Cannes screening for Award participants’ films

Published: 14 May 2014

Award participants in South Africa filming with Films Without Borders.

Films made by participants from South Africa are to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival this week.

The films made by participants of The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment (TPA) in South Africa, will be screened at the prestigious international film festival in France, one of the biggest events in the industry’s calendar.

Films without borders

The UK film charity Films Without Borders (FWB) joined forces with TPA and worked with young people from townships and prisons in the making of the two ten-minute films. FWB taught the young people film production skills and the result was two high quality short films: The Robertson Challenge and Finding Ubuntu/Townships Heroes.

Both the films were shown at TPA's 30th anniversary celebrations in October last year, attended by President Jacob Zuma, Minister Sibusiso Ndebele, Minister Collins Chabane as well as the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

FWB is a non-political UK registered charity which sets up film workshops for young people between the ages of 15-19 living in challenging countries around the globe. To date the organisation has worked in Israel, with orphans in Rwanda, and with young people growing up in Palestine and South Africa. The Earl of Wessex has been involved with the charity since its launch at Buckingham Palace in 2010, and the hands-on support lent by the Earl and his team has proved invaluable.

“As an organisation that believes in the empowerment of young South Africans, we are thrilled at this enormous opportunity for these films to be aired on an international platform as prestigious as the Cannes Film Festival,” says Martin Scholtz, the CEO. 

“Our thanks must go to Jill Samuels and the FWB team for their commitment to the project, as well as the Department of Correctional Services, the management of the Chrysalis Academy, and the schools that allowed the Award participants to take part in this unique, once in a life time project.”

Swarovski support for FWB

Helping promote FWB’s work further, Nadja Swarovski has become a patron of the charitable foundation, which shares an independent partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.  

Swarovski, of the jewellery empire, also runs production company Swarovski Films, and says she is thrilled to work with FWB. “Perhaps more than any other medium, film has the power to engage and inspire young people, no matter where they are from, sparking their imaginations and broadening their minds. So it’s an honour to support Films Without Borders in its valuable work giving young people living in difficult circumstances the chance to express their creativity and tell their stories through film whilst gaining hands-on experience in film making.”

Further information:

The Robertson Challenge involved Award participants from the Robertson Correctional Centre and a community youth group in the town, whilst Finding Ubuntu/Township Heroes involved Award participants from the Chrysalis Academy in Cape Town, Rustenburg Girls School, and St George’s Grammar School.