While celebrating 30 years of timeless magic this October, M-Net is calling upon local storytellers to submit their original ideas for contemporary films in any South African vernacular language, including Afrikaans.
“Movies have been the heartbeat of our business right from the start,” says M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle. “Way back when, we revolutionised local television by bringing the spellbinding power of Hollywood’s silver screen to our viewers without any ad breaks. Through the years, we also committed ourselves to develop and boost our own film industry – first with initiatives like the New Directions and EDiT short films project and more recently by supporting an increasing number of authentic local feature films – both financially and creatively.”
In the past three years M-Net has backed more than forty theatrical feature films under the M-Net Movies, Mzansi Magic and kykNET Films banners. Among these movies are the smash hits Happiness is a Four Letter Word and Vir Altyd, which respectively earned more than R13 mil and R15 million at the South African box office. This impressive list also includes Noem My Skollie, the film that has been chosen as South Africa’s official entry in the category of Best Foreign Film for next year’s Academy Awards; Akin Omotoso’s Vaya, which was invited to premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival; and Tess, the hard-hitting film that received top honours at the 2016 Durban International Film Festival.
“We are incredibly proud of the slate of films linked to our stable, and it’s encouraging to know that plenty of these beautifully made movies have been the handiwork of first-time directors or screenwriters,” Phahle says. “In our quest to continue to add value to the local film landscape, we identified some specific gaps. Hence the decision to give local movie makers another opportunity to pitch their ideas for great new films.”
M-Net is now specifically looking for feature films in certain comedy and action sub–genres as well as films based on successful vernacular novels that can be adapted for cinema. In a bold and exciting move, kykNET Films is also planning to create and develop a Cape-based romcom or family saga in Afri–kaaps.
If you want your film to tickle some funny bones, you have to pen down the idea for a romantic comedy, wholesome family comedy or smart and edgy comedy aimed at an adult audience that reflects modern trends in cinema, but with a fresh local flair. In the action genre, M-Net is inviting proposals for suspense thrillers and adventure stories. Your suspense thriller should have an unpredictable and complex plot built on narrative tension, mystery, fascination, anxiety or any of those elements that create nail-biting moments. The adventure films should contain strong characters, and an exotic setting or unconventional backdrop.
No matter what the genre is, the stories should be authentically South African, reflecting our current reality and be void of sensationalism and cultural stereotypes. Regarding the creative, M-Net would also like to see pitches that demonstrate a keen understanding of the specific film genre and the music should be reflective of the story and include as many relevant South African music tracks as possible.
The closing date for submissions is Monday, 14 November 2016.
For more background on M-Net’s requirements, examples of movies within the genres, the intended target audiences and the way the proposals should be submitted, go to the M-Net Corporate website. Click here.
All proposals should also be submitted via the M-Net Commissioning Portal on the M-Net Corporate site.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for new film makers to break into the industry or for veterans to get the green light on their next big film,” Phahle concludes.