08 January 2019 | Story Charlene Stanley | Photo Charlene Stanley
Film and Visual Media
Johanet Kriel-De Klerk, Chris Vorster, and Martin Rossouw in the auditorium at the Visual Hub, where a lot of time is spent watching and analysing films.

Three years ago, an oblong yellowish-green building arose between Pellies Park and the Beyers Naudé male residence, housing state-of-the art filming, editing, and viewing facilities, and sporting the promising name ‘Visual Hub’ on its exterior.  With this, an exciting interdisciplinary honours degree in Film and Visual Media was introduced.

While the interior and facilities still provide a brand-new impression, lecturers reflect that they’ve come a long way over this period, finding a delicate balance between practical and academic components. 

Not traditional “film school”

“This is not ‘film school’,” lecturer Chris Vorster explains. “Although we have an intensive practical component that sees our students producing a short film at the end of their training, our emphasis is on equipping students with a thorough academic knowledge of film history and analysis.”

Only 15 students can be accepted each year. Applicants should have a degree in the Humanities, scoring at least a 65% average in their final year.

Over the course of a year, students are given a viewing list of selected movies, illustrating different aspects of visual storytelling, film development and techniques, but which also relate to the societies that produced them in revealing ways.

Broadening students’ viewing experience

“Most people tend to get stuck in their favourite genre when it comes to watching movies. We considerably broaden students’ viewing experience,” says Vorster. “We give them as wide a base as possible. When they walk out of here, they can go on to specialise in anything from directing to writing film reviews.”

He usually advises students to see the year after completing their degree as a ‘practical year’, doing volunteer work in as many fields of film production as possible to see what they enjoy most, and then work hard to become a specialist in that field.

The film industry is a tough world. You really need a great amount of talent and drive to make it.” 

LECTURERS’ FAVOURITE FILM GENRES:

Chris Vorster: DRAMA AND THEATRE ARTS

Science fiction crossed with psychological thrillers, and all that shouts, explodes, devours, hits, and disgusts.

Johanet Kriel-De Klerk: HISTORY OF ART AND IMAGE STUDIES

Indie (independent) films, as they strike a good balance between profound art and everyday entertainment.

Debeer Cloete: DRAMA AND THEATRE ARTS

Science fiction. A great favourite is Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001]. Spielberg was asked by Stanley Kubrick’s widow to direct this film after Kubrick’s death in 1999. It stays true to Spielberg’s own aesthetic approach while incorporating Kubrick’s approach to cinematography and fragmented narratives.  

Martin Rossouw: HISTORY OF ART AND IMAGE STUDIES

So-called boring philosophical art films, such as those of Terrence Malick.



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