Diarise 5-15 June 2014 for Africa’s leading documentary festival.
South African highlights include:
- Four world premieres from top SA filmmakers
- Miners Shot Down, Rehad Desai’s award-winning documentary on the Marikana massacre
- 28UP, Angus Gibson’s BAFTA-nominated documentary for Al Jazeera and ITV
African highlights include:
- 2014 Oscar nominee The Square, about the ongoing rollercoaster of the Egyptian revolution
- Finding Fela, Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s documentary on Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti
- African oil deal expose Big Men, executive produced by Brad Pitt
The 16th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival will run from 5-15 June 2014 in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
This year’s selection echoes the current worldwide fascination with both Africa and South Africa, but challenges the hype of simplistic catchphrases like ‘Africa rising’ and ’20 years of democracy.’
SOUTH AFRICAN SELECTION
Encounters will feature two of the most acclaimed South African documentaries of recent years.
One of the most important films of post-Apartheid South Africa, Rehad Desai’s heart-breaking Miners Shot Down is a comprehensive and damning account of 16 August 2012, when the South African police shot and killed 34 striking miners at Lonmin platinum mine. Essential viewing for every South African, Miners Shot Down won at both Movies That Matter and One World, two of the most important human rights documentary festivals worldwide.
21 years ago, for ITV’s award-winning TV series 7UP South Africa, acclaimed director Angus Gibson filmed a cross-section of the country’s seven-year-old children and asked them about their lives, hopes and dreams. He’s filmed the children every seven years since: first for 14UP, then 21UP, and now, as adults, for the BAFTA-nominated 28UP, screened on both ITV and Al Jazeera last year. The South African show is a spinoff from British director Michael Apted’s multi-award-winning UP series, which is on The British Film Institute’s list of The Greatest British TV Shows.
The South African selection also boasts four world premieres: Behind The Lens, Crumbs – Toppling The Bread Cartel, Diaries of A Dissident Poet, and Spring Queen.
Liz Fish’s Behind The Lens focuses on eight South African photographers – Benny Gool, Gille de Vlieg, Guy Tillim, Paul Weinberg, Peter Magubane, Rashid Lombard, Tony Weaver, and Zubeida Vallie – who saw themselves as activists first and photojournalists second during the Struggle in the 1980s.
Dante Greeff and Richard Finn Gregory’s Crumbs – Toppling The Bread Cartel is the story of Imraahn Mukkadam, who blew the whistle on bread price-fixing in the Western Cape in 2006. Imraahn is still locked in a David vs. Goliath battle that is far from over.
Shelley Barry’s Diaries of A Dissident Poet profiles James Matthews, whose Cry Rage became the first book of poetry to be banned in South Africa.
Spring Queen, directed by Emmy-winner Paul Yule, focuses on Cape Town’s Spring Queen Pageant, which gives the city’s clothing and textile factory workers the chance to be Cinderella for a night.
There are a number of other South African highlights.
Annalet Steenkamp’s award-winning I, Afrikaner documents four generations of her Afrikaner family over the course of nine turbulent years as they cling to their identity in a scarred and increasingly unrecognizable country.
Jolyn Minnaar’s Unearthed is the story of how she becomes an anti-fracking activist after an investigation that takes her across the globe to the USA in search of answers.
Abby Ginzberg’s Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and The New South Africa explores the remarkable life of award-winning author and former Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs, who lost his right arm and an eye when South African security agents blew up his car in Mozambique in 1988.
Sean Drummond, Paulene Abrey and Luaan Hong’s Outsider is the story of South Africa artist and provocateur Beezy Bailey.
Marion Edmunds The Vula Connection is the untold story of the ANC’s ingenious communications system during the struggle.
Meg Rickards and Bert Haitsma’s 1994 – The Bloody Miracle is a timely reminder of just how close South Africa came to a civil war.
It’s a sign of the times that three of the most high-profile documentaries in this year’s international selection are set in Africa.
The Square, nominated for an Oscar and winner of audience awards at Sundance and Toronto, immerses you in the ongoing rollercoaster of the Egyptian revolution.
Executive produced by Brad Pitt, Big Men is a fast-paced tour through the high-powered world of African oil deals. Variety called it “a real life Chinatown or There Will be Blood.”
Finding Fela is Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s politically-charged documentary on Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti and the 2009 Broadway musical Fela!
Africa’s diversity comes across strongly in the rest of the African selection.
I Love Kuduro is a crash-course in the Angolan cultural phenomenon taking the continent by storm; this is arguably the most kick-ass music/dance culture documentary since David LaChappelle’s Rize.
National Diploma is an award-winning look at a group of students in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who take matters into their own hands when they are expelled after failing to pay their teachers unofficial ‘bonuses.’ Director Dieudo Hamadi will be attending Encounters as a guest of the festival.
Coach Zoran and His African Tigers is the hilarious, sad and moving story of an eccentric Serbian coaching the national soccer team in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country.
The Iranian Film is about a Moroccan cinephile trying to make his graduation film in Iran; it’s a wry love letter to Iranian cinema and the challenges of filmmaking anywhere in the world.
Jumping Into Life is the story of an inspirational performing arts school in Kenya that targets the over 80 000 youths living and working on the streets of Nairobi. It’s proof that art can exist against all odds, especially where it is most urgently needed.
Keep an eye on www.encounters.co.za for updates. Encounters is made possible through the support of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), National Film and Video Foundation South Africa (NFVF), Bertha Foundation, Al Jazeera, The Times, Wesgro, City of Cape Town, BASA, Backsberg Estate Cellars and HCI Foundation.
The NLDTF relies on funds from the proceeds of the National Lottery. The Lotteries Act and regulations guide the way in which NLDTF funding may be allocated. The NLDTF wants the grants to make a difference to the lives of all South Africans, especially those more vulnerable, and to improve the sustainability of the beneficiary organisations. Available funds are distributed to registered and qualifying non-profit organizations in the fields of charities; arts, culture and national heritage; and sport and recreation. By placing its emphasis on areas of greatest need and potential, the NLDTF contributes to South Africa¹s development.
Watch and embed the trailers:
Miners Shot Down:
28UP South Africa:
I Love Kuduro:
Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa:
Coach Zoran and His African Tigers:
1994 – The Bloody Miracle:
The Vula Connection:
Crumbs: Toppling The Bread Cartel:
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