Festival online

The 2020 Edition of Comic Con Africa is Cancelled – But the Con MUST Go On

Following the recent announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the indefinite ban on large gatherings is still prohibited, the 2020 edition of Comic Con Africa will not happen.

As people, we have heavy hearts – but as organisers, we know that this is the only responsible way to ensure the safety of Comic Con fans, exhibitors, suppliers, and staff.

“During a pandemic which is expected to peak in September, we simply cannot go ahead with hosting the many tens of thousands of fans who attend Comic Con Africa annually” said Carol Weaving, Managing Director of organisers Reed Exhibitions Africa. “Despite months of planning, diligent consideration of the state of the pandemic dictates that cancelling the 2020 edition of Comic Con Africa is the only way forward”.

However, this doesn’t mean that fans of Comic Con Africa will not be able to meet up and immerse themselves in all things pop culture. Comic Con Africa’s passionate organising team are going virtual. This means that Comic Con Africa will be bringing fans and communities an abundance of online content to enjoy, connect with, learn from, share, and be entertained by. Keep an eye on our social media channels as we are already sharing engaging and unique content created for each community and fandom.

But there’s something else even more exciting.

On the originally planned dates of 24 – 27 September 2020 the Con MUST Go ON…line! Comic Con Africa aims to break the internet, bringing a virtual Con to fans in their own homes. Comic Con will be sharing a wealth of exclusive interactive content over the weekend including many of fans’ favourite elements of a real-life Con.

Live chats, Q&As, panel discussions, and the opportunity to virtually meet celebs, fan meet ups, live draws, talks, gaming tournaments and streams, artist panels, Q&As, special exclusive exhibitor deals and more. Everything the Con would usually offer will still take place in exciting and unexpected ways.

“We work hard all year to bring our fans the best in pop culture entertainment and content. By taking the Con Online we know that we will never be able to offer quite the same experience as connecting and engaging at the actual show, but we also don’t want to stop bringing our fans the fun and entertainment in 2020. COVID-19 won’t stop the dedicated fandoms and communities that Comic Con Africa engages with, so by offering an Online Con experience we can still not only keep our communities together, but connect more fans and grow to ensure that our 2021 show is the biggest yet!” said Carla Massmann, the Portfolio Director for Comic Con.

Comic Con Online will be new, it will be exciting, it will be innovative, and it will still be the ultimate pop culture (virtual) festival in Africa.

For anyone who has already bought tickets for Comic Con Africa 2020, we have prepared a plan to roll over the existing tickets to 2021 with a price freeze, or to refund any ticket holders who request it. All ticket holders will receive a direct communication from our ticketing partner Howler over the next few days outlining how that will happen. As of this announcement, 2020 ticket sales have closed.

Comic Con Africa will see you again in 2021. Our virtual offering has no borders and will expose pop culture to an even wider audience. Communities and fandoms will grow and fans will meet each other across the country and into Africa – which means that next year’s Comic Con Africa will be bigger than ever before.

The team cannot wait to bring fans the best in film, series, Cosplay, gaming, role play and tabletop gaming, books, artists and creatives. Ready your internet connection, book out 24 – 27 September 2020 in your diaries, and come get your Con Online with us.

We look forward to seeing you in 2021 when we return with our partners, KFC, Telkom, VS Gaming, and Luno to bring you a bigger and better experience than ever before!



African Women In The Time Of Covid-19: A Short Film Competition

The Ladima Foundation, in partnership with the DW Akademie, is excited to announce a short-film competition aimed at African women during the world-altering Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdown.

The competition is open to African women content creators and filmmakers of any age or experience level, currently living in Africa. The competition aims to encourage women to share their stories as we create a living document of a time and place – of the specific circumstances that women in Africa currently find themselves, under various degrees of lock-down, through the limitations on movement, opportunity, and often, basic freedoms.

