The inaugural Vaal Film Festival in full swing at VUT

Staff Reporter – 18 May 2023

Dr John Kani

Dr John Kani

The inaugural much-anticipated Vaal Film Festival got off to a good start, with the official launch and opening taking place on the evening of Wednesday, 17 May 2023 at VUT.

Scheduled to run from 17 – 19 May, the Vaal Film Festival is a collaboration between VUT (Centre for Academic Development, Visual Arts Department and Community Engagement Department), Sollywood South Africa, Emfuleni Local Municipality, Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), Creative Industries Marketing Stockvel (CIMS), and various stakeholders in the film and television industry.

The glitzy and glamorous black-tie event was addressed by the legendary and multi-award-winning South African actor, author, director and playwright, Dr John Kani. Others who took to the podium include the Executive Mayor of Emfuleni Local Municipality, Cllr Sipho Radebe who gave a keynote address, the acting Director General of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Dr Cynthia Khumalo as guest speaker, Dr Zama Qambi from Sollywhood SA who gave an overview and purpose of the Festival, while the opening and welcome was done by Mr Joseph Radebe, the acting Director for Community Engagement at VUT.

Speaker after speaker, attendees, who were mostly VUT Visual Arts students, were reminded of the role of artists in society, with Dr Kani saying: “Artists hold the mirror through which the communities must see themselves”. Also, the importance of creating jobs through art was emphasised as the primary aim of the Vaal Film Festival.  

Headlined by Dr Kani, alongside more than twenty (20) industry experts, offerings of the three-day fully loaded festival include various masterclasses conducted on different skills and methods of filmmaking such as cinematography, animation and scriptwriting. Additionally, there will be panel discussions to tackle some of the pressing issues and challenges that most filmmakers experience on a daily basis in the industry. Also notably, the Festival will provide a platform to screen films and documentaries produced by VUT Visual Arts students, and some by industry leaders.