The 24th edition of the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival offers a bold selection of international films from 23 June to 3 July. And for the first time in two years, all films will be shown in selected cinemas
In a time of growing global nationalism, political upheaval and uncertainty, the voice of resistance feature strongly in a number of films screening in this year’s line-up. As well as the hard-hitting thriller-doccies, there are a variety of uplifting music-themed films, humanitarian and social justice centered films and, for lovers of films – films about films and filming.
The festival also features a number of African and South African documentaries centered around belonging and home, where roots formerly were and where they are now, relationships and money, and love and success.
Featured film screenings and events include: A House of Made of Splinters, Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power, Film, The Living Record Of Our Memory, The Conductor, Among Us Women, The New Gospel, Young Plato, No Simple Way Home, The Voice Behind The Wall
Here’s a list of featured events and screenings happening around the city.
Container is a collaboration between documentary filmmaker, Simon Wood, and visual artist and researcher, Dr Meghna Singh. The interactive work positions itself at the intersection of virtual reality and installation art, forming a hybrid of documented and constructed realities to make visible the invisibilised millions enabling our consumerist society. Supported by Electric South
When: Sat 25 June & Sun 26 June, 10am to 5pm | Where: V&A Waterfront (Pop-up Space adjacent to the brewery)
In the aftermath of grand Apartheid’s forced removals, a form of cultural politics burgeoned around the cinemas of Athlone on the Cape Flats. Often targetted by pernicious strategies of petty Apartheid, the cinema, or bioscopes, nevertheless became spaces for reimagining community.
Spaces such as the Kismet Cinema opened vistas of freedom and created a platform for building a non-racial future, inspired by film and music. How did we account for these cultural politics in the very midst of Apartheid’s dread? What was the significance of the bioscope in building community? And what future might we envisage for such cultural politics on the Cape Flats in the wake of Apartheid?
This panel brings to the fore themes and ideas from Premesh Lalu’s documentary, The Double Futures of Athlone.
Panellist: Premesh Lalu – Founding Director, Rashid Lombard – Journalist, Sylvia Mndunyelwa – Singer, Actress & Radio Personality, Dinga Sikwebu, Jayson King
Moderator: Valmont Lyne – Scholar, Musician & Activist
When: Monday 27 June, 3pm to 4pm | Where: Online | RSVP
The filmmaking team behind Among Us Women interrogates the processes behind the making of their feature documentary. In this case study, they share how they defined and then aligned the values they wanted to convey in the film with how they produced and shot the film. Among Us Women is a creative collaboration between an international crew and the local community of Megendi. Collaborators were from Ethiopia, Germany and Latin America. Teambuilding and finding a language to understand each other was essential.
This one-hour training session explores pitfalls in the production process and how to facilitate spaces for the filmmaking team and crew, as well as identifying unconscious power dynamics and the filmmakers perceived position of power – how can this be considered, analysed and affirmatively reconciled? Participants are invited to reflect about their own values in filmmaking.
Supported by Goethe-Institut South Africa and DOK.Fest Munich.
Panellist: Sarah Noa Bozenhardt (Director: Among Us Women), Daniel Abate Tilahun (Director: Among Us Women), Sonja Kilbertus (Producer: Among Us Women)
Moderator: Barbara Off (Project manager DOK.network Africa)
When: Tuesday 28 June, 3pm to 4pm | Where: Online | RSVP
Join the panel demystify the distribution and commissioning of documentaries. DFA board member, Khanyi Magubane, hosts Rachel Gordon, author of the hot-off-the-press book, The Documentary Distribution Toolkit, and Nicola van Niekerk, commissioning editor of the popular South African true crime series, Devilsdorp. Rachel’s experience and theories will act as a practical guide to reaching audiences and Nicola will invite us into the world of broadcast, mapping the ever-growing VOD landscape and current industry trends.