The impact of Covid-19 across the globe, and especially in Africa, is felt more by the vulnerable in society. In many African countries women’s opportunities and access to opportunities are limited, and the economic and social impact of Covid-19 is, in many cases, impacting women harder and in different ways than their male counterparts. There are issues affecting woman such as domestic violence, altered access to opportunities, increased burden of care, and many others.

This film competition invites women to share these experiences – be they challenging, positive or simply questioning. The stories should be honest, personal, and specifically related to the current COVID-19 situation. Entries across genres are welcome, from animation and fiction, to documentary or interview style – just as long as the content is 2 minutes or shorter.

Entry is FREE and women will need to register on the Ladima Foundation’s newly revamped A-List in order to enter:

To coincide with the competition launch, the Ladima Foundation has upgraded the A-List from a simple searchable database to an interactive platform for sharing job, funding, and training opportunities, and for connecting and networking.

When it was launched in late 2018, the A-List quickly garnered members and support – with an initial uptake of over 500 women. The list currently has close to 1,000 members from over 30 countries, and with the new upgrades and features is sure to attract many more women.

Vetted companies and organisations can still search the platform to find women in key sectors and companies, whilst women who are members can find and connect with each other and share and apply for opportunities.

Registration on the A-List is free to any woman living and working in Africa within the many skills areas of the film, TV and content sectors.  The list, already a valuable tool for networking and sourcing skills from across Africa, is now poised to become a truly interactive community with further upgrades planned for the near future.

Ten winning films will be selected by a jury and then streamed on the Ladima website along with other partner websites.   Each winning filmmaker will also receive 500 EURO as well as access to a year’s worth of educational and inspirational webinars on the USA’s Women Make Movies platform,,valued at approximately $500.

Selection & Judging Criteria:

Any woman currently living in Africa may enter. In order to enter you must register on the A-List:

Competition opens at 9am Monday, June 1st 2020 and entries must be received by midnight GMT + 2 on Sunday June 21st 2020.

Full terms and conditions are on the Ladima website.

The films must be under 2 minutes and must focus on the following themes through an inspirational, educational, personal, or  leadership lens :

  • Women with special needs / Coping with special needs during the Lockdown / Caring for Persons with special needs during a global pandemic
  • Impact on family / domestic life
  • Economic / impact on work life
  • Domestic violence / abuse in the time of Covid-19
  • Hope in the time of Covid-19
  • Are women paying a higher price?
  • How does the crisis highlight and affect the role of women?
  • The crisis as a kick to rethink the social order
  • Solidarity and empowerment among women in times of Covid -19

The films will be judged on the following criteria:

  • THEME Connection and relevance to the themes above
  • STORY Concept

Story has a clear message and a unique storyline 

Originality of story and / or approach

Rich and vibrant storytelling that engages, amuses or provokes the viewer

    Best use of technology
    Technical aspects such as lighting, sound etc.
    Original and captivating
    Imaginative writing and directing
    Presents the theme in an interesting way 
    Visually appealing and entertaining
    Affects the audience through eliciting an emotional response
    Creates a lasting impression
    Images / elements  are arranged logically in a way that fits the purpose of the film  
About the Ladima Foundation

The Ladima Foundation is a Pan-African non-profit organisation founded with the aim of contributing to correcting the major imbalances within the film, TV and content industries.

The Ladima Foundation supports and recognises African women in Film, TV and Content.  Through training and networking programmes, we uplift, connect and include.  Ladima operates in the spirit of positivity, excellence and integrity.

Through a number of initiatives, The Ladima Foundation supports, trains, and mentors women in a variety of roles within the film, TV, and content spaces.

Through partnerships and collaborations in various countries, as well as through Pan-African networks and interventions, the Ladima Foundation is committed to developing training, networking, and related opportunities for women professionals who demonstrate their seriousness and commitment to their craft.

