Film students across the school’s four campuses rose to the challenge of merging remote and on-set production to present their work online for the first time.  

Lockdown restrictions have pushed students at AFDA: The School for the Creative Economy to produce contactless productions for the school’s first ever online film festival which went live on August 21 

Third-year film, television, live performance and business innovation students had to merge on-set and remote shooting, which meant actors filmed themselves using mobile phones, without the physical presence of directors, lighting, cinematographers and makeup artists.  

This presented a number of challenges. “You are used to a certain calibre of work and things being done in a certain way,” film editing student, Kieran Beukes (22), told Wits Vuvuzela. “We were supposed to produce our films in 2k (megapixel quality) but with remote shooting we had to scale down the quality of the footage.” 

Although directors were able to communicate effectively through making use of WhatsApp and Zoom, third-year producing student, Jonah-Tyler Booysens (21), said that challenges arose when presenting the films online. 

“Sites crash all the time and the quality of the media is not going to be the same as it would’ve been on campus. With the facilities we have here, the sound, everything technical… it’s not going to be as great as it would’ve been, but it has taught us to be versatile,” said Booysens. 

The decision to host the festival online came after covid-19 lockdown restrictions limited the number of people at gatherings to 50.  

Students had to market their films through creating original websites and social media pages for their work, a crucial step in the production process that impacts their employability in the coming year. 

“We definitely put in our all so that our investors and employers can see that under the circumstances we still produced everything as best as we could, we did everything we could do,” Booysens said. 

According to AFDA, students will continue to be supported in their remote productions during the third term through the provision of vlogging kits, disposable makeup kits and access to editing software and computers.  

Learning and teaching support has been enhanced through the addition of 21st century skills taught in Contextual Studies, Project Studies and Reflection Studies, empowering students to navigate their own learning path and progress,” read the latest AFDA covid-19 update.  

The festival is scheduled to run until August 29, showcasing all 44 film productions across the school’s campuses in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town. 

The productions can be viewed at

FEATURED IMAGE: Third-year film student, Tyler Chetty (21), is pictured colour grading film at AFDA Johannesburg. Photo: Leah Wilson.