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TV critic reviews 'botched' 8th Saftas

2014-04-07 14:08
Cape Town – Some pre-primary Nativity plays and some high school musicals have better production values than the 8th South African Film & Television Awards which was shown on SABC3 in yet another heavily botched broadcast on Saturday night.

The South African TV and film industry as well as viewers deserve better than the mistake-riddled award show which The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the Safta organising committee, Clive Morris Productions and the SABC put on the air from Gallagher Estate – purportedly to honour and celebrate the best in the business.

The broadcast started out with no sound for minutes. Then went to a long commercial break, and came back to presenter Bonang Matheba, still with no sound.

After sound was eventually added, the audio kept lagging and was out of sync with the video for the entire duration of the badly done red carpet coverage – which was badly edited and spliced together, again with differing sound levels

The 2014 Saftas was again an AFDA film school, exam ready, visual presentation question of "spot the various mistakes and how you would have prevented it".

There were disrespectful spelling mistakes in the names of the deceased in the In Memoriam segment and shocking, glaring omissions from it.

Ongoing mic and sound problems

There were numerous, ongoing mic and sound problems – even a stage hand walking on stage during another skit and the camera not cutting away while viewers watched it all. Presenters were mispronouncing nominees’ names and co-hosts Tumi Morake and Alan Committee took swipes at the SABC and the movies at an award show meant to celebrate and make the country’s TV and film biz look good.

Cameras constantly showed a lot of empty chairs, waiters and guests wading in and out and around of shots. Then there was Committee wasting time with irrelevant skits in a broadcast already bloated with unnecessary officials who all demand to speak. Committee even stripped for a cringe-worthy dance number, once again adding further to the embarrassing broadcast.

Actress Lillian Dube stormed the stage to grab the award that went to Tsholo Monedi for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. Not even the presenters knew what was going on and no reference was made to viewers that she’s accepting it on Monedi’s behalf.

The awkward and terrible acceptance speeches by the writers for SABC1’s science fiction show Room 9 for Best TV drama made for painful television.

During Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s acceptance speech for Best Director for a film the sound again cut out. Then there was a total loss of video, black screen, blurry and pixelated video problems and “625” appearing on TV screens. None of his acceptance speech was heard.

While viewers were implored to vote for their “Favourite Soap” they couldn’t really. Since SABC2’s Muvhango decided not to enter any categories for the 8th Saftas, the NFVF didn’t allow it in the Favourite Soap category, once again ensuring a hollow victory which is not really credible. The production kept referred to Binneland instead of Binnelanders – which is the kykNET soap’s correct name.

Supposed to celebrate South African film and television, the South African Film & Television Awards again kept betraying its desire to be oh so American – or subtly indicating that American TV and film references are the “real” cultural benchmark or touchstones to use or that people would supposedly know and get.

From several dated references to Oprah, multiple teases to stay tuned in for a “big international star” (which turned out to be a Lady Gaga ZA News puppet), or things like singing MacGuyver’s theme song, it is sad that the Saftas year after year struggle to centre the show around real South African references and success stories.

There were things that worked. Opera star Pretty Yende’s performance was beautiful and brought the touch of class the Saftas should be striving for.

Although Morake often struggled to read and with the delivery of some of her lines, she was a lot better than most Safta co-hosts in the past and than when she did red carpet presenting.

And there were no wrong envelopes opened by mistake in wrong categories with wrong winners called to stage, or incorrect voice-over announcements made this year.

Disclaimer: This is an article written by an independent South African TV critic and journalist covering the TV industry. The views of users published on Channel24 are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Channel24. Channel24 reserves the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
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