A platform for young South Africans to watch independent films currently being produced locally, and to engage with the creators of these films, has been developed by two innovative

It's time to take local short films Off the Shelf
Gauteng companies.

Off the Shelf, a monthly screening of local short films, also provides a platform for emerging young talent in film to express themselves and to be discovered.  The screenings take place on the last Sunday of each month.

Off the Shelf is an initiative of Coal Stove Pictures, who have partnered with Intermission to host the screenings on the rooftop of the Lister Medical Building (aptly named Private Practice), thereby making a strong contribution to the urban renewal program by transforming downtown Joburg into a hip and trendy place to be.

Coal Stove Pictures was started in November 2006 by Wandile Molebatsi, Scottnes Smith and Fidel Namisi, when all in their third year of study in the Film and Television Department of Wits University. They were driven by a passion to grow the local film industry from the grassroots level of audience appeal. The first step was to get people to watch the films they had made, so they approached Primi Piatti, a restaurant in the Rosebank Mall with film projection facilities, and struck up a deal to show their films there.

They started showing their movies to packed audiences on the last Sunday of every month, but soon realised that there were many other filmmakers who were also interested in showing their films to audiences, and before long they had quite a volume of films to show and keep the event going.

The Coal Stove members personally financed the screenings and their investment soon reaped rewards, with Coal Stove winning the prestigious BASA Award for Art Sponsorship by a Small Business (2007).

Most importantly, Coal Stove created links with a large network of young filmmakers in Gauteng, particularly those trained in AFDA (The School of Motion Picture, Media and Performance), Tshwane University of Technology, the University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand.  Coal Stove also created links with students in Arcada Polytechic (Helsinki), the University of Helsinki, the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University as well as Kenyan filmmakers. All these filmmakers wanted their films to be shown to audiences, and Coal Stove provided them with the platform to not only show their films but to also interact with their audiences.

In August 2007, Coal Stove partnered up with Intermission, the company that owns Private Practice, in order to provide a home for Off the Shelf.

Intermission, an event management and facilitation company with access to an extensive portfolio of locations, to rent or for sale, within the Johannesburg CBD, also represents a wide variety of artists, designers, photographers and performers, and as such are a dedicated producer of pictures and sounds.

For more information, and to find out details of the next Off the Shelf screening, go to www.coalstove.co.za or www.intermission.co.za