4Play: Sex Tips for Girls Tops the SAFTA Awards Nomination Lists

The e.tv adult drama 4Play: sex tips for girls has garnered seven South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) nominations – the highest number for any television drama in this year’s awards. The nominations include Best TV Drama; Best Actress in a TV Drama (Mbali Maphumulo); Best Ensemble in a TV Drama; Best Director in a TV Drama (Amanda Lane); Best Editor in a TV Drama (Melanie Janks); Best Art/Production in a TV Drama (Marlene Ming); and Best Cinematographer in a TV Drama (Trevor Calverley).

Featuring some of South Africa’s most talented writers, directors, actors and technicians, 4Play: sex tips for girls was written and produced by Johannesburg-based Curious Pictures, for Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs. The series was funded by USAID and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The series follows the lives of four thirty-something Johannesburg professional women as they navigate sex, love and relationships in a contemporary, honest and often funny way.

It focuses on the hair and beauty salon of single mother and entrepreneur Noma (Portia Gumede), and her loquacious girlfriends Nox (Kgomotso Christopher), Danny (Tiffany Jones) and Amira (Maphumulo). Each of the women has her own unique approach to love, sex and surviving in the city.

“These seven nominations are a wonderful achievement, of which we are very proud,” says JHHESA Chairman and Managing Director Patrick Coleman.

Coleman, who brought more than 30 years of international experience in health communication to 4Play: sex tips for girls, says the nominations are testament to the confidence the show’s funders placed in non-traditional health education programming such as this – and of the value and impact of what he terms “entertainment education”.

“This is a different series when it comes to spreading serious health messages; it’s aimed at an adult audience, and is more specifically focused on women – but its titillating-but-tasteful nature, and its great entertainment value, has meant that it has appealed to a wide variety of viewers.

4Play: sex tips for girls has been far more out there than comparable series, and it has taken many risks. I would especially like to pay tribute to its funders, USAID and PEPFAR, for being prepared to take the chance on it. Their confidence in what we had set out to achieve is now paying handsome dividends.

“I would also like to laud e.tv for the sterling support it has given to 4Play. Without it, the series would not have reached the heights it has,” says Coleman.

For Bronwyn Pearce, who was part of the JHHESA team that provided the show with technical guidance, the seven SAFTA nominations highlight the superior quality of the production, the cast and the storylines, which have resonated with audiences.

“It is fantastic that educational drama such as 4Play: sex tips for girls can hold its own against the best television drama this country has to offer, in the process breaking through AIDS messaging fatigue to deliver vital health messages via the medium of first-class entertainment,” says Pearce.

The 2011 SAFTA Awards for the non-fiction categories will be held on 20 February, and the second event, for the fiction categories, takes place on 27 February.

Learn more about 4Play: sex tips for girls.

Learn more about Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA).

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