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The Jameson INDIE Channel MVG Winner(s)

In December last year, the Jameson INDIE Channel sent out an open invitation to all local filmmakers and musicians to pitch a fearlessly authentic music video idea. The winning treatment would receive R100 000 in production funding, to bring their bold idea to life. The initial response was overwhelming, with more than 150 well-considered treatments pouring in over the 6-week entry period.

Whittling these down to 12 finalists, the Jameson INDIE Channel team had the chance to meet face-to-face with the shortlisted directors, in order to better understand their creative vision, as well as the ‘fearlessly authentic factor’ inherent in their idea. It’s safe to say that every single one of the 12 finalists would make a brilliant music video.

But a decision needed to be made. After many hours of interviews, and even more spent in robust deliberation, we came to the conclusion that choosing a single winner simply wouldn’t do justice the incredible response from the South African filmmaking community. So, we’re extremely excited to announce that we have selected TWO winners, each of whom will receive a R100 000 grant to produce their video.

In no particular order, these are Paul Yates, directing for BETR Gang, and Shane Durrant, directing for Desmond and the Tutus.

Paul, a creative researcher and aspiring director based in Johannesburg, identified Soweto’s BETR Gang as the perfect team to partner with on the basis of their inherent authenticity. The duo, comprising rappers Solo and Buks, are very conscious of the materialistic trappings of the hip-hop game, and work hard to forge a parallel path more focused on the music than the prospect of success. In what might be regarded as a parody of the bling lifestyle. Paul’s idea revolves around stripping rappers of their self-indulgent façade and revealing their authentic selves.

“What I love most about the track is that there is profound meaning behind the words and that is where most of my inspiration for the video comes from,” says Paul. “For me this video is all about authenticity – it’s about the temptations of taking shortcuts to make it in the rap game, whether it be by stealing a car or stealing a track, and the consequences we deal with that follow.”

Viewers can expect a gorgeously cinematic execution, with over-the-top art direction contrasting with the real, dusty streets of Soweto. Solo and Buks – both established MCs and producers – are probably better known as individual artists, but combined as BETR Gang they offer a fresh prospect for fans of real South African hip-hop music.

Shane Durrant will be making his directorial debut at the helm of a video for his own band – Desmond and the Tutus. Well known on the local scene, The Tutus have produced several endearingly lo-fi videos for their previous singles, but R100 000 gives them the chance to take things to the next level. Artistically, the band is exploring a more diverse sonic landscape with their new album, and the single ‘Boogieman’ exemplifies this experimentation.

Says Shane: “For our latest album we just decided to do whatever we wanted. A slow jam? Sure. Blistering punk song? Sure. Seven-minute disco epic? Sure. And it’s by far our best stuff yet. I like being at a place as an artist where you feel like you can do whatever you want without being worried about what people are going to say about it.”

This fearless attitude definitely put Shane’s concept in good standing in the competition. Remaining true to their characteristic sense of humour and authentically local lyrics and aesthetics, the concept for ‘Boogieman’ promises to be as funny as it will be visually striking.

In Shane’s words: “Deep under Johannesburg a weird community dwells, where the characters from your most colourful nightmares let their hair down, where the freaks and ghouls go to unwind. It’s a social club unlike anything you have witnessed, a shindig for the deviant, a disco for the dreadful. It’s demented and depraved but even the underworld’s vilest, most nefarious creatures need a place to get down and dirty, to flex their filthy moves till the morning light.”

Both videos commence production shortly, so stay tuned to the Jameson INDIE Channel for updates on their progress and, of course, the final reveal of these two highly anticipated music videos in May.

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