Friday, August 23, 2002

Gramadoela's, The Market Theatre, Newtown

Friday, August 23, 2002

Service: Not Applicable -- Buffet
Food: * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * * *1/2

We're having a celebration for the presenters of the script development masterclass. I'm part of it cos I'm the co-deputy-chair of SASWA, the Scriptwriters' Association.

I finally get to meet Amy Moore. She's the head of NAM -- New Africa Media. They're South Africa's biggest hope in reaching international superstardom in making feature films. She's short, blonde, piercingly pretty (slicing blue eyes), appealingly plump, and the most powerful woman in the Southern African film hierarchy.

Probably because of the Earth Summit taking place in Joburg, Gramadoelas seems to be hopping with foreign beauties. It's a pretty exotic looking place, filled with all sorts of colonial decor. It makes the place quite pleasant to be in, but the proliferation of copperware is a bit overpowering for my senses.

And the food is not to my taste. But my colleagues seem to enjoy the prawns and calamari and crap like that. Around seafood, I'm basically a little boy: "Yuck! Gross!" Spit spit spit!

Speech time. Luiz de Baros, SASWA co-chair, starts by thanking everyone and handing out bottles of South African Export Quality Port. Luciano Gloor (the Berlin-based part-Italian Swiss producer who made TOTO THE HERO) glows and beams. Clare Downs (the Bridget Bardot lookalike based in London, but with a world pedigree, who is one of the world's best script editors) is up. Amy Moore (I've mentioned her already, hmm?) and Steve Francis (co-creator of Madam & Eve, and co-writer with Gus Silber of SLASH, the latest NAM Films feature, the one that's about to return double the investment to its investors, the one that made a huge splash at Cannes recently) are elated.

But it's when Luiz pulls out two surprise envelopes that the night kicks into high gear. We're honouring two of the industry's biggest supporters with honorary SASWA membership, and they have no idea they're about to be singled out for adulation. Mfundi Vundla and Elsje Stark, two of the people responsible for the most popular soap opera South Africa has ever produced -- GENERATIONS -- are overwhelmed. Gasps, ooohs, aahs. A vigorous round of applause.

The food still sucks, but even though I go home hungry, I've got some very cool business cards in my pocket. Looks like I'll be giving Amy a call sooner than later.

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