Independent film makes Venice cut

first_imgIndependent filmmaker, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, is challenging the film industry with his high quality low-fi movies.(Image: Shamin Chibba) Shongwe-La Mer’s “Territorial Pissings” will feature at the 70th Venice International Film Festival at the end of August.(Image: The Whitman Independent) A scene from “Territorial Pissings” depicting dispossessed youth, which is a major theme in the story.(Image: The Whitman Independent) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sibs Shongwe-La Mer   +27 82 0700 640 RELATED ARTICLES • Triggerfish takes on the big boys • Locally-made films get Oscar nod • Local presence at global film event • Hollywood honour for local filmmaker Shamin ChibbaWhen South African low-fi filmmaker Sibs Shongwe-La Mer stood up on stage at TEDx Johannesburg, a conference where creative minds gather to share ideas, he seized the audience’s attention by asking: “What happened to that inner child? What happened to the creative we have left to die?” The 21-year-old was referring to society’s willingness to give its creative powers to a handful of industry gatekeepers.Dressed in a scruffy checked jacket, jeans, a red beanie and two silver studs hanging from his bottom lip, Shongwe-La Mer epitomised the anti-establishment message he delivered on stage. “I believe we should all just express ourselves. As an audience member let me decide what is good or not. I hate the idea of gatekeepers.”It is this courage to challenge the creative industry, coupled with some bold filmmaking, that has taken Shongwe-La Mer to the 70th Venice International Film Festival. His latest offering, Territorial Pissings, has been selected for the festival’s first edition of the Final Cut in Venice workshop, which will take place on 31 August. The programme will showcase four African films that are in post-production.Named after a song by American grunge band Nirvana, Territorial Pissings plays out over Youth Day and focuses on the conversations between disillusioned, middle-class young adults living in suburban Johannesburg. “Even though it is Youth Day, you see all these kids doing drugs, experimenting with their sexuality, and not knowing where they are. This is the generation I grew up in.”Shongwe La-Mer said every part of the film was taken from his experiences as a black youth raised in an affluent suburb, including the dramatic hanging of one of the characters in the introduction. “Suburbs are not havens. Bad things happen there.”At the festival, the film will compete against The Cat by Ibrahim El Batout of Egypt, Challat Tunes by Kaouther Ben Hania of Tunisia, and Avec Presque Rien by Nantenaina Lova of Madagascar. Producers, distributors, buyers and festival programmers will assess each film, after which they will choose the best one for the grand prize. The winner will receive more than €55 000 (R750 000 or $73 000) in technical expertise, including sound mixing, digital colour correction and special effects.Even though the festival is still to start, just being selected has already brought Shongwe La-Mer international recognition. Russian, Ukrainian and French distributors have approached him to buy Territorial Pissings to distribute it globally.Shongwe-La Mer’s low-fi films are created with little or no budget, which means he needs to use equipment ranging from a camera phone to a handheld camcorder. And as with Territorial Pissings, his production crew is no more than four people. Yet he never intended on entering the independent arena. “I make and release a lot of music; I exhibit as a photographer and I write. So filmmaking kind of came full-circle. Film, it seemed, would embody everything that I love.” Anti-establishment sentimentsHis independent style, he implied, challenged the conventional way films were made. For him, being chosen for the festival was testament to the idea that films did not need budgets or gatekeepers to be successful. “Who are these five people who have money and are dictating how things are going to be? They are not experts of the soul or spirit quality. We are. What we need is people doing things with creative ideas.”In his TEDx talk, Shongwe-La Mer said the film industry was dying. Strong words indeed, which many around him feared would anger industry role players. But he was unfazed. He added that creativity started before industry put a price tag on it. “Our history was of a free creativity way before enterprise. And now enterprise has wasted away and because of that they are saying we cannot be creative anymore. But I say, ‘No, that is not true’. This is the most beautiful time because we are returning to the roots of creativity.” Minimalist filmmaking is his messageAfter graduating from high school, Shongwe La-Mer tried to join the film industry but was rejected. After some deliberation, he realised he could produce his own films without the approval of the industry. He began by using a high-definition cellphone for filming as well as a small production crew. He quickly gained recognition online for his honest storytelling. “If you have a Facebook account there will be 2 000 people who have you in their pockets at any time.”While Territorial Pissings may depict a group of directionless youth trying to make sense of life, Shongwe-La Mer said he was not trying to punt a particular message. Instead, he held that his message lay in the way he made his films. His focus is on practical action that will encourage creativity in people. “If you do what you do in an interesting way, people will be inspired to do even better things from that platform. For a lot of people, what I spoke about on [the TEDx] stage will not hit home. Not until they pick up a camera and create something, even just for fun.” The Whitman IndependentShongwe-La Mer established The Whitman Independent, a platform for independent filmmakers, artists and photographers to showcase their work at minimal cost compared to mainstream platforms.In its short existence, it has already challenged an established gallery by representing Cape Town fine art photographer Jordan Sweke. Sweke approached the gallery on his own to ask if it would exhibit display his work, but he was turned away. But after The Whitman Independent represented Sweke in an exhibition at the same gallery, the owners praised his photography. “What is this system that is killing artists like [Sweke]?” asked Shongwe-La Mer. “After being rejected, an artist does not go to the next gallery. You know what he does? He makes a fashion photography reel and goes into advertising because he does not believe he can be an artist.”The Whitman Independent, which operates in Johannesburg and Cape Town, has hosted 15 exhibitions and two film festivals since February. It has also published its first book, Culture, a compilation of illustrations, short stories and poetry. In September, it will go beyond the confines of art when it hosts its first food day in the Mother City. “Me and the Cape Town curator were saying that the first sign of a free society is when food becomes less expensive,” said Shongwe La-Mer.View an excerpt of Territorial Pissings on the Brand South Africa blog.last_img read more

