Industry Awards

Industry Awards: Online Content To Finally Get Recognition At The SATFAS

The South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) have established a new category whereby YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook content producers will receive recognition for their social media and online work. The Saftas committee amended the submission requirement mainly because of the evolving nature of content creation in the past year, due to the challenges caused by global pandemic COVID-19.

Most production houses and individuals have struggled to put out content during, but online content, on the other hand, created at home, also known as quarantine content, has seen growth.

The new category: The Best Online Content Award is open to directors and producers of online series or stand-alone content. While this category will give the nod to web series that ran on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, it has snubbed short-form video platform TikTok.

"A web series or stand-alone content is a series of scripted or non-scripted online video(s), generally in episodic form, released on the internet and part of a web television or digital medium," reads the guideline for the category. "Content must be exclusively exhibited on the web (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram) and not on any commercial or traditional platforms (broadcasters, Netflix, ShowMax).

"TikTok videos are not eligible for submission. The minimum duration of [this content is] five minutes and no longer than 90 minutes." The 15th edition of the awards will also feature films that were screened on video on demand (VOD) platforms like Netflix, Showmax, Hulu, Amazon and DStv Box Office – for the first time in the history of the awards. In previous years, VOD content was only given recognition in the TV drama categories. "The allowance of VOD platforms is only for Saftas 15 and will be reviewed again next year," the guideline cautioned.

Makhosazana Khanyile, CEO of organisers National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), said: "The SA film and TV industry continues to face unprecedented challenges due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Taking into consideration the different ways in which creatives have put content together and shared it on various platforms, especially during the nationwide lockdown, the Saftas committee amended the submission criteria to include changes such as digital eligibility as a reflection of the changing nature of how audiences consumed visual content over the last year, has seen tremendous developments in the creation and distribution of content digitally."

Submissions for entries close on Friday, 22 January and the award ceremony are set in May. It's yet to be clear whether it will be a virtual ceremony or not, last year's virtual ceremony was riddled with technical errors. "After last year's learnings, we are excited about the appointment of highly acclaimed executive producer Anneke de Ridder ... We are ready to put on a spectacular show that shines a light on film and television excellence," Khanyile said.

"Anneke and the team have begun mapping out a show that will be lockdown/Covid-19-friendly but still recognising the work that our industry did to keep the nation informed and entertained during a difficult year. We will be focusing our efforts on highlighting how our industry is still shining."

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