JAN wins a SAFTA

When we made JAN the TV show, it was uncharted territory for me, so I was absolutely overwhelmed by people’s responses. Some of our viewers actually toured every place we featured in the show! And when we recently won a SAFTA (a South African BAFTA) for Best Variety Show at the 2019 awards ceremony, I couldn’t have been more humbled to have received this kind of recognition from my fellow South Africans in the film industry. Thank you to my co-produciton team at BRAINWAVE PRODUCTIONS who are with out a doubt the best team to work with! And now, you all might ask… when is season two coming out? The good news: It’s only a matter of months! 

The South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) were established in 2005 by a group of South Africa’s top filmmakers to honour, celebrate and promote the amazing talent in our film industry. The three-pronged trophy is called the “Golden Horn”, whose three heads symbolise collective effort, community, and the recognition of the individual as part of the team (the cornerstone of the African philosophy of Ubuntu).

“Our industry is immensely talented and, as a country, we have such an abundance of rich stories to tell. I feel so proud and honoured to have been given the chance to share my story, and to have received this kind of recognition from my fellow South Africans!” says Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, whose journey to Michelin stardom is depicted in the first season of JAN.

Season 1 débuted on VIA, a predominantly Afrikaans-language channel on DSTV (Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading broadcast satellite service) in 2017. But the show’s universal story of a young South African chef who journeyed to France to pursue his culinary dream, becoming his country’s first and (as yet) only Michelin-star chef, soon attracted a diverse range of viewers from South Africa and beyond.

Brainwave Productions, the multiple-award-winning team behind the production of JAN, first approached Jan Hendrik with an idea for the show in 2016. “It was meant to be,” says Carien Loubser, the show’s Executive Producer. “We met on another set where we first talked about the idea of doing something together. After that, I met with Jan Hendrik at his house in Cape Town and we started shooting four months later. I think the winning recipe with this show was that it was always very important to us to give Jan Hendrik as much creative freedom as possible, which really allowed us to capture the reality of his life in a very natural, unscripted way.”

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