About DW Akademie

DW Akademie is Deutsche Welle’s center for international media development. As a strategic partner of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), DW Akademie carries out media development projects that strengthen the human right to freedom of opinion and promote free access to information. DW Akademie also works on projects funded by the German Foreign Office and the European Union – in approximately 50 developing and emerging countries. 


Local Filmmaker Wins At International Film Festival Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

A local film has won a coveted award at the 19th annual Tribeca Film Festival. The event, which showcases a diverse selection of independent films each year, managed to push the boundaries of storytelling and connecting with audiences despite the COVID-19 pandemic, by presenting the awards online this year.

MY FATHER THE MOVER, by South African writer/director/producer Julia Jansch, was announced as the Best Documentary Short Film, with the jury commenting that it is “a ‘movement’ film which frees people from the pain had the biggest impression on us and lasted through the tragedies we’re going through now”.

The short film tells the story of Stoan (a.k.a. Stoan MOVE Galela), a dancer who uses African electronic Gqom beats to motivate kids in the township of Khayelitsha, South Africa to jive through their hardship and find their superpowers.

According to Jansch, the award-winning short came about by chance. “I met Stoan through my co-producer, Mandilakhe Yengo. It was a random encounter as he was working behind the scenes as a choreographer on a series. We started chatting and I asked him how long he has been a dancer for. He answered by saying ‘I’m not a dancer, I’m a mover’. I was immediately intrigued.”

Stoan (Mthuthuzeli Stoan Galela) is a self-taught dancer from Gugulethu outside Cape Town. He started dancing at an early age and his passion is his free dance group, the United Township Dancers. Stoan’s dream is to make dance his mainstream gig. “To make money I sell paraffin, I choreograph bride and groom dances and other gigs that come my way and I sell ‘#move – away from gangsterism’ T-shirts to raise awareness about fighting crime and gangsterism in the community.”

While talking to Stoan, Jansch learned of the work he does in his community. “I was so drawn to Stoan because here was this behind-the-scenes choreographer who was doing this magical work that no-one knows about. I wanted to get his story out into the world in the hope of providing a platform for him to raise awareness about his work. There are so many grassroots movers and shakers, just like Stoan, making small miracles happen.”

On a personal level, says the director, she was moved by Stoan’s spirit. “When we first spoke, Stoan told me ‘Everyone can have freedom. It just depends on whether you want to be free or not’. He was showing me a tattoo of a puppet on his arm, whose strings were being severed. The puppet reminds him that he doesn’t have to be bound or chained by anything. It struck a real chord. We all have our chains, whether mental, physical or environmental. Stoan inspires us to find a way to transcend.”

Jansch wanted to make the film in a way that felt as real and immersive as being with Stoan in the flesh. “This was the only way to tell his story. Of course, no-one could play a better Stoan than Stoan himself. The same goes for Alatha, his daughter, and the dancers. I wanted to bring as much integrity to the project as possible while shining a light and raising awareness for Stoan and the incredibly talented kids he teaches.”

Stoan invited an intimate crew into his home and his class. “The first time I met Julia we connected spiritually, and she understood my calling, and that made me trust her and our working relationship. I let her into my life and into my work,” he shares.

Jansch, the daughter of acclaimed South African producer/director Roberta Durrant, began her career in development, working for FremantleMedia and RadicalMedia. Her short films have premiered at festivals around the world, and she is currently writing her first feature. She has an MBA and an MSC from Oxford University and a filmmaking diploma from the New York Film Academy.

Winning this award is a career milestone for the young New York-based filmmaker, who describes the project as a miracle. “Sometimes the universe conspires to make something happen,” she says. “This project was not planned. My last short took a year to write and months of pre-production; this small gem came together swiftly without sacrificing on quality,” she says.

“Winning this award is an incredible honour and truly came as a surprise. When the jury told me I had won, it became divinely apparent why I had been compelled to make this film – to give Stoan and these extremely talented kids the global platform they deserve.”

