By now you are probably well aware that the SABC2 soapie 7de Laan
has been omitted for consideration for Best Soapie in the public vote category of the 6th annual South African Film and Television Awards
(SAFTAs) - a seemingly vindictive decision by the custodians of the top awards ceremony in the entertainment industry, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).
The NFVF have tried to indemnify themselves by claiming that 7de Laan did not submit itself for consideration, but since the Best Soapie award is one decided by public vote they merely come off as looking like they bear a grudge after the boycott by 7de Laan of the awards last year following an SMS debacle.
In fact, the entire saga itself should probably be nominated for Best Soapie, filled as it is with backstabbing, betrayal, secrets and lies.
Following a massive outcry from rabid 7de Laan fans, Danie Odendaal Productions - who produce 7de Laan - released the following statement about the affair:
Danie Odendaal Productions is disappointed to hear that 7de Laan has been excluded for consideration as Best Soap for the 2012 SAFTAs, an award which we have won in 2010 and 2011.
We were unaware that it was the NFVF's policy to exclude productions from this category if they elected not to submit entries for consideration in the performance categories. We find this policy surprising, given the fact that the title of Best Soap is awarded by a Public Vote, and we would have thought all Soaps broadcast in South Africa should be eligible regardless of their participation in the other categories.
The exclusion of 7de Laan from the Best Soap Award confirms our reservations with the SAFTAs selection process for Soaps. Most soaps produce 260 episodes a year and consist of strong ensemble casts and carry four to five storylines per episode.
To insist that Performance Awards should be judged on a maximum of three episodes makes no sense for the soaps. No single episode could effectively showcase the work of any single cast member – especially when many on the judging panel do not necessarily watch the programme regularly.
We feel our technical and creative crew members do outstanding work for television and find it unacceptable that the technical and artistic awards for soaps are discretionary and only considered in extremely special cases. The volume of work done by these individuals, let alone the quality, should motivate categories for technical and artistic crew.
Danie Odendaal Productions is not boycotting the Awards, but given our reservations around the selection process, we felt it would be inadvisable to single out individuals from our strong cast for consideration.
What do you think? Should all soapies be automatically entered into the Best Soapie category, or should the onus be on the shows to submit themselves?