The award-winning Ugu Film Festival is hosted by Sollywood Films in partnership with The National Film and Video Foundation, as well as Ugu South Coast Tourism. The festival's prominent community outreach feature will be held at Izingolweni, which is also in the south coast.

The festival provides a vital local film development platform that aims to give aspirant and up-and-coming filmmakers an opportunity to gain expert insight and exposure to the value chain of the industry. It also aims to provide a chance to showcase their craft to potential investors, film enthusiasts and media.

The festival will open with a special screening of an award-winning South African film titled Uncovered, which is directed by Zuko Nodada. The festival will run a programme with a focus on female filmmakers dubbed 'Through the Lenses of South African Women'.

Uncovered is a film about a young driven, intelligent Aluta Ndlovu whose ambition to become CEO of a mining company (Shift Inc) clouds her judgment when her journalist sister Pumla Ndlovu informs her about possible corruption.

Out of the blue, Frank Drake (Aluta’s boss) wants to sell a worthless mine to the people of Somkhele Village. It is only when Phumla dies that Aluta sees through Frank and figures out what he is up to, which drives her to vengeance, not only for her sister's death but also for her people and her own life.

The festival's headliner will be Durban filmmaker Claire Angelique's second feature film Palace of Bone. Angelique won the award for Young Artist of the Year (Film) for her feature debut My Black Little Heart at the National Arts Festival in 2010.

With her prize money, Angelique financed this micro-budget thriller about a girl who goes on a killing spree of all those who did her wrong. The film premiered at the 2011 National Arts Festival where art critic Mary Corrigall selected the film as 'number three' in her cultural highlights of the year.

"I am very excited by the support the festival continues to receive from its partners, particularly the National Film and Video Foundation and Ugu South Coast Tourism," says Senzo Zindela, founder and executive director of the Ugu Film Festival

"Through such backing, we can continue with our objective, which is to empower both the youth and female filmmakers from our disadvantaged communities — opening the doors needed for them to successfully pursue their careers," adds Zindela. 

According to the festival, the event has become a significant contributor to the development of the local economy and tourism sector on the south coast, known as KwaZulu-Natal's paradise.

The festival says that it is a favourite among tourists and with the emergence of the local film industry, it is well on its way to becoming a sought after film destination as international crews continue to take a keen interest in the district.

"We are very excited that the KZN south coast will set the stage for the seventh edition of the Ugu Film Festival — one of our flagship tourism events," says CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism Phelisa Mangcu.

"The area is fast becoming a key destination for both local and international feature films and wildlife documentaries — benefitting those in the industry as well as our local tourism establishments. The 2020 festival boasts an impressive line-up, and we are looking forward to another fantastic KZN South Coast event," adds Mangcu.

The festival will also feature Palace of Bones, written and directed by Claire Angelique. The film focuses on the culture of self-documentation and plots a documenter's attempt to discover the truth about a young woman that she has filmed, who was alleged to have killed several people.

The film is a retrospective view of footage re-edited by its creator, an amateur who hides behind the lens of a camera. She is an invisible witness who, despite her scrutinising gaze, was unable to really come to grips with the truth that she captured.

In this way, the apparatus she was using to see was the impediment to seeing. Palace of Bones is a sophisticated and layered 'indie whodunit' that probes a debased and immoral society, where drug dealers marvel at the corruptible nature of the police.

Zulu Return by KZN filmmaker Gugulethu is a documentation about the American rap artist Afrika Bambaata coming to South Africa to find his perceived African roots. 

Nicole Schafer’s Budhha In Africa has created a stir after screenings at Encounters Documentary Festival and the Durban International Film Festival, where it garnered awards at both locations.

Schafer documents a Chinese Buddhist academy in Malawi, where the methods are sometimes questionable and the issues of colonialism are present. The film is up for consideration as a South African entry into the Oscar competition.

Robin Burke’s Spookie Kom Huis Toe was premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in 2019. The Pretoria director looks at her history as an Afrikaner and the film has caused debate within the Afrikaans community.

Cape Town filmmaker Uma Martinez’s independent short production Forest Drive is a structurally complex examination of death, loss and complicity. Martinez, a PHD in geological surveying, brings a different eye to the filmmaking process.

"The impact of the festival over the years has been highly significant. It has changed perspectives, promoted South Coast as a film destination of choice, inspired emerging filmmakers and creative individuals to pursue and start film businesses," says Zindela.

"Furthermore, it has awakened local authorities to take film business seriously as they are putting by-laws in place and establishing film offices. This initiative has attracted several institutions to undertake research in the district," concludes Zindela.

Aspiring filmmakers and participants can look forward to engaging and gaining skills from:
  • award-winning South African actor Menzi Ngubane, 
  • international star Simon Kook, 
  • Peter Pham from Vietnam,
  • Patrick Garcia from Act Films, and
  • film music scorer Gavin Potter.
The communities based in the surrounding areas will be offered opportunities to learn about filmmaking and to enjoy the films that have been scheduled to screen through the Outreach Programme the festival has planned. The full film schedule can be viewed on the festival's website.

For more information, visit You can also follow the Ugu Film Festival on Facebook or on Twitter.