GavinHood's gritty gangster-drama Tsotsi, a double winner at the EdinburghInternational Film Festival over the weekend, has been named as South Africa'sofficial entry into the foreign language category of the 78thAcademy Awards.

The South African selection committee wasconvened by the National Film and Video Foundation and the country'sIndependent Producer's Organisation. It was chaired by Ferdi Gazendam, CEO ofSter-Kinekor who will be releasing the film later this month in local theatres.

Lastyear, South Africa nominated Yesterday which went on to make the fivestrong shortlist of films competing for an Oscar.

Thelocal film industry has enjoyed unprecedented critical success over the pastyear. However, recent upsets have just been addressed at an 'Indaba', a two dayindustry conference.

Itcame a month after the NFVF issued a statement that its film funding allowanceof $5.3m (R35m) had run out and that it would be unable to fund any furtherprojects until the new financial year in April 2006. The NFVF is making urgentrepresentations to government to address the problem.

Atthe conference, Dr. Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture, reaffirmedgovernment's commitment to the film industry saying they wished to "transformthe South African film industry into one of the hard-hitters in the SouthAfrican economy."

The Department of Trade and Industry'sacting director-general Tshediso Matona said they were addressing problems withthe rebate scheme that came under criticism earlier this year because ofslow-delivery.

Hesaid, "We are looking beyond the rebates, to also include export promotionssupport measures. When we evaluate the rebate, we have to do so with a clearunderstanding of what we are trying to achieve. The objectives are quite ambitious,but we need to aim big." He went on to emphasise the need to fast track theDTI's engagement with the film industry on how its set of incentives can bereformed and improved.

Thisweek the NFVF will have a strong presence in Venice where they will hold talkswith the Italian Ministry of Culture to discuss the status of the Italian/SAco-production treaty of which Terry George's Hotel Rwanda was the firstbeneficiary.