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South African Features


South Africa
2008 • 48min • Dir: Henner Frankenfeld

To be chosen by the ancestors, to become a sangoma, is to receive a gift from the creator, and refusal may provoke their anger. Illuminating is the idea that a nyanga might not want to heed the call to serve the ancestors and that the gift of sight can be a burden as well as a privilege, for the families too.

Photographer Sipho Futshane’s life was on track. He was about to crack the big-time as the bass player for the Kwaito firebrand Gurash. A car accident, which ended his musical career, forced his mother to confront her calling. In the film it is revealed that both her grandmother and grandfather ignored theirs - and that it led to years of heartache and trouble.

Seen through Sipho’s eyes, his investigations into the past and a photographic exhibition of his journey, this is an enthralling, compassionate, respectful and intimate account of the complexities of incorporating traditional spirituality into present day reality.

Courtesy of the Director and SABC

A panel discussion will be held in the cinema after the screening on 19 July. Please see Panel Discussions for more details.

Preceded by Soul Train and Goodman Gallery short

SCREENS: Sun 19 / 4pm + PD


South Africa
2009 • 50min • Dir: Tim Greene
World Premiere

Taking its cue from the UK series Who Do You Think You Are? that climbed the family trees of well-known celebrities and memorably uncovered Ainsley Harriott’s slavery history, Greene delves into the background of soapie star Dawn Matthews and excavates a past as difficult as her present is privileged.

Marriage to a Jewish husband provokes a curiosity to uncover her own history, which leads to a biological DNA inheritance test, a journey to the Origins Centre at Wits to discover her Khoi roots, and a trip back to the Eastern Cape on a quest to find the identity of her biological father and the revered ‘Malabar’ slaves family connection. The journey becomes a very personal step back - to a simpler time when family rather than fame was centre stage, feathers were the gold of the day and women, rather than men, were the glue that bound.

Courtesy of the Director and the SABC

Dawn Matthews is a guest of the festival and will attend the Première screening on 4 July.

Preceded by Goodman Gallery short

SCREENS: Sat 4 / 5.30pm + Q & A

FOKOFPOLISIEKAR "Forgive them for they
know not what they do"

South Africa
2009 • 108min • Dir: Bryan Little
World Premiere

In-your-face progressive punk rock band Fokofpolisiekar are the subject of Little’s spirited look at both the contemporary Afrikaans music industry and the shifting cultural sands of morphing white Afrikaans culture. Told in interview and through original video of their first tour and album, the film focuses on how the Belville band came to be a voice for the dislocated youth straddling the before-and-after of 1994.

They were a frustrated generation disillusioned with the lies of the church and state but without a form of expression, and as such the film is a political and personal commentary about those times - not old enough to fully understand the effects of living under Apartheid, not young enough to be entirely ‘new’ South Africans. Cultural confusion isn’t the only currency - the groundbreaking retro comic book,
B-grade film, Chicago punk rock design of their marketing also features.

Courtesy of the Director and Fly on the Wall Productions

Director Little and Producer, Filipa Domingues, will attend the Première screenings of their film on 3 and 9 July.

SCREENS: Fri 3 / 8.30pm + Q & A • Thu 9 / 8.45pm + Q & A • Mon 13 / 6.30pm • Sat 18 / 8.30pm


South Africa
2009 • 85min • Dir: Lindy Wilson
World Premiere

Roger Bushell was the mastermind of numerous WWII Prisoner of War camp escapes. One such escapade was celebrated by the 1963 film The Great Escape starring Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough as Bushell.

Hermanus born Bushell’s story is told by his niece, Wilson, based on a file she found, put together by her grandfather. Bushell, a dashing character with a ‘fat chuckle,’ left to train as a barrister in London, then joined the RAF as a fighter pilot. Trading ancient Blenhams for Spitfires only two months before going into combat, he was shot down over Dunkirk in 1940, taken prisoner and sent to Dulag Luft. Wilson shows his various escapes through a mixture of letters home, recreation and interview, culminating in his heroic plan to liberate 70 men through a tunnel from his Baltic POW camp.

The details are astonishing - papers, clothes, routes were all meticulously planned. Wilson’s film is very personal, capturing Bushell’s sense of fun, family and wit. At one point after his second capture he writes home apologising for the hiatus in letters, explaining ‘he had changed his address because he’d left the camp without asking’.

