Audiences flock to watch first ever hand-painted film

Originally posted on Wits Vuvuzela, 2 March 2018

‘Loving Vincent’ tells the story of Vincent van Gogh by bringing his art to life.

Oscar-nominated film, Loving Vincent, premiered in South Africa to a sold-out opening weekend at The Bioscope cinema in Maboneng, last weekend. The film has made history as the world’s first entirely hand-painted feature film, in which all 65 000 frames are individual oil paintings produced by 125 different artists from around the world.

The movie tells the story of the world-famous Dutch artist, Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890), particularly focusing on the circumstances surrounding his death. It is a Polish production written and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. It has been nominated for Best Animation Feature at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards this year.

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The Bioscope owner, Russell Grant, told Wits Vuvuzela that the decision to screen Loving Vincent was a no-brainer. “It’s the first feature film of its kind that had my attention when it first came up,” he said. Grant was able to get access to the film through distributors he had built relationships with. According to Grant, it is normal for movies to perform well on their opening night, but for a movie to sell out its entire opening weekend is unusual.
The film uses Van Gogh’s most famous works, such as ‘Starry Night’, as its basis. According to Wits School of Arts, History of Art lecturer, Stacey Vorster, Van Gogh’s style and art is influential because it “broke away from the tradition of realism, arguably sparking a generation of avant garde artists who fundamentally changed the idea of western art”, said Vorster. Lwazi Stofela, 24, who saw the movie, said, “It’s definitely worth the hype. I rate art lovers and school kids need to watch it.

Loving Vincent will screen at The Bioscope until Tuesday, 6 March.

Photo: provided

Wits medical graduate honoured with provincial award

Originally published in Wits Vuvuzela, 13 March 2018.

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Wits health sciences alumnus Dr Sivuyile Madikana was honoured this past Saturday by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

Former Wits student Dr Sivuyile Madikana was awarded the Health Excellence Special Award at the second Gauteng Premier Youth Excellence and Service Awards in Centurion on Saturday, March 10.

Madikana received the award for his innovative use of social media to spread medical and health information. He uses his social media platforms to promote HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns with organisations such as Brothers For Life. Madikana, who was one of the Mail and Guardian’s 2017 Top 200 Young South Africans, also launched #VarsityConvos, where he hosts discussions with students at tertiary institutions about HIV/AIDS, engaging in risky behaviors, and gender-based violence. Madikana said, “the award itself is great because it’s a recognition of the work I do”.

Madikana graduated from Wits in 2012 with his Bachelor of Medicine degree and then completed a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at the Wits Business School in 2017. His MBA research topic was on how to use social media to communicate health care and encourage behavioral change.

“As part of my degree I studied brand strategy and communication. [Using] Twitter forced me to find creative ways to thread information in a way that is easily understandable”, said Madikana.

According to Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Lionel Green-Thompson, the faculty is committed to growing doctors applicable to South African situations. “My approach is to stand by our students encouraging them to be the best professionals they can be – graduates who are more than the facts that they accumulate in their studies,” Green-Thompson said.

The Gauteng Youth Awards were created in order to acknowledge the positive impact made by youth and to encourage young people to serve their communities. A project manager of the event, Simon Modise, said the winners are voted for by the public and their contributions are then verified by a committee. “We encourage winners to be mentors to the youth and ambassadors for the program”, he said.

There are over 30 recipients of the awards with the biggest award being a R10 000 prize to undergo training in leadership and management with a local skills development firm.

Photo credit: Naledi Mashishi, Wits Vuvuzela