SA film puts SADC on world map

>Sharon Kavhu

WINDHOEK-South African documentary film, “What’s The Frack?” has put the Southern African region on the international map by winning two awards in one week in the United States.

The documentary, which is produced by Mvura Ya Afrika (MYA) Productions, was accorded the Award of Excellence by the Headline International Film Festival and an Honourable Mention – John Muir Crystal Award at the Yosemite International Film Festival.

“We feel honoured with the way this documentary film is being received around the world.  Our goal is to equally showcase the film in our native South Africa and around Africa where the issue of fracking remains in the shadows of public consciousness,” said Francis Yannicq Hweshe , the producer.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

“What’s The Frack?” is made by an award-winning team comprising of producer, Hweshe, director Davison Mudzingwa (Zimbabwean based in South Africa) and director of photography Themba Vilakazi in partnership with the National Film and Video Foundation South Africa.

The documentary film follows the journey of Jonathan for nearly four years into his bid to stop fracking in South Africa. It is a narrative that takes audiences to Nigeria and the United States in a bid to explore the impact of the mining industry on the lives of local people.

As the narrative unfolds, the documentary features prominent South African anti-fracking activist Jonathan Deal, Nigerian environmental activist Barry Wugunaale and Khoi San leader, Chief Janjitie.

In an interview, Director of “What’s The Frack?” Davison Mudzingwa told The Southern Times that the documentary was recently screened at the International Environmental Film Festival (FICMA) in Barcelona.

“We’re glad with this international recognition. What’s more important is that the film has become a catalyst of the hydraulic fracturing discourse,” said Mudzingwa.

“There is a raging debate globally concerning the issue of energy sources and their contribution to sustainable development and the environment. What’s The Frack? comes at the right time to showcase and spark the debate over the impact of hydraulic fracturing. We feel honoured that this film has made impact in the world.”

The documentary film is produced in English and Afrikaans but it was translated to Spanish for the International Environmental Film Festival (FICMA) and the Human Rights Film Festival, both in Barcelona, Spain, which were held from November 3 to 11 this year.

The 89-minute film also made it at the Swedish Film Festival, Ekotop Environmental Festival in Czech Republic as well as the Kuala Lumpur Eko Film Festival in Malaysia in May.

Mudzingwa said the documentary film had its world premiere at the prestigious Cayman Islands International Film Festival earlier in July where it was nominated for best documentary.

“We are also planning to take it across communities in South Africa through a screening outreach programme so that people will have access to this film.”

November 2016
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