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Short Film Scoops Emma Smith Art Scholarship Award

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Windows of Solitude, a short film about a group of four teenage friends who lose a friend to suicide won the Emma Smith Art Scholarship Award 2014 last night (Wednesday, 11 February 2015), earning it’s creator Ndumiso Mnguni a R50 000 scholarship.

Besides winning the award, Mnguni also made history by being the first Video Technology student to win the award.

Last night’s award ceremony was held at the DUT City Campus Arthur Smith Hall. The scholarship was founded in 1920 by Hon CG Smith in the memory of his mother who passed on. Originally, the objective of the scholarship was to provide a sum of money annually to assist the learner financially in order to study overseas.

Mnguni explained his film as “an introvert story on subliminal levels in that the use of dialogue is minimal and the visual experience is often quite intimate and spacey due to the use of atmospheric musical scores and the combination of moody lighting and minimal figures within the frame in which the audience views the narrative. The film also makes the use of time to help drive the texture of the world that the characters exist in by making the use of settings that appear to be of the past in some distant setting from the current time”.

“The film exposes the individual characters through a transparent filter that allows the audience to examine these characters’ personal spaces and how they’re all being affected by death which introduces the thematic element of loss and discovery into the narrative because after Bongani dies, each character goes in a new path of discovery to find themselves as individuals,” he said.
In his films, Mnguni “looks at individuals and their personal stories and puts them under a magnifying glass”.

In the near future, he sees himself interacting with other filmmakers around the world and doing his bit in the expansion of the South African film industry. “I believe that the South African film industry has a bright future ahead. SA has so many stories to share with the world and I want to be part of that growth.”

Mnguni added that winning the scholarship will help his work grow. “There comes a time when the level of one’s work must reach a better level according to your ideas. Your ideas cannot be developing while your work remains the same,” he said.

- Noxolo Memela

Pictured: A production still from Mnguni's Windows of Solitude, the short film which earned him the R50 000 scholarship award. Also pictured is Professor Ahmed Bawa, DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, congratulates Ndumiso Mnguni, DUT Video Technology student, who won the Emma Smith Art Scholarship Award 2014 last night (Wednesday, 11 February 2015).