News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday March 19th 2019

Future of Cape Flats aspiring filmmakers in limbo


An empowerment filmmaking programme for Cape Flats youth is now in jeopardy after their film gear worth about R150 000 was stolen on Tuesday.

Over a week ago, West Cape News reported on US-based non-profit organisation Reel Lives which in the last three years has been training youngsters from Cape Town townships as well as refugees and immigrants in New York City to tell their stories through filmmaking.

Common story themes include gay issues, abuse, police brutality and racial prejudice.

But on Wednesday, Reel Lives founder Lyle Kane said he felt “heartbroken” after their film equipment was stolen in a city building where the youth training was taking place.

He said the stolen equipment was worth R150 000 and that “essentially puts us out of business for the time being”.

Kane said that when the equipment was stolen they were working with nine “young people from the townships who are trying to improve their lives.

“… In the end, it is just material items, nobody was hurt, but our learners’ futures have been put on hold by one selfish person.”

Yesterday morning police were seen at the building were the incident took place but had not yet responded to media queries at the time of going to print.

Kane, who has previously been involved in rehabilitating child soldiers in West Africa through filmmaking, said his programme gave young people “hard skills in media making and soft skills in self confidence and catharsis through an informal approach to art therapy”.

Having been operating in Cape Town for the last three years, his organisation has helped local teenagers produce short documentaries such as A Closet in Makhaza, which tells the story of 17-year-old Kuhle who reveals his homosexuality after hiding it for more than three years.

Among others available on the organisation’s website are Xola (peace) which is about Phumi who lives with her family in Crossroads. She suffers abuse and bullying at school but finds refuge in dance and poetry. –Francis Hweshe


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