The awards, which started in 2013 to promote KwaZulu-Natal talent, are named after Sabela who was South Africa’s first black film director.
The nominated movie UBIZO is about a shy and self-conscious theatre caretaker who has to overcome his greatest fears in order to fight for his biggest dream of becoming a professional dancer.
‘The idea for the movie actually came from my 2018 film honours student Natalia Bombala who was at UKZN on the Erasmus Mundus Programme on an exchange programme from the Humboldt University in Berlin,’ said Makhanya.
‘As a lecturer, I was listed as a co-producer. The movie was produced as part of the honours course, which is a very participatory programme with the whole class getting very involved in each student’s film production.’
His advice to other aspiring filmmakers is to never give up. ‘Without commitment, you will never start. But more importantly, without consistency, you will never finish. It is not easy. Keep working, keep striving. Fall down seven times, get up eight! Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.’
Asked about his future plans, Makhanya said: ‘The vision is to produce films that will put KZN on the national and international map.’
Makhanya thanked students Ms Natalia Bombala, Mr Andile Biyase, Ms Yonela Ndzeku, Ms Nokwanda Nkabini, Mr Mthokozisi Zungu, Ms Nothando Mbhele and Mr Siphokazi Shazi. ‘They were all tireless in efforts to support one another. This nomination is also due to the contribution of other UKZN individuals who were not film students, but contributed a lot. My special thanks to Mr Andile Khumalo and Mr Mlondi Ngubane.’