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Morgan Freeman to grace South African Film Festival

By Jabbes Mvula, USA - The Sithengi Film and Television Market has announced that they will be hosting a celebrity roundtable to help facilitate the exchange of ideas between actors, producers and other players in the cinema, television and entertainment industries. Sithengi festival organisers announced on their website that during this year's festival that takes place this week, they will be hosting discussions between American and African personalities in the film industry.

The event, to be held at Cape Town’s Artscape on 16 November, will feature Morgan Freeman as the guest of honour. Freeman will be playing former president Nelson Mandela in the upcoming movie, “Long Walk to Freedom”.

The roundtable will happen during the Cape Town World Cinema Festival, which runs between 14 and 21 November.

In the two days of panel discussions, US entertainment industry representatives will be speaking to leading South African talent, such Tsotsi director, Gavin Hood, and Tony nominee and Yesterday star, Leleti Khumalo. Among the participants in the discussions are Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan, SABC CEO Dali Mpofu, Tsotsi star Presley Chuenyagae, actor John Kani, and Anant Singh.

Sithengi CEO, Mike Auret, says, “the discussions will give us an opportunity to learn how to nurture and promote homegrown talent, explore opportunities for collaborations, and speak out about the challenges that both nations continue to face.

“Our US counterparts will also be able to learn about opportunities in South Africa, such as Ministry of Arts and Culture funding for overseas productions being shot in South Africa”.

The roundable will be organised into panel discussions and Q&A sessions. These will include special sessions focused on television, film talent, screenwriting and music video.

Topics under discussion include:

* The challenges entertainers and professionals face in their own countries and the means of overcoming them
* What the US and SA can learn from each other, and opportunities for collaboration
* How a SA company can set up a production company to work in the US, and vice versa
* How new technologies, such as the internet, broadband and video-on-demand, can help promote SA content
* Strategies to protect intellectual property rights and fight piracy
* Television opportunities for US production companies in SA
* How can the entertainment industry promote HIV awareness, safer decision-making and fighting stigmas

According to Auret, Sithengi’s significance in the local entertainment landscape will continue to grow as South African cinema has comes into its own - the recent Oscar victory for Best Foreign Language Film, Tsotsi, and last year’s Oscar nomination in the same category for Yesterday, being two examples. “The country’s diverse locations, affordable, experienced talent pool and use of English have made it an important resource for a growing number of Hollywood films, including Ali, Hotel Rwanda and The Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo di Caprio”.

The Sithengi Celebrity Tour will bring speakers to Johannesburg and Soweto, Kruger National Park for a luxury safari and Cape Town.


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