BIG Fish Digital School of Filmmaking, one of South Africa's leading film schools, has won an international award for its innovative training programme.
Based in Milpark, Johannesburg, and headed by academic and former SABC board member Melanie Chait, Big Fish has received the prestigious Stevie Business Award.
Winners were selected from more than 30 countries. Big Fish is the only organisation in Africa that won.
The school addresses job creation and skills training for the increasing number of historically disadvantaged Grade 12 South Africans who do not have access to tertiary education.
With an 85percent employment rate among former students and the balance freelancing and earning big salaries, Big Fish is assisting many young people and their families as well as contributing to the economy of South Africa.
"Having trained many of the students, I have seen some of South Africa's most talented youths rise from a place of disillusionment to a place of success and hope," says Jacques Pauw, journalist and CNN multi-award winner and head mentor for advanced training.
"What is remarkable about Big Fish's training is their ethos and drive to produce socially responsible filmmakers," Pauw says.
Rehad Desai, South African Screen Federation board member and director of the Three Continents Film Festival, says: "The Stevie Business Award is internationally recognised as a premier business award. It is very heartening to see the sterling work of Big Fish recognised internationally. A great day for South Africa."
"The school continues to produce high-calibre students, who are ready to enter the industry. It's a great day for South Africa," he says.
Chait says: "We are truly honoured to have won.
"Many NGOs are doing remarkable work, which so often goes unnoticed, yet their interventions are having a significant effect on addressing core social and economic issues."