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Sela - gripping film by Joe Slovo students set to make Port Elizabeth premiere

May 10, 2019
Sela - gripping film by Joe Slovo students set to make Port Elizabeth premiere

'Sela' is the first ArtWorks for Youth film created from screenplays by Joe Slovo students

Port Elizabeth - Having impressed audiences abroad, a local film - Sela, written by three Primary School students from Joe Slovo township in Port Elizabeth, is set to make its Port Elizabeth premier this month.

The students are part of the Artworks for Youth project, which has been providing art instruction and academic support to students in the Joe Slovo Township since 2002.

"The screenplay project began four years ago as my desire to get students writing in a way a bit more appealing than our usual essay of the week. We had no idea back then that they would be made into films," described founder and director of ArtWorks for Youth, John Lombardo.

"When my brother told me about project week where he taught at the Latin School in Chicago, I proposed the project."

He explained project week as a week in Spring where students choose from a list of projects within Chicago, the US, or internationally. 

"When our project was accepted and we were told 18 students and 2 teachers would be coming out to help film two of the short screenplays, we rallied to involve all of our current students and came up with 2 screenplays within a week of the Latin School's arrival," Lombardo said.

Sela is the first completed film and tells the story of 10-year-old Kamva, who resides in Joe Slovo Township and carries the burden of his mother's heavy drinking.

"Using just one professional actor, our students, and other Joe Slovo community members, the film was shot by Rafieka Davis and Swirlcose Films the week that Latin School was in Port Elizabeth and then for three weeks after," Lombardo added.

"The writers of Sela are three seventh and eighth grade students who wrote the screenplay from their own struggles with heavy drinkers in their families. 

"What we hadn't expected to come form this project is the burst of confidence in the writers, the actors, and even the Joe Slovo community at large."

Sela -  the film, official trailer

When asked recently what he hoped the audience would take away from the film, writer, Ibanathi Buqa said "We have written this film from the struggles we have in our lives and we want people to know about them." 

Lulama Duda answered saying, "We want them to know that we are not just sitting around doing nothing because we are poor. There are many things we can do."

Lombardo said that Sela has been shown viewed by audiences in New York City and Chicago.

"The Joe Slovo Township premiere will be on Friday, 17 May and the PE Premiere will be Saturday, 18 May at Art on Target at 18:00. The writers and actors will be on hand to discuss the film and answer questions."

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