Separatist leader told to appear before ED

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate has served fresh summons on Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Ahmed Shah in connection with an alleged terror financing case, as he did not turn up for recording his statement last month.Mr. Shah has been asked to appear before the investigating officer on June 6. He was earlier told to come on May 25, but he did not turn up. Money launderingThe money laundering investigation pertains to a case registered by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in August 2005 when it had arrested one alleged hawala operator, Mohammed Aslam Wani, who purportedly disclosed that he had routed ₹2.25 crore for Mr. Shah and his kin. The Separatist leader has, in the past, dismissed the charge, terming it politically motivated.The “hawala” operator was arrested with a large cache of ammunition and ₹63 lakh in cash, which he allegedly received through his contacts in the Middle East. During questioning, he allegedly disclosed that ₹50 lakh was to be delivered to Mr. Shah and ₹10 lakh to Abu Baqr, a Jaish-e-Mohammed area commander in Srinagar.last_img read more

Naomi Osaka splits with coach Sascha Bajin just two weeks after Australian Open title

first_imgNaomi Osaka surprisingly split from coach Sascha Bajin, a little more than two weeks after she won the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title and moved to No. 1 in the WTA rankings.”Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha,” Osaka posted on Twitter on Monday. “I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.”Osaka’s agent confirmed to The Associated Press that Osaka would no longer be working with Bajin, the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year, but said there would be no further comment.Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.NaomiOsaka (@Naomi_Osaka_) February 11, 2019Less than a half-hour after Osaka’s tweet, Bajin responded to her on Twitter. He thanked her and wrote: “I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.”Thank you Naomi I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.sascha Bajin (@BigSascha) February 11, 2019Osaka hired Bajin before the 2018 season.He previously worked with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.Osaka withdrew from this week’s Qatar Open, citing a back injury.The 21-year-old beat Petra Kvitova in three sets in the Australian Open final on January 26.That added to her championship at the U.S. Open last September, when she defeated Serena Williams in straight sets.advertisementThose back-to-back victories made Osaka the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15.Osaka became the youngest woman to make her debut at No. 1 since Wozniacki at 20 in 2010 and the first tennis player from Asia to reach the top of the women’s or men’s tennis rankings.She was born in Japan her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian and moved to the United States when she was 3. She has dual citizenship and now is based in Florida.Also Read | Stan Wawrinka’s ‘get well soon’ bear to Andy Murray might leave his kids fightingAlso Read | Rafael Nadal gets engaged to girlfriend Mery Perellolast_img read more

