Michael Chèze Productions
Feature and short films
In 1993, while Michael Chèze was Head of International Co-Productions at M-Net, he was responsible for launching the M-Net New Directions series. The series was conceived to include mainly half-hour films, but also feature films. A number of reviews of the history of South African cinema regard this initiative as one of the most significant developments in local cinema in the 1990's.
The M-Net New Directions series gave emerging writers and directors the opportunity and resources to explore the language of film in original ways. In supervising the series, he worked very closely with many of the writers and directors to push the boundaries of what the series might achieve. The initiative, over the years, has resulted in a range of films which have won national as well as international acclaim.
Some gems that stand out from the 1990's are: Barry Berk's Angel, Khalo Matabane and Mtutuzeli Matschoba's Chikin Biznis, Lance Gewer's Come See the Bioscope, Dumisani Phakati's And Old Wife's Tale, Russel Thompson's Pink Leather Chair, Minky Schlesinger's Salvation, and Tamsin MacCarthy's Cry Me a Baby.
Some award-winning films include:
Chikin Biznis (feature):
• Vues d'Afrique Film Festival (Montreal) - Grand Prix (1999)
• All Africa Awards - Best Anglophone Film (1999)
• Fespaco - Best Actor, Best Screenplay (1999)
• Milan Film Festival - Best Actor (1999)
• Black Hollywood Film Festival - Best Feature Film (2001)
Chikin Biznis (short film):
• Fespaco - Best Short Film (1997)
• Avanti Awards - Best Short Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Craft Awards for Music, Editing, Overall Production (1997)
An Old Wife's Tale
• Avanti Awards - Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress
Angel and Cry Me a Baby were selected to compete at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999.