Courtesy of the Director

Wilson is a guest of the festival and will attend the Première screening of her film on 5 July.

Preceded by Goodman Gallery short

SCREENS: Sun 5 / 8pm + Q & A • Wed 15 / 6.30pm


World Premiere


South Africa • 2009 • 25 min • Dir: Liz Fish

Beautifully shot on location at the Chimfunshi chimp and wildlife sanctuary in northern Zambia, on the Congo border, this is the tale of Sandy, a powerful, troubled chimpanzee and his care giver and friend, Dominique Chinyama. Sandy’s distrust of other chimps, due to an incident with a crocodile, means he is housed seperately and the film documents his move to a bigger, sun-filled enclosure. This film is as much Dominique’s story as Sandy’s, telling the tale of a dedicated animal lover who rose from poverty to become a pivotal player in the Chimfunshi story.


South Africa • 2009 • 25min • Dir: Emma Bestall

Though a day-in-the-life of three people who exist by, with and from, the Ganges River, this film is really the story of the river of the past 1 000 years. And it is the reality of 1 000 years and 1 000 000 pilgrims a year that has virtually stilled the river. Ashes, bodies, effl uent, offerings, all kinds of debris litter the waters. Furthermore, the dreams of many holy seekers are clouded by deeply entrenched classism, particularly the ‘undertakers’ - the untouchables. The film uses the river’s narrative to explore the intricacies and inherent ironies surrounding concepts of purity, impurity, the holy and mundane which are acted out daily on its banks.

Courtesy of the Directors and the SABC

Fish, Bestall and Producer Michael Raimondo will attend the Première screening of the films on 6 July.

Preceded by Goodman Gallery short

SCREENS: Mon 6 / 6.30pm + Q & A • Wed 15 / 8.30pm


South Africa
2009 • 48min • Dir: Ernie Vosloo
World Premiere

This episode of the South African Who Do You Think You Are? series, Vosloo gets to grips with Jabulani Tsambo, aka Hip Hop Pantsula, voted Best Rap and Best Male Artist (SAMA 2008).

HHP describes his music as motswako (the Tswana for ‘mixture’), but the film is less about his success or musical influences, and rather delves into the Mmabatho icon’s background to reveal a complex web of heritage of culture - Tswana royalty and Xhosa commoner on his mother’s side, and Zulu and Shangaan on his father’s.

A few intriguing surprises are unearthed - particularly to do with Kgosi Mokgatle, his great grandfather and a Bafokeng chieftain at the time of the Kimberley diamond rush - and a rich history of social edginess despite our supposedly puritanical past. Ultimately Vosloo’s film does what few others have managed and goes a long way to answering the question ‘what does it mean to be African?’

Courtesy of the Director and the SABC

HHP is a guest of the festival and will attend the Première screening on 3 July.

Preceded by Jitsvinger

SCREENS: Fri 3 / 6.30pm + Q & A • Thu 9 / 6.30pm


South Africa
2009 • 90min • Dir: Mark J Kaplan
World Premiere

In 1974 the British Lions, citing a passion for rugby that surpassed politics, defied the mood of the day to tour Apartheid South Africa. At the time, the Springboks had never been defeated on their own soil, but Willie-John MacBride’s astoundingly organised and highly professional team put an end to this, and won 19 regional matches and 3 tests, drawing the last test.

For three months, using advanced tactics, cohesive teamwork, consummate skill and unexpected speed, the Lions systematically embarrassed the South African teams in front of capacity crowds. The South Africans retaliated with violence that resulted in one of the bloodiest rugby matches ever recorded.

Drawn from archive footage, and reminiscences of Lions and Bok players, this documentary transcends sport and reveals the energy and passion of a young team that inadvertently, resoundingly, bloodied the nose of Apartheid’s most effective propaganda tool.

Courtesy of the Director

Kaplan is a guest of the festival and will attend the Première screening of his film on 8 July.

SCREENS: Wed 8 / 8.30pm + Q & A


South Africa
2009 • 74min • Dir: Catherine Meyburg
World Premiere

A Politics and African Studies graduate, Kentridge also studied mime in Paris and worked as an art director for television. Arguably South Africa’s best-known, internationally renowned artist, he was included in Time 100, an annual list of the world’s most influential people. His work is exhibited and collected by major museums around the world. Cape Town born and UCT educated, Dumas has lived in Holland since the mid-70s.

