Welcome Note

Backsberg Encounters Audience Awards Announced

Encounters reveals the winners of the Backsberg Encounters Audience Awards at the 2019 South African International Documentary Festival.

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Welcome, Wamkelekile, Welkom, ||Khore ||hares…to the 21st Encounters South African International Documentary Festival – the country’s formative documentary event. We take great pleasure in presenting you with an excellent programme of 65 local and international titles, screening over 10 days in two cities.

Encounters is back this year in full strength and with renewed commitment to elevate the prestige of the documentary in the country; and at the helm is returning Director Mandisa Ralane, backed by a small but passionate team, an expert board and industry friends. 

You will notice another change…the Festival in Cape Town is taking place only at The Labia, with satellite programmes at the Bertha Movie House Khayelitsha and Bertha Bioscope at the Tshisimani Centre.

We are delighted to welcome local filmmakers and those from around the world. We extend our deepest gratitude for allowing us to showcase your works. 

Out international guests include Vincent and Erron Miles, son and nephew respectively of Miles Davis (Miles Davis:  Birth of Cool), Rebecca Ajulu-Bushell (Breakfast in Kisumu); Catherine Bizern, artistic director of Cinema du Réel (courtesy of IFAS-French Institute of SA); Andreas Laika (Cold Case Hammarskjöld), Shaun Nelson (Gereza/ Hustler); Nereu Afonso da Silva (Election Day), and others to be confirmed. 

Encounter’s partnership with Swiss has endured, it was 21 years ago that Encounters collaborated with Pro Helvetia on the first Encounters Swiss South African Documentary Film Festival and the Close Encounters Documentary Film Making Lab in 1999. This year, the Swiss Focus will see director Emmanuelle Antille present her film A Bright Light: Karen and The Process and conduct a master class, other titles include Chris the Swiss and #Female Pleasure

Through our partnership with DOK.fest München, Prof. Karin Jurschick (Playing God), is conducting a master class and attends with Barbara Off ( DOK.fest München, DOK.network Africa Project Manager).

Our compelling documentary programme will ignite conversations about a range of urgent political and social issues, often with empathy and deep insight, from justice denied for past political crimes, Jihad radicalisation and the influence of Fanon, to iconic humans: OR Tambo, Gorbachev, Miles Davis…to films about culture; underground Cape Town in the 60s and 70s, theatre during apartheid and traditional Mozambican dance and music…and the wild west of doc formats are on show:  thrillers, mockumentaries, animation and the micro-docs!

We’ve planned an oh-so-useful industry programme to equip filmmakers with business skills in partnership with Wesgro, City of Cape Town and FNB, and a series of workshops and presentations to help filmmakers go global with the Documentary Filmmakers Association.

We’re engaging our youth audience with the third Encounters Youth Jury presented with Ster Kinerkor, and a roll-out of our Inreach programme – creating access to the Festival. 

We sincerely hope you will enjoy our programme, we have poured our hearts and souls into an offering of challenging, engaging and inspirational films, and invite you to engage with the many filmmakers presenting their films. 

On behalf of the board, we extend our sincerest gratitude to our loyal funders, partners and supporters whose logos are presented in the programme, for their support of this 21st edition.