For Stoan the opportunity was as unexpected and profound: “I have always dreamed of becoming an international artist and being recognized for what I love to do, but I didn’t ever expect to be involved in films that will win awards like Tribeca, I feel so blessed to be part of something really huge. To be quite honest I didn’t think that it would go this far. I actually took it for granted, maybe it’s because things like this, they seem so impossible on this other side of life, still my passion keeps me going.”

Julia has always been stirred by characters and narratives that unveil what makes us most human. Her stories are often psychological, offbeat, and brought to life through unusual micro-universes and lyrical imagery. She adds: “I think stories and films have a huge responsibility – they can uplift, challenge perceptions, change priorities, and garner awareness. They can do this because they can move audiences. If ever there was a time that revealed the importance of movement, it is now. Movement can heal, transcend, transform. We will get through these times and we will move again.”

Her latest offering, MY FATHER THE MOVER, is a heart-warming tale about not allowing your current circumstances to dictate your future. With this short film, she not only provides hope in difficult times, but also strengthens her place in the entertainment industry.


Major Film Festivals Across The World Join With YouTube To Announce We Are One: A Global Film Festival Starting May 29

Major Film Festivals Across the World Join with YouTube to Announce We Are One: A Global Film Festival Starting May 29

The 10-day digital festival, produced and organized by Tribeca Enterprises, will feature programming from 20 festivals including Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and many more, enabling audiences to experience films from around the world

Festival to benefit World Health Organization Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund

Tribeca Enterprises and YouTube jointly announced today We Are One: A Global Film Festival, an unprecedented 10-day digital film festival exclusively on YouTube, bringing together an international community of storytellers to present festival programming for free to audiences around the world. Set to begin on May 29 on, the festival will feature programming curated by the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Guadalajara International Film Festival, International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM), Jerusalem Film Festival, Mumbai Film Festival, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Marrakech International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, San Sebastian International Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and more, immersing audiences in stories from around the world and providing a voice for filmmakers on a global stage.

Core to the DNA of film festivals is the belief that artists and creators have the power to bring people together and create meaningful connections during a time when the world needs it most. Through We Are One: A Global Film Festival , audiences will not only get a peek into different cultures through a new lens, they’ll be able to support local communities by directly donating to organizations helping the relief efforts for those affected by COVID-19. The festival will benefit the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as local relief partners in each region.

“We often talk about film’s uniquely powerful role in inspiring and uniting people across borders and differences to help heal the world. All of the world needs healing right now,” said Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal. “We Are One: A Global Film Festival unites curators, artists and storytellers to entertain and provide relief to audiences worldwide. In working with our extraordinary festival partners and YouTube we hope that everyone gets a taste of what makes each festival so unique and appreciates the art and power of film.”

“One of the most unique and inspiring aspects of the world staying home is our ability to come together and experience an event as one, and We Are One: A Global Film Festival is just that,” said Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer, YouTube. “Along with Tribeca Enterprises and our incredible partners, we are bringing fans the opportunity to experience the curated programming each of these festivals provides as part of our ten-day long event. It’s an event that’s never been done before and we’re proud to be the home for this fantastic content that is free to fans around the world.”

“We are proud to join with our partner festivals to spotlight truly extraordinary films and talent, allowing audiences to experience both the nuances of storytelling from around the world and the artistic personalities of each festival,” said Pierre Lescure, President of the Cannes Film Festival, and Thierry Fr é maux, Cannes Film Festival General Delegate.

We Are One: A Global Film Festival will run from May 29 – June 7 on Programming will be available for free, and will include films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy, and conversations. A full schedule will be available closer to the festival start date.

About Tribeca Enterprises

Tribeca Enterprises is a multi-platform storytelling company, established in 2003 by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. Tribeca provides artists with unique platforms to expand the audience for their work and broadens consumer access to experience storytelling, independent film, and media. The company operates a network of entertainment businesses including the Tribeca Film Festival; the Tribeca TV Festival; and its branded entertainment production arm, Tribeca Studios.