10 months agoSouthampton midfielder Ward-Prowse: Sloppy defending cost Man City defeat

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Southampton midfielder Ward-Prowse: Sloppy defending cost Man City defeatby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse admits they paid for “sloppy” defending in defeat to Manchester City.Saints were behind inside ten minutes when David Silva converted namesake Bernardo’s cutback, by which time the goalscorer had already been denied by a fine save from Alex McCarthy.Saints responded well and deservedly drew level through Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, but succumbed to two goals in the dying minutes of the first half that ultimately decided the game, before skipper Højbjerg was dismissed late on.“It’s a disappointing result, obviously. I think we started the game poorly and didn’t quite get into the flow of the game,” Ward-Prowse said.“I think we showed glimpses in the first half of what we’ve been working on as a team, pressing high, and the goal came from that.“I felt we were right in it, but two unlucky, sloppy goals at the end of the first half killed the game.“When you give a team like that those sorts of opportunities and chances, they’re going to run away with it, which they did.” last_img read more

Fifth Harmony Named As Cybersmile Ambassadors

first_imgFifth Harmony have been named as ambassadors for Cybersmile.The Cybersmile Foundation will actively encourage a safe and positive environment for children as well as adults with the support of Fifth Harmony, helping people online affected by cyberbullying and digital abuse.“Cybersmile are immensely proud to welcome Fifth Harmony on board as official Cybersmile ambassadors,” said Scott Freeman, CEO, The Cybersmile Foundation. “It’s wonderful that the girls will be using their position as role models to encourage internet users to spread positivity to others. Their support will enable us to promote positive digital citizenship to more people and look forward to working with them to tackle cyberbullying.”Fifth Harmony are an American girl group formed on the second season of the X Factor USA. The group consists of members Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane Hansen, Camila Cabello, and Lauren Jauregui. They signed a joint deal with Syco Music, owned by Simon Cowell, and Epic Records, L.A. Reid’s record label, after finishing in third place on the show.The band won MTV’s Artist To Watch award at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards and recently performed at the Radio Disney Music Awards, where they were triple nominated. On June 6th they will perform at Capital FM’s Summertime Ball alongside Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, Rita Ora, Jason Derulo and a host of international music stars!Find out more about Cybersmile here.last_img read more

