer Guy Slanders, speaking on the sidelines of Friday's viewing, said that putting the documentary together had been "an amazing experience" - and no easy feat, either.

"I think the biggest challenge was pulling together and compiling 20 years' worth of history and videos," Slanders said. "Finding a lot of the archive footage was difficult, and we had to go through the diaries of almost 40 politicians.

"Along with the GPL team, we worked around the clock to get the information, footage and history accurate and correct."

Enabling film makers, officials to interact

Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki said the GFC and GPL had worked together closely in the making of Democracy in Action.

Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki
'If we don't invest in our film makers, we won't get quality products' - Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki.

"We really want to take things to the next level, and so a lot more things are going to be happening with the GFC and the GPL, and people can expect many more products from this partnership," Mbeki said.

"We are going to be holding more and more private screenings, to give film makers and government officials a chance to interact and talk about film. If we don't invest in our film makers, we won't get quality products."

Mahlengi Bhengu, executive director of the GPL's Core Business Programme, said Democracy in Action would give viewers a sense of how far democracy had come in South Africa, and of the challenges the Legislature had overcome to reach where it was today.

"We hope this documentary will give audiences perspective on the long journey the GPL has come in working on the different mandates," Bhengu said.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission