Ugu Film Festival started from humble beginnings in 2013 as a normal previewing of two films (1. The Right starring Roland Mqwebu & Andile Mxakaza, 2. Problems Are Everywhere starring Lwandle Ngwenya) that were produced for Mzansi Magic by Sollywood Films under the direction of Senzo Zindela. The preview was arranged in response to a request from south coast cast members who wanted to watch these films before they were aired on Mnet channels. A breakthrough idea for an annual screening of new films was born since then, and it never stopped from that day. Plans to grow it over the years were implemented from 2014, but no one knew it will grow to what it is today so soon, being recognized as the best national development tool on its third year of existence and be in a position to attract serious international producers into Port Shepstone! We pride ourselves for all our recent achievements, and soldiering on to make a positive change within Ugu district.
There are many questions and doubts about the event that circulated within the last four years of our existence! But the founder had a strategic plan from 2011, implemented and followed it without entertaining any negativities. This has finally earned him unamatched recognition as he scooped two awards on the 10th of June 2017 as the Best Tourism Ambassador at Ugu Youth Awards.
SENZO Zindela of Ezinqoleni flew the flag high for the South Coast at the 10th annual South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) ceremony held at Gallagher Estate in Gauteng recently.Senzo, who is the founder and chairman of Ugu Film Festival and Sollywood Films, received the special recognition award for provincial development.“I was so surprised, happy and excited when I was called to the stage. This award is not for me, but for the development of the South Coast,” said Senzo.
It was a big night for this young, multi-talented film director, producer, editor and scriptwriter, who enjoyed mingling with a host of South Africa’s best film and TV stars. Senzo said he was nominated by the National Film and Video Foundation, which was impressed by the way the Ugu Film Festival was not only run for no monetary gain, but by the way in which an event of such a calibre had been organised and sustained. Always thinking business, Senzo said he stood up on stage with his trophy and invited filmmakers to come to the South Coast, as they will save 30 percent of their budget. The Ugu Film Festival, which has been running for three consecutive years, has grown from strength to strength. “Not only has it grown but it has made an impact on those living in rural areas such as Gamalahke, Ezinqoleni and Mtwalume as we screen local films which people can relate to.”
Last year’s film festival was initiated to heal the community affected by the Shobashobane massacre that occurred at Ezinqoleni on Christmas Day in 1995, where hundreds of people were injured and 19 brutally murdered. Senzo said that these communities felt as if they had been forgotten and the festival aimed to unite and create a platform for youth so they could exploit their creativity to address social ills and youth unemployment. “It conveyed messages to the youth by using films that tell stories of history,” he added. Senzo thanked Lwandle Ngwenya, Hilton O’Dwyer and his son, Quinton, Ivan Naidoo and Nkosikhona Shezi for their unshakable faith and loyalty to the event. “They have supported this event through the good and bad times,” he said. Senzo also thanked his critics, for they had made him work hard to prove himself and rise against all the odds. He challenged all South Coasters to get involved in this year’s Ugu Film Festival, which will run from September 12 to 15. “Everyone must attend, support and get involved in this event, as there will be plenty of spin-offs,” he said. Those who would like to attend the workshops can register at www.uguff.org