Happiness is a Four-Letter Word - supported by M-Net
Local box-office hit Happiness is a Four-Letter Word is one of 40 theatrical feature films that have benefited from M-Net backing over the last three years.

M-Net has issued a call for local storytellers to submit original ideas for "authentically South African" contemporary films in any South African vernacular language, including Afrikaans.

The pay-television broadcaster is on the hunt for feature films in certain comedy and action sub-genres, as well as films based on successful vernacular novels that can be adapted for cinema.

The stories should be "authentically South African, reflecting our current reality and be void of sensationalism and cultural stereotypes", M-Net said in a statement published on DStv's news page on 5 October.

Pitches should demonstrate a keen understanding of the relevant genre, M-Net said, adding that the music should be reflective of the story "and include as many relevant South African music tracks as possible".

Romantic, family or 'edgy' comedies, suspense and adventure films

The sought after comedy sub-genres are romantic comedy, wholesome family comedy, or "smart and edgy comedy aimed at an adult audience that reflects modern trends in cinema, but with a fresh local flair".

Under action, proposals are invited for suspense thrillers and adventure films. The former should have an unpredictable and complex plot built on narrative tension, mystery, fascination, anxiety "or any of those elements that create nail-biting moments". And the latter should feature strong characters and an exotic setting or unconventional backdrop.

Over the past three years, M-Net has backed more than 40 theatrical feature films under the M-Net Movies, Mzansi Magic and kykNET Films banners. These have included a number of movies with strong Gauteng connections, notably the local box-office success Happiness is a Four-Letter Word, and Akin Omotoso's latest movie Vaya, which was invited to premiere at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

'Fantastic opportunity for new filmmakers'

The list also includes Noem My Skollie, which was recently chosen as South Africa's official entry in the best foreign film category for the 2017 Academy Awards.

"We are incredibly proud of the slate of films linked to our stable, and it's encouraging to know that plenty of these beautifully made movies have been the handiwork of first-time directors or screenwriters," M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle said in the statement.

"In our quest to continue to add value to the local film landscape, we have identified some specific gaps. Hence the decision to give local movie makers another opportunity to pitch their ideas for great new films," Phahle said.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for new filmmakers to break into the industry, or for veterans to get the green light on their next big film."

Proposals should be submitted via the M-Net Commissioning Portal on the M-Net Corporate site, where more information on M-Net's requirements, examples of movies within the genres, the intended target audiences, and the way the proposals should be submitted can also be found.

The closing date for submissions is 14 November.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission