Satirical Puppet News Show ZANEWS Nominated for Six SAFTA Awards; Ceremony Set for March 15-16

Satirical Puppet News Show ZANEWS Nominated for Six SAFTA Awards; Ceremony Set for March 15-16

The satirical puppet news show that fought so hard to make it to television will go to the 7th South African Film and Television Awards with a harvest of Golden Horns nominations in the TV Comedy and Animation categories.

ZANEWS, South Africa's satirical puppet news show, has done it again. Fresh from their scoop of Best Editorial Team in SA at the Bookmarks Awards (known as the "digital Oscars") last year, the little team has now trawled six nominations for the South African Film and Television Awards which will be held on 15 & 16 March at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg.

The actors, writers, editors, puppeteers, puppet-makers and producers behind ZANEWS have been nominated in the following categories: Best Actor in a TV Comedy: Nik Rabinowitz, as various characters (Tutu, Benni, Sepp, Khanyi, Khulubuse, Patricia, Ninja, etc); Best Actress in a TV Comedy: Nikki Jackman as various characters (Helen, Lindiwe, Debora, Gaga, Charlize, Yo-landi, etc); Best Ensemble in a TV Comedy: Both Worlds (the Production Company behind ZANEWS); Best Editor of a TV Comedy: Aaron Naidoo, Rod Macleod, Hugh Upsher (and Volo Ganca); Best Art Direction of a TV Comedy: Riccardo Pugliese (sets) and Lindsay van Blerk (puppet design); and Best Animation: ZANEWS.

Thierry Cassuto, ZANEWS's Executive Producer and Creator, had this to say: "We are thrilled that, finally, ZANEWS gets recognized for its contribution to television in South Africa, proving that, despite all that we've heard over the years, yes South Africans are ready for this." "Every day we show that news and politicians don't have to be scary - provided that we, the people, pull their strings. Thanks to the judges for noticing us and, most importantly, thank you TopTV for putting up with our ungovernable puppets for the last two years."

However, the future is not entirely rosy for ZANEWS as, with TopTV's current precarious financial position, the show and the team don't know if they will be able to carry on after the current 5th season ends on 3rd March. "We hope there will be a Season 6 and many more" said Thierry Cassuto. "If we poach a Golden Horn or two at the SAFTAs next month, maybe that will catch Patrice's or Cyril's attention as they unbundle some of their spare cash. Or maybe some wealthy Chinese."

ZANEWS is shown weekly at 9.00 pm on Sundays and 8.30 pm on Tuesdays on TopOne (TopTV). It is also available daily via the web and mobile at, on the South African iTunes store, on DVDs and as comic in The Big Issue magazine.

Launched by co-founders Thierry Cassuto and Zapiro in 2009, after years of struggle to get support and distribution, ZANEWS has now won or been nominated at most major South African awards, a unique achievement, including: the 2009 Handspring Award for Puppetry; the 2009 Prism Award for Best Sponsorship Programme; the 2010 SA Blog Award; the 2010 Financial Mail AdFocus Newsmaker of the Year; the 2010 South African Music Awards, for Best Music Video ("Chicken to Change", with Freshlyground); and a total of eight prizes the 2010, 2011 and 2012 DMMA Bookmark Awards, including a Gold for "Chicken to Change".

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