Speaking at the launch of the annual Bantu Church of Christ National Youth Festival in New Brighton on Sunday, Nkomonye-Bayeni said Eastern Cape youth needed to use the resources provided by the government to help boost the creative industry.
“You must use the creative industry to ensure we free ourselves from the bonds of poverty and inequality,” she said.
Nkomonye-Bayeni pledged support for the youth festival and similar projects that would help uplift the youth, especially in the creative industry.
“We have tasked the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC) to budget R15m for this financial year to ensure our filmmakers contribute to films shot in the province and that our films reach international levels beyond the National Arts Festival.
“The Eastern Cape Development Council (ECDC) has its own allocation of funds for the commercialisation of the film industry and the R15m allocated to the department is for the development of actors and filmmakers in order for us to have [creatives] that are developed from grassroots.”
This includes filmmakers who lack the necessary resources to complete their work and those with no prior filmmaking experience.
“This is so that we create a layer for the ECDC to inject capital funding for them to take off and showcase their talent locally and internationally,” Nkomonye-Bayeni said.
“While we mainly want to assist the youth, we will not shut our doors to older filmmakers with potential and our selection criteria will include that budding filmmakers at least show dedication and what steps they have taken towards realising their dreams.”
A call for interested parties to submit proposals will be sent out by the end of July.
“Our first instance is to establish a board to monitor the process.
“Work has already been done and a study commissioned so we can benchmark with those provinces that already have a film commission,” Nkomonye-Bayeni said.
She also touched on the issue of Eastern Cape artists leaving the province in search of greener pastures.
While the department could not force artists to stay, it could provide resources to curb the need for artists to develop their talents elsewhere, she said.
“We have a challenge of our budding artists leaving the province to pursue their dreams in other provinces like Gauteng, where they [sometimes] come across drugs and exploitation.
“I am urging all upcoming musicians to make use of the Miriam Makeba recording studio in East London to record their music so they don’t have to face the abuse they often come across out there.”
Nkomonye-Bayeni was among several speakers who addressed a full house of congregants from various branches of the church.
Others included National Youth Development Agency chair Sifiso Mtsweni, who addressed the empowerment of youth for a better tomorrow, and provincial legislature deputy speaker Mlibo Qoboshiyane, who spoke on the youth’s role in pursuit of the objectives of the National Development Plan, vision 2030.
The programme, which included entertainment by the SAPS provincial choir, kickstarted more than a week of activities for the youth to run until July 2.