Written by Tom Deehan on Jul 7, 2016. Posted in General Interest

Dan Mace wins big at the Young Director Award 2016

At this year’s Young Director Award, South African Director Dan Mace managed to walk away with two major accolades under his belt: Silver Screen Awards in the Best Short Film and Changing the World categories. Of all the entries made at the YDA 2016, Mace was the only candidate from all of Africa to take home an award.

The two short films in question are Gift and Mine Sniffing Rats, both of which rely heavily on the African landscape to tell their stories. Gift depicts the life of a young boy who strives to become a professional dancer despite his poverty, while Mine Sniffing Rats tells of the use of rats to detect mines left over from Mozambique’s Civil War.

Mace explains: “seeing the quality of all the other directors’ films at the YDA this year was a big eye opener for me and has really given me the drive to keep diving deeper into my scripts and to put in that extra effort in the referencing and pre-production phase. Winning any award feels great and it really helps keep your confidence up out there amongst all the many good films and great content.”

Speaking of Mine Sniffing Rats, Mace notes: “it’s always challenging to film something so rich in culture and heritage, especially when it’s not your own. The team spent a lot of time researching to make sure that we covered every important aspect within the scripting and shot listing phase. By training the rats to detect the smell of explosives, the mine-clearing operation has become far more efficient and the rats themselves are challenging for the title of ‘man’s best friend’.”

South Africa is a highly popular location for both domestic and foreign productions, thanks to its tax incentive programme. Projects shooting on location can claim a rebate of up to 25%, capped at R50 million. Recent high-profile productions include the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower and Sean Penn’s latest film, The Last Face.


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