Vodacom has stepped in to sponsor the Mobile Phone Film Competition with the Jozi Film Festival. So get out your cellphones and start making a masterpiece.


The inaugural Jozi Film Festival (JFF) this year was a great success, prompting the cellphone telecommunications group, Vodacom, to jump on board with a new competition category.

But hurry if you are interested in submitting your work. The Mobile Phone Film Competition opened on 15 November and closes on 30 December. The top 10 films will be uploaded to a dedicated YouTube site in January next year, where the public can vote via sms for their favourite film.

The best of the bunch will be screened at next year's Jozi Film Festival, running from 15 to 17 February 2013. "We love Jozi and we love film," says Lisa Henry, one of the festival's founding members. "A lot of people have aspirations about making a film. Here's your chance, Joburg."

She says the film can be about anything that inspires you, makes you happy or makes you sad. "A slice of life, a homage to your gogo, a rant about rush hour traffic, an ode to jacarandas: go mad, get creative, get out into our city and make a film on your phone," says Henry.

The films must be one to three minutes long and made in Johannesburg or by a Joburger anywhere. JFF sponsors Audio Network, a production music library, is also offering free music downloads to entrants and a R1 000 prize for Best Use of Music in a Mobile Phone Film.

All the info you need to enter can be found on the Jozi Film Festival website. The winners will be announced at the JFF closing ceremony, to be held at Villa Arcadia in Parktown on 17 February 2013. The top three entrants will each win a Blackberry 9790 and one year of RIM plus airtime courtesy of Vodacom; the winner will get R5 000 in cash from the Jozi Film Festival.

"In the past, a network provider might have exclusively used television and radio advertising to reach and impress potential consumers," says Vodacom's Sergio Martins, the brand manager for youth. "Now it's very different – it's about leadership, reaching the community, and building up the people we're talking to. Importantly, it's about putting into action rather than merely talking. Words are just words, nothing more. The youth respond to action, and companies have to be seen to be acting on their promises."

The Jozi Film Festival began in February 2012 with the South African premiere of Akin Omotoso's Man On Ground, which has been acclaimed all over the world. "It's time Johannesburg had something like this. I'm excited about the festival and hope it grows in the coming years. I love Joburg and I feel, as filmmakers, we haven't yet managed to fully capture its essence," says Omotoso.

"But I love the regeneration I'm seeing." It's this energy and creative passion that JFF aims to promote and foster.

Spearheaded by Henry, Shareen Anderson and Brendon Burmester, the festival was born out of a desire to create a platform for local talent and to reach new audiences by taking films to venues not traditionally associated with film.

Tickets for the festival are R20 and some screenings are free. Workshops will also be held during next year's three-day festival, taking place from 15 to 17 February, starting at The Bioscope Independent Cinema in Maboneng Precinct.