Bank of Canada business outlook survey suggests businesses optimistic

first_imgOTTAWA – Expectations the Bank of Canada will raise its key interest rate target next month were bolstered Friday after stronger-than-expected economic growth in April and a report suggesting widespread business optimism.The Bank of Canada’s outlook survey indicator climbed to its highest level since the second quarter of 2011 as responses to most survey questions were above their historical averages.However, the central bank noted almost all of the interviews with firms for the business survey were done before the U.S. announcement on tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada.Escalating trade tensions between Canada and the U.S., including the threats of additional tariffs on the auto sector, have raised concerns for the economy.Benjamin Reitzes, Canadian rates and macro strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said the solid increase in the outlook survey indicator shows the economy was in good shape heading into the tariff strife.“With governor Poloz saying that the bank will not be shaping policy based on headlines, and the economic backdrop in generally good shape, there’s a solid case for a July rate hike,” Reitzes wrote in a report.“Even so, we’ll be waiting to see if Trump reacts to Canada’s retaliatory tariffs, as a further escalation could drastically change policy dynamics.”The Bank of Canada survey came as Statistics Canada reported Friday real gross domestic product edged up 0.1 per cent in April over the previous month, topping the expectations of economists for no change for the month.Gains in the manufacturing and utilities sectors more than offset declines in construction and in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction to help the output of goods-producing industries rise 0.2 per cent.Activity in the manufacturing sector rose 0.8 per cent in April as the output of both durable and non-durable manufacturing grew.Services-producing industries were essentially unchanged overall for the month.“With cold weather in much of the country, one-off factors hitting the mining and oil and gas industries, and some soft advance indicators, it was a welcome surprise to see a modest expansion of the Canadian economy in April,” TD Bank senior economist Brian DePratto wrote.Both the business outlook survey and the reading on GDP will be scrutinized by the central bank ahead of its interest rate decision next month.The Bank of Canada kept its key interest rate target on hold at its last rate announcement, but the central bank’s accompanying statement was interpreted by many economists as suggesting that rates could head higher later this year.However, the Trump administration announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports a day after the last rate announcement and has since threatened additional tariffs on other goods including automobiles. Canada has responded with its own plans for tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports as well as duties on a wide range of other goods.Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said earlier this week the escalating cross-border trade fight and new mortgage rules will “figure prominently” in the central bank’s upcoming interest-rate decision.The governor added the central bank will continue to focus on economic data it can model rather than trying to follow political rhetoric.The Bank of Canada business outlook survey of about 100 firms found the balance of opinion on future sales growth was marginally positive as domestically-oriented firms, including those tied to housing in some regions, expected a moderation in growth.It noted that firms that were optimistic about their sales prospects often expected to benefit from sustained foreign or domestic demand, improving commodity prices or new products or initiatives to increase market share.“In particular, firms serving foreign customers reported that orders have improved compared with 12 months ago, and they expect export sales to increase at a greater rate over the next year,” the report said.However, the survey also said the number of firms that would have significant difficulty meeting an unanticipated increase in demand has increased to levels not seen since before the 2008-09 recession.“Reports of labour shortages are most prevalent in British Columbia but are also common in Central Canada,” the report said.The Bank of Canada has raised its key interest rate target three times since last summer, moves that have prompted Canada’s big banks to raise their prime lending rates. The central bank’s target for the overnight rate sits at 1.25 per cent.The business outlook survey was conducted from May 3 to June 5.last_img read more

Toronto stocks edge lower as financials and health care fall US stocks

first_imgThe Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index fell in late-morning trading amid losses in the health-care sector, which includes the big marijuana companies, and the financial sector.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 19.13 points at 14,122.64.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 62.46 points at 22,922.06. The S&P 500 index was up 1.36 points at 2,468.78, while the Nasdaq composite was down 41.05 points at 6,487.36.The Canadian dollar traded for 73.78 cents US compared with an average of 74.10 cents on Thursday.The February crude contract was up 34 cents at US$46.22 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up 12.9 cents at US$3.712 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was down US$5.60 at US$1,262.30 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 1.60 cents at US$2.6805 a pound.last_img read more

Fort St John receives over 90 cm of snow in March over

first_imgIf we don’t see any more snow this weekend, Fort St. John will have officials received 92.3 of snow in March.  Fort St. John typically receives 23.7 cm of snow in March.Since October, the Fort St. John Airport has received 319.5 cm of snow. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With just over 90 cm of snow in March, the weather may finally be changing to be a little more like spring.After a possible wind chill of minus 27 on Friday morning, things should start to warm up closer to zero for the rest of the long weekend.  The cooler temperatures will more than likely stick around for the first week of April before we see an increase above zero in the second week of April.The temperature should be between minus 3 and minus 6 for the Easter Weekend.  Environment Canada says we should be above zero by Thursday.last_img read more

