Lights! Camera! Action!

Siphiwe Mbata and Michael Ndlovu at the Ben70 premiere.

WATCH: Ben 70 Trailer:

The local film industry is taking off internationally with locally produced films scooping top honours at film festivals across the globe.

The Kleinkaap Short Film Festival held in Centurion, Pretoria is a pit stop on the road to stardom for aspirant filmmakers hoping to leave an indelible mark on the industry.

The road is fraught with challenges but these have not deterred Siphiwe Mbata (23) of Favour Media.

Mbata premiered his latest offering, Ingane Yami at the festival and added a South African comedy, Ben 70 to his growing list of accomplishments.

The filmmaker and production company owner of Favour Media worked with Michael Ndlovu, founder of Zero2Hero Casting Agency and Z2H productions, who co-produced the comedy with him.

According to Mbata, the film was shot on location in Naledi in Soweto and featured a cast sourced from Ndlovu’s agency and wannabe actors from Soweto.

He said, “Our main focus is on getting local actors from the different communities in Soweto to get a feel for what being on a professional film set is like and giving them some exposure to the South African film industry.

“Our short films also provides us with the opportunity of giving audiences a feel for the vibrant township culture in Soweto. Film is a medium that enables us to tell our stories, some deeply personal, others like Ben 70 are lighthearted and place our everyday experiences under a microscope for the world to experience Soweto on their cinema screens.”

Siphiwe Mbata and Michael Ndlovu at the Ben70 premiere.

Ben 70 puts a spin on the cougar phenomenon and deals with issues like the age difference between partners and the use of muti (traditional medicine) to snare a prospect.

The industrious Mbata bemoaned the lack of support from prominent South African broadcasters but added that the short film was well received by cinema goers as the cinema was filled to capacity as people came out in their droves to support the rising young filmmaker and fellow producer Michael Ndlovu.

He cites their partnership as a major driving force in his quest to become one of the country’s well-known filmmakers.

The 4-5 premiere was attended by Member of the Executive Council for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko, which pleased the filmmaking duo.

Next on the cards will be taking the art and the filmmaking business to rural and disadvantaged areas through training and internships as the pair hope to pass on their skills and knowledge to areas where filmmaking is not even a consideration as a career path.

Mbata said, “I am looking forward to working closely with Ndlovu to unearth raw acting- and filmmaking talent in underdeveloped communities around the country.”

Siphiwe Mbata can be contacted on the Twitter handles @siphiwembata or @favourmedia or Michael Ndlovu on @zerotoherocasting.

Related Story: MUST SEE: Favour Media telling local stories through film (Trailers+Photos)

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