About YouTube

Launched in May 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch, and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. YouTube is a Google company.


National Arts Festival Team Explains Digital Format

Soon after the lockdown was announced in March, the National Arts Festival made the decision to go digital. In a webinar on Tuesday, 21 April, the Festival’s team explained how the first-ever digital edition of the 46-year-old Festival would work.

CEO Monica Newton said the decision to go virtual was made with artists in mind: “We considered postponing but the timeline looked very uncertain. We have to work with Makhanda’s academic calendar and the only other time of the year to consider would have been December, which is impossibly hot in Makhanda.”

Artistic Director Rucera Seethal said, “Choosing to go the virtual route was the difficult route, but we decided that it was better than cancelling.”

The Virtual National Arts Festival, which will run from 25 June-5 July, will be hosted on the Festival’s website, which will act as a portal to short films, virtual art exhibitions, online workshops and other experiences and events. Technical Director Nicci Spalding explained that this will allow the organisers to do two important things: firstly, it will protect the artists’ work from being downloaded or copied; and, secondly, it will allow the Festival to manage access to the work as the majority of the programme will require virtual audiences to buy tickets.

Seethal said it was very important that the arts maintained its value in the shift to an online space. She said the Festival will be selling ticket packages so visitors will be able to view a selection of works. Aside from the live works, it will be possible to view most of the shows at your leisure. Each day of the Festival will offer an online programme for audiences to choose from.

Seethal further explained that the Festival was still open to ideas from artists and producers – not just for work, but for ways to collaborate, offer resources, and mentorship. She pointed towards an Ideas Form on the Festival’s website and asked that interested parties submit theirs as soon as possible because of the uncertain timeline and questions over freedom of movement.

When the Festival launches in June, it will have a curated daily programme for each of the 11 days that will feature a mix of theatre, comedy, visual arts, workshops, talks and experiences as well as elements of the Standard Bank Creativate Digital Arts Festival programme, which highlights cutting-edge work in the spaces where art and technology meet. There will also be an uncurated, open-access platform that will serve as a stage for artists to showcase their work and generate revenue from ticket sales.

National Arts Festival Fringe Manager Zikhona Monaheng said that having an open platform for artists would allow anyone whose work was not selected for the curated daily programme to put their work online and would create the potential to make some money. The Festival will only take a 10% handling fee to manage ticket transactions in the open-platform space, leaving the artists with 90% of the takings. A call for submissions for the open access platform will open soon.

The Standard Bank Village Green will also be going virtual. A trader’s listing – or digital gallery – will be available so that visitors and traders can find and engage with each other.

Accessibility, in terms of both artists and audiences having the tools and data to participate in the Festival, is a concern the Festival is addressing. Executive Producer Nobesuthu Rayi said that while this was a potential barrier, it was a consequence of the broader environment. “The move to do this Festival online was motivated primarily by concern for artists. We wanted to enable as many artists as possible to be paid and have a space to show work. Right now, the digital divide is bigger than us but, once we start to take up space there, artists can participate in reshaping that space over time.”

Newton added that the shift into the online space was teaching the team that there was a need to provide training and development in the digital arts space but that the current restrictions on movement and tight timeline made it difficult for such a project at this point.

Spalding stressed that digital work was, like live work, first and foremost about artistic vision. “Work doesn’t have to be high cost or have high production values. There are some incredible, simple ideas out there. It’s artistic vision that holds up the piece. That is where you need to start.”

A comprehensive summary of all the questions that were asked during the webinar, together with answers, will be available on the Festival’s website.

Anyone wishing to contribute ideas, resources or work for the Festival can submit them on the Ideas Form

The National Arts Festival said the initial webinar would be followed by additional specialised webinars on various aspects and interest areas of the Festival and encouraged people to sign up for the Festival’s newsletter to receive further information.