And the winner is ... about two months late getting his disputed Safta
Directors Enver Samuel and Simon Wood finally honoured by their peers after legal wrangle over documentary award
Two months after the South African Film & Television Awards, Enver Samuel and Simon Wood had their own private Saftas ceremony.
Just hours before the official ceremony began on March 2, the award for best documentary short was withdrawn, leaving directors Samuel and Wood disappointed, and the third nominee, Carte Blanche, consulting lawyers.
Questions had been raised about the ownership of Carte Blanche’s entry, a rhino poaching investigation titled Follow the Guns, and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), which manages the Saftas, decided to withhold the award while it resolved the issue.
Samuel, who had spent two days travelling to the awards from the set of Survivor in Samoa, was angry.
“It might sound melodramatic but the Saftas are South Africa’s Emmy Awards and I had been looking forward to that moment when someone announces: ‘And the winner is ... ’” he said.
After a legal wrangle, the NFVF’s Shadrack Bokaba said the foundation’s adjudication panel had disqualified the Carte Blanche entry and would hold a ceremony at Sandton’s Maslow Hotel to honour the winner.
This time, Samuel’s “And the winner is ... ” moment was followed by his own name.
His documentary, Someone to Blame: The Ahmed Timol Inquest, followed the reopening of the inquiry into the death in police custody of the anti-apartheid activist in 1971.
“It was surreal that the NFVF hosted a mini-Saftas just for Simon Wood and me,” said Samuel.
“The red carpet was laid out. I was humbled by the recognition of my peers. It justified the blood, sweat and tears we put into telling this very important story, and it’s a reminder to never forget the struggles and sacrifices that people like Ahmed Timol made for us.”
Wood was nominated for Scenes from a Dry City, which reflects on Cape Town’s water crisis from different societal perspectives.
Samuel is working on a documentary about Dulcie September, the ANC leader whose assassination in Paris in 1988 remains unsolved.