Presented by Encounters in association with the Documentary Filmmakers’ Association. docCHAT is a bi-monthly webinar and virtual coffee date hosted by the Documentary Filmmakers’ Association
Moderator: Khanyi Magubane
Panellist: Rachel Gordon (Author & Distribution Expert), Nicola van Niekerk (Broadcast & Television Professional)
When: Wednesday, 29 June, 3pm to 4pm | Where: Online | RSVP
In Nina Menke’s meticulous documentary Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power, she puts into focus the history of cinema from 1896 – 2020, with a critical lens on the male gaze in film. Carefully deconstructing images, frame by frame, we learn about how women are represented on screen to beguile audiences. This all-female led panel analyses the engagement with all-too-familiar sexualised portrayals of women and the progress of the #MeToo era in an attempt to challenge our perceptions and champion a revolutionised approach towards filmmaking.
Panellist: Nina Menkes (Director & Producer: Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power), Sandra de Castro Buffington (Producer), Jabu Nadia Newman (Director). Khanyi Mbau (Actress & Television Personality)
Moderator: Desiree Lewis
When: Thursday, 30 June, 3pm to 4pm | Where: Online | RSVP
The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent rise of streamer-oriented documentary films have both had significant influence on post-production processes. Remote editing, often with extensive input from different international funding partners and often with an editor from a different country, has become a standard feature of international documentary production.
Featuring two filmmaker-editor teams from the films Transactions (Director, Rumbi Katedza / Editor, Ronet Van Der Walt) and Girl, Taken (Directors, Simon Wood, Francois Verster / Editor, Bob Caldwell) that worked in this manner, this panel explores the practical challenges involved, as well as the impact of international market demands on storytelling style and content.
Panellist: Rumbi Katedza (Filmmaker & Writer, Director: Transactions), Ronet Van Der Walt (Editor: Transactions), Francois Verster (Director: Girl, Taken), Simon Wood (Director: Girl, Taken), Bob Caldwell (Editor: Girl, Taken)
Moderator: Sam Soko – Director, Producer & Editor
When: Friday, 1 July, 3pm to 4pm | Where: Online | RSVP
Legal Tango is a conversation between a multi-award-winning group of filmmakers about the common and unexpected legal challenges that arose during their filmmaking processes.
The session is hosted by Shameela Seedat, a filmmaker (African Moot), lawyer and DFA board member. Panelists include:
– Richard Gregory, whose film The Radical, about ‘the world’s first openly gay Iman’, (Muhsin Hendricks) required the negotiation of various sensitive characters and community relationships
– Rumbi Katedza, whose film Transactions, featuring a Zimbabwean family scattered across the globe, involved production in multiple continents
– Thandi Davids and Laura Colucci from Storyscope Media – proactive producers behind an array of hard-hitting documentaries, including Whispering Truth to Power, Influence, Ghosts of Gadaffi, Her Story and Senzo: Murder of Soccer Star – who have often had to face complex legal and ethical issues related to fearless storytelling in a complex world.
When: Sat 2 July, 11am to 1pm | Where: Bertha House, 67 – 69 Main Rd, Mowbray, Cape Town | RSVP
LIFE’S MAXIMS: REINVENTING EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS THROUGH CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHY
Bringing expertise together by clinical psychologists, education experts and mental health activists, this panel will consider the film Young Plato in the context of South African youth education and development.
The Belfast-set film documents headmaster Kevin McArevey’s attempt to place philosophy at the centre of his school in a community historically plagued by Northern Ireland’s ‘The Troubles’. With the aim of diffusing violence and improving the well-being of South African school students, the panellists will welcome new perspectives in empowering the young minds of South Africa.
Panellist: Scott Sloan – Founder & Director, Mandy Sanger – Head of Education, Piko Jon Wycliffe Yako – Senior Clinical Psychologist & Lecturer.
Moderator: Mark de la Rey – Clinical Psychologist
When: Sat 2 July, Post-Screening Panel | Where: Labia Theatre, 68 Orange St, Gardens, Cape Town | RSVP