Cape Town – The 20th Encounters Film Festival is in full swing.
The documentary festival kicked off on Thursday, 31 May and runs to Sunday, 10 June with screenings in Cape Town at the Labia , the Nouveau V&A Waterfront and Bertha Movie House, Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha and the Bioscope, and the Nouveau Rosebank in Johannesburg.
This year 70 titles will be screened: 43 features – 7 world premieres among them – and a wealth of South African short films.
The focus that has emerged from this year’s selection process is the Power of Womanhood, reflected by the fact that over half of the 40 films selected have female directors and many focus on women who have made an indelible mark on history from Thuli Madonsela to Vivienne Westwood.
Whispering Truth To Power human rights lawyer Shameela Seedat’s powerful breakthrough as a filmmaker. This vital film tracks Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s first female Public Protector, as she builds her second case against President Jacob Zuma.
From ombud, mother, mediator and public hero to Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist. Video-artist Lorna Tucker’s first film, a definitive look at the life, fashion and activism of one of Britain’s most iconic and original designers.
The1956 march on the Union Buildings to protest the Pass Laws took 20 000 women Xoliswa Sithole’s Standing On Their Shoulders explores the legacy of the women’s movement it features the moving presence of surviving member of the March’s organisers Sophia Williams De Bruyn leading the film’s reverential, inspiring and necessary message.
Receiving its world premiere will be Sisters of the Wilderness Karin Slater’s inspiring film set in the iMfolozi, the oldest game park in Africa, where five young Zulu women from underprivileged backgrounds go for the first time in their lives on a journey of self-discovery, which offers them an opportunity to grow and heal, and serves as a reminder that we are intimately linked to nature and what we do to her we do to ourselves.
Not In My Neighbourhood is an explosive film that was born in CapeTown several years ago when filmmaker Kurt Orderson documented residents facing eviction in Woodstock and Salt River to make way for development and gentrification. The project grew and is a truly impressive piece of film activism.
Violence of another kind is confronted in the vivid and propulsive This Is Congo photojournalist Daniel Mc Cabe’s stunningly beautiful, brutally immersive and unfiltered look into the world's longest continuing conflict and those who are surviving within it. Through four compelling characters: a whistle-blower, a patriotic military commander, a mineral dealer and a displaced tailor – the award-winning film premiered in Venice last year .
The Price of Everything Nathaniel Kahn’s brilliant and captivating look at how the art world got converted into a money market. The film has unprecedented access into the global demimonde of connoisseur/investors who, over the last three decades, have made the art market into a de facto stock market, complete with trading and flipping and commodities futures. These are just a few of the highlights of what promises to be an invigorating celebration of Encounters twenty years of being at the forefront of non-fiction cinema.
OTHER MUST-SEE FILMS
Life Is Wonderful: Mandela’s Unsung Heroes through ground-breaking and never–before-seen interviews, the former English High Court Judge Sir Nicholas Stadlen throws light onto the extraordinary people involved in the Rivonia Trial – the trial that changed South Africa. Their stories and the stories of the anti-apartheid struggle show the power of people’s ideals to enable them to create the world as it should be, not accepting the world as it is.
Acclaimed South African filmmakers look into food and wine with Pluck! A Film Not Just About Chicken Lloyd Ross and Joelle Chesselet’s funky investigation into Nando’s marketing campaign and Akin Omotoso’s penetrating and insightful The Colour of Wine, which shows the changing face of the South African wine industry.
Following his 1974 documentary General Idi Amin Dada” and 2007’s Terror’s Advocate, the veteran director Barbet Schroeder completes his self-styled Trilogy of Evil with The Venerable W., a deeply disturbing look at Burmese Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, whose Islamophobic rhetoric has been at the forefront of Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya minority and other Muslims.
Lots Of Kids, A Monkey And A Castle is a madcap Spanish masterpiece that overflows with affection, warmth and humour, about a highly dysfunctional but deeply loving clan. Spanish actor Gustav Salmeron steps behind the camera to capture the winsome eccentricities of his extraordinary mother Julita, who had three dreams: having lots of kids, owning a monkey, and living in a castle.