Starsat | SA show loses out to The Hoff at Emmys
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SA show loses out to The Hoff at Emmys

NEW YORK – Puppet Nation ZA lost out to British mockumentary Hoff the Record at the 2016 International Emmys on Monday night. The winning production, which Imdb reports first aired in May 2016, stars one of the most recognisable faces in television worldwide: David Hasselhoff. The Hoff, as he is known to fans, stars in the fly-on-the wall satire now in its second season. Hoff the Record also features cameos from British comics like Ricky Gervais and presenter Piers Morgan.

The show trumped South Africa’s political satire with puppets of everyone from Julius Malema to Vladimir Putin, Thuli Madonsela to Debra Patta. Two other finalists in the category were the beautifully shot French dramedy Call My Agent and Brazilian sketch comedy series The Mess. “We leave New York with no regrets,” executive producer Thierry Cassuto wrote of the South African show’s journey to the Big Apple. “Really so proud of the team making this puppet show since 2009, against all odds with passion, perseverance and incredible talent.”

The only African show shortlisted this year (down from three African nominees last year) lost out to the British spoof documentary centred on a version of the fallen Hollywood actor. The Hoff is probably best known for his roles in Knight Rider and Baywatch, both television productions of long-gone era. Hoff the Record follows the actor as he tries to revive his career, his fictional German son in toe (borne from a fling after the fall of the Berlin Wall). Co-creator of Hoff the Record, Krishnendu Majumdar and Puppet Nation ZA’s Cassuto shared congratulations following the winner’s announcement.

Also attending the event with Puppet Nation ZA were producer Tassyn Munro, writer Karen Jeynes and actor Aggrey Lonake. Speaking on making it to the shortlist of nominees Lonake said, “It means a lot. It means a lot for everyone – my family, my associates, my country, our partners all over the world.” While the Puppet Nation ZA team absorbed the news of their loss on Monday evening guests attending the awards from Denmark, Japan and France came up to a puppet of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for photographs.    `

The team took the loss on the chin but were evidently disappointed to lose out a second year running. National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) stakeholder relations manager Lala Tuku said the International Emmys were an important platform for showcasing content from all over the world. “South African content has truly come of age and is holding its own on this world stage,” she wrote in statement. Actor and producer Tumisho Masha attended the International Emmys with the NFVF.

“I believe our television industry in South Africa is going through a [transition] in its growth and audience,” he said. “Fewer nominations does not necessarily mean a drop in quality. But also submission of material to these types of awards is driven by producers and not always by broadcasters.” Tuku added the NFVF was working very closely with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences “in order to position South African content” and ensure even more local work gets the recognition it deserves. Note: This author attended the International Emmys courtesy of StarSat South Africa. Puppet Nation ZA airs weekly episodes on StarOne on Saturday evenings. Episodes are also available on this site: www.zanews.co.za.

*Erin Bates