Housing prices up 7 sales down 28 supply dips 64 in last

first_imgNew Delhi: Housing prices rose by a modest 7 per cent in seven major cities during the past five years, while sales and new supply have declined 28 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively, according to brokerage firm Anarock. In its analysis of the performance of the real estate sector in the past five years of the current central government, Anarock founder and Chairman Anuj Puri said many steps were taken to reform and improve the image of the Indian real estate sector. Measures such as demonetisation, new realty law RERA and GST did cause some pain for the sector in short term but would prove beneficial in the long run, he added. On operation performance of the housing segment, Puri said the prices in primary markets have seen more of a “time correction” rather than a price correction, with average prices across top-seven cities seeing a meagre 7 per cent increase in the past five years. “Considering inflation (assuming seven per cent a year), all cities will have seen negative price trends in the last five years,” he added. These seven cities are Delhi-NCR, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune. The supply of new housing units reduced by 64 per cent in the past five years from 5.45 lakh units in 2014 to 1.95 lakh units in 2018. Housing sales were also slow, dropping by 28 per cent during the same period from 3.43 lakh units in 2014 to 2.48 units last year. “Like it or lump it, but (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s victory in 2014 ushered a new era in Indian real estate starkly marked by his vision to set the ‘house’ in order and alter the scarred face of an unorganised sector beset by unscrupulous activities,” Puri said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi “tightened the Centre’s grip on real estate previously the largest dump-yard for black money hoarders and introduced big-bang schemes to benefit consumers”, he said. Puri said the government set the stage for the real estate sector in the long term through major policy overhauls and initiatives like 100 smart cities and Housing For All by 2022. The chairman of Anarock said demonetisation, realty law RERA and the GST brought about a paradigm shift in the way the Indian real estate does business and laid the groundwork for improved transparency and efficiency in the sector. “The measures he took to achieve this did have short-term negative impacts, but nobody can argue that this is a case where short-term pain is necessary for the sake of long-term gain,” he added. However, Puri felt that the on-ground implementation for most of these initiatives could have been better to achieve more even in these five years.last_img read more

Kidambi Srikanth seals final spot Sindhu crashes out at India Open

first_imgNew Delhi: Former champion Kidambi Srikanth reached title round after a 17-month drought but P V Sindhu bowed out after losing a close semifinal contest at the USD 350,000 India Open here Saturday. Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who had won the event in 2017, blew four game points in the opening game to go down fighting 21-23 18-21 to China’s He Bingjiao. The third seed will face two-time champion Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand in the finals Sunday. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”I think I need to be more patient, I should have taken the first set, it was crucial for me but after losing it, I became a bit nervous. I made crucial mistakes in the second game,” Sindhu said. “I did change strategies. She also got lucky with net cords in the first game. I came back and could have maintained the led but I couldn’t. She played well.” Srikanth had entered the finals of Commonwealth Games last year but he failed to reach the summit clash in any BWF Superseries or BWF World Tour tournament since his French Open win in October, 2017. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterThe 26-year-old from Guntur on Saturday eked out a 14-21 21-16 21-19 triumph over China’s Huang Yuxiang in an engrossing semi-final encounter. He will face second seed Viktor Axelsen, who beat India’s Parupalli Kashyap 21-11 21-17, in the final. “It’s been really long since I reached a final. I’m just happy to be here, playing the final again,” Srikanth said. “I was trailing in the decided and I am happy to pull it off. I’m happy to come back in the second. It was about keeping the shuttle in. The crowd kept me going in.” In the women’s semi-final, Sindhu managed to hold a 11-8 lead at the break. She kept the shuttle in play, mixing her strokes to push Bingjiao to commit errors to lead 20-16. But Indian committed a heap of unforced errors to allow the Chinese level score. At 21-21, a lucky net chord put Bingjiao on lead leaving Sindhu frustrated, who sent another one at the net to lose the opening game. The second game begun on an even keel as the duo rode on each other’s errors to move 8-8 before Sindhu grabbed a 11-9 advantage at the break. The Indian stayed a step ahead, despite Bingjiao constant threat. At 16-13, a few weak returns from Sindhu allowed the Chinese to level scores. Bingjiao quickly grabbed two points to take two match points. Sindhu then sent the next shuttler to the net to bow out. In the men’s singles semi-finals, Srikanth used his flat tosses and deep lifts to engage his rival into rallies but Huang was also up to the task before the Indian managed to held a 11-10 lead at the first break. The duel continued before the Chinese moved to a 18-14 lead after the Indian lost a few points at the net. Srikanth saved two game points with a cross court smash and a precise net shot before hitting wide to lose the first game.last_img read more