In February 2020, the movie world rolled out the red carpet for a glorious year. Yes, turn back the clock a few months: Bong Joon Ho’s South Korean masterpiece Parasite captivates the world. It is fresh and inventive and reels in a slew of international awards, making a clean sweep at the Oscars. It even rewrites history as the first non-English winner in the Best Picture category.
On the same stage, another pioneer enchants the world of cinema when he dedicates his statuette (for Best Adapted Screenplay) to all indigenous children who want to sing, dance and write stories. Taika Waititi is the first person of Maori descent to win an Oscar.
These triumphs inspire filmmakers the world over to dream big. Broad smiles all round.
But now, still in 2020, masks conceal our emotions.
The pandemic hit the “pause” button on major Hollywood productions, as well as a string of planned local M-Net films. While the creation of a movie currently goes hand in hand with numerous obstacles behind the scenes, one wonders what the future holds for the industry at large – two, five, ten, twenty years on.
Now is the time for thinking out of the box. With a generous helping of creativity, imagination and chutzpah, we can continue to tell our stories. Perhaps even better than before. After all, in the early 1920s, audiences queued up for the first “talkies”. Now we release local films, such as Griekwastad and Knuckle City, directly to DStv BoxOffice – and shatter viewership records.
Filmmaking will always be a team sport, and M-Net remains every player’s number-one fan. We hope this virtual get-together sparks new ideas for the road ahead. Because our stories have to be told.