The River's Emmy nomination 'testament to quality of African storytelling'

We are still shell-shocked about the nomination.

Phathutshedzo Makwarela, Co-creator and co-executive producer - The River

Phathutshedzo Makwarela, co-creator and co-executive producer of local telenovela The River, says the news of their Emmy nomination still hasn't quite sunk in, three days later.

We submitted, we didn't even think we'd get shortlisted, let alone nominated... You move on with life.

Phathutshedzo Makwarela, Co-creator and co-executive producer - The River

The River bagged 11 Golden Horns at the 2019 South African Film and Television Awards, but the Emmy nomination catapults it into the international arena.

The series will be competing against shows from Argentina, Colombia and Portugal for the International Emmy in the Best Telenovela category.

Makwarela points out that Latin America are "the kings of telenovelas".

For us at the bottom of Africa to even be in that category... it's a testament that African storytelling is just as competent as the rest of the world.

Phathutshedzo Makwarela, Co-creator and co-executive producer - The River

Makwarela points out that although they have experience as script writers, The River is their first crack at producing.

He agrees that the success of the series hinges on the quality of the cast and relates the challenge of recruiting the cream of South Africa's acting talent.

We thought, will we be able to entice her (Sindi Dlathu) to play this murderous mining tycoon?... if we can get her, then all the building blocks will come in... It was a crusade to get her to say yes.

Phathutshedzo Makwarela, Co-creator and co-executive producer - The River

We really owe a lot to those great actors that, without us having any experience in producing, they said yes!

Phathutshedzo Makwarela, Co-creator and co-executive producer - The River

The 47th International Emmy Awards ceremony takes place in New York on 25 November.

Listen to the conversation with Makwarela here:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : The River's Emmy nomination 'testament to quality of African storytelling'


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