Directing: Storytelling, Performance, Camera
During the 2012 June vacation, Vaal University of Technology Multimedia and Fine Art fourth year students were involved in a film production created by Mr Kunene Nyembezi who plays ‘uncle Jabulani’ in a popular local soapie ‘Generations’ that is broadcasted on SABC1 during weekdays.
The film is titled ‘Class of hell’ and the production was shot at Sebokeng Zone 12. Students who were involved in the film production were Lebogang Ranku (Production Manager), Naile Molao (Cinematographer), Matshidiso Ramonotsi (Make Up Artist), Refilwe Mabale (Production designer)
The initiative was made possible by VUT staff members Mashaole Makwela, Lecturer: Multimedia and Mandla Mthombeni, Multimedia Officer who ensured the students get exposure in their field of work. The aim of the project was to create a platform for fourth year students to be hands on in film-making and experience the technical and creative challenges in the real world of film production. Subsequently, such knowledge will prepare the students for their final school evaluation projects.
The initiative was a draw card to host Mr Nyembezi at VUT to conduct a workshop the fourth year students in story development and film-directing. The workshop took place over three days at K-Block where the renown actor coached students practically in every area of film production, which among others, included characterization, performance, blocking for camera, scene setup, shot setup and directing. In a brief interview held with Mr Nyembezi, this is what he had to say “The initiative of the production of the film Class of hell was a pilot project aimed at community development. This workshop is an opportunity for the students to practice what they have studied and what they have learnt during the workshop. The film industry is tough, theory is good but it is not enough. The practical skills play a huge role when the students exit the university.” Mr Nyembezi believes that working together with VUT will help to develop the skills in the Vaal area as he runs Dramatic Zone School of acting in the Vaal.
Some of short-films produced by VUT students in the Department of Visual Arts and Design include but not limited to Deadworth (2009), Tsholofelo (2009), Amandla (2010),Invasion (2011) and Sugar (2012). These films showed technical and creative abilities of the students in visual, audio and multimedia setting. As part of the Multimedia and Fine Art fourth year projects all students are expected to complete a short film (live action or animation) that can play from6 to 12 minutes for their final evaluations. Mr Makwela mentioned that the knowledge and experienced people such as Mr Nyembezi will assist and encourage students to produce quality short-films. One of the students who attended the workshop had this to say “I will infuse what I am studying with what Mr Kunene has taught me as a talented and experienced actor. I have learnt a lot about scriptwriting, build-up scene, etc.” The students also saw the workshop as an opportunity to quiz and get advice on their academic projects that they will be evaluated on at the end of the year. Besides the students that were on set, some students roamed around the set to take snap shots of their favourite soap star ‘Uncle Jabulani’.
Mr Kunene Nyembezi mentors VUT BTech Multimedia students