SHARE YOUR OLD movies

AS South Africa gears up to celebrate 100 years of cinema in the country, a passionate plea has been made for old film footage to use during the jubilee.

AS South Africa gears up to celebrate 100 years of cinema in the country, a passionate plea has been made for old film footage to use during the jubilee.

The centenary celebration of cinema will coincide with the Durban International Festival. It takes place between July 23 and August 2.

The first electric cinema recorded on the African continent was opened in Durban, a mere four years after one in the US.

Festival organisers are planning a special celebration to mark this historic day.

Film historian and lecturer at the Durban University, Mikhail Peppas, says there is no monetary reward for the film material, but organisers will negotiate with whoever is willing to share it with the nation.

"So far I only have a beautiful picture of electrical theatre that was taken 100 years ago. There must be someone out there who took pictures when cinema fever hit town," Peppas said.

He said he found it odd that in those days there were separate cinemas for black and white people.

"Little is known about those pioneering cinemas in Durban and the role they played in encouraging cinema as a social phenomenon," Papas says.

"I don't have a single photo of a cinema for black people, which was first opened in 1910."

As part of the celebration, Pappas and filmmaker Zola Maseko will host a panel discussion entitled From the Manuscripts of Timbuktu to the 100 Years of Electric Theatre in Durban during the festival. Maseko is director of the documentary, Manuscripts of Timbuktu.

The department of arts and culture is part of the celebrations.

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