Described as ‘an intellectual expressionist’ and ‘profoundly feminist’, her work has been exhibited the world over, most recently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2008). These two instantly likeable, giant figures of South African art meet to discuss personal artistic process and practice, their perceptions of beauty, painting, reduction, application, and the subjects and mediums that they choose. Their chat gives us a gentle insight into their work, thoughts and feelings, and a fascinating glimpse into the working reality and studios of artists who refuse to be button-holed by one genre or another.

Courtesy of the Director and the Goodman Gallery

Kentridge will attend a special screening hosted by the Goodman Gallery on Wednesday 1 July.

SCREENS: Wed 1 / 7pm invite only • Tues 7 / 8.30pm • Fri 17 / 6.30pm


South Africa
2009 • 48min • Dir: Riaan Hendricks
World Premiere

Independent filmmaker, Genadendal-born, Hendricks takes a journey back into his past as his present becomes a complicated place; his father is dying of cancer, his mother is battling to keep the household together and the ghosts of yesterday are threatening to overwhelm the present.

As he steps back, family secrets and long-held hurts are revealed that, if the future is to be better than the past, must be confronted. The film is an unapologetically personal trip, with the director-filmmaker at the very heart of the story. This proximity lends The Last Voyage an arrestingly uninhibited
quality, where the traditional barriers of documentary filmmaking are dismantled, exposing a raw immediacy that is both fascinating and engrossing. Courtesy of the Directors and the SABC
Hendricks is a guest of the festival and will attend the Première of his film on 6 July.

Preceded by Freddy Ilanga

SCREENS: Mon 6 / 8.15pm + Q & A • Sun 12 / 5.30pm


South Africa
2009 • 48min • Dirs: Nhlanhla Mthethwa & Nadiva Schraibman

Despite comprehensive guidelines (Section 28 of the Bill of Rights), children in South Africa face more challenges to their health and well-being today than ever before. Through frank and often heartbreaking interviews with children, Lunchbox Bullies
highlights the difficulties that often lead to children bullying each other. A selection of bullies’ lives are chosen and examined, going beneath the surface of abuse, malnourishment and tragedy to starkly show the roots of violence in our society.

Yet despite the socialist leaning, the film commendably tackles the breadth of reasons
behind why a child may go bad, asking startling questions about inherent psychology
as well as society’s role.

Courtesy of the Directors and the SABC

Co-director Mthethwa is a guest of the festival and will attend the screening of his film on 10 July.

SCREENS: Fri 10 / 6.45pm + Q & A


South Africa
2008 • 75min • Dir: Zola Maseko
World Premiere

Nestled in the desert wastes of Mali are the beautiful and evocative mud turreted mosques of Timbuktu. For over 900 years, Timbuktu was the centre of African intellectualism, an important trade route, a satellite of Islamic learning and home to the venerated writer, scholar and political activist Ahmed Baba.

Today, Timbuktu’s golden age has faded, but its treasure is encapsulated in 10 000 exquisite, laboriously hand painted manuscripts that have been handed down from father to son for generations. These archived, ancient manuscripts are now seen as an important part of Africa’s intellectual heritage, and have assisted in the revision and reclamation of Africa’s rich history. Using interviews with present scholars, historians and Imams and a recreation of the life of Ahmed Baba, this thorough documentary explores and celebrates the manuscripts’ legacy against the broader political, social
and intellectual African context.

Courtesy of the Director and the SABC

Maseko is a guest of the festival and will attend the screening of this film on 4 July.

Real Life Documentary Festival 2009 - Walter Mosley Award

Preceded by DFA short

SCREENS: Sat 4 / 5.45pm + Q & A • Tues 14 / 6.30pm


South Africa
2009 • 52min • Dirs: Craig & Damon Foster
World Premiere

Climate change is increasingly a tired old cliché, but told from an African perspective, the Foster brothers’ film is both refreshing and illuminating, focusing as it does on local and regional realities. They not only address the state-of-play on the African continent, but also look at uniquely African solutions to the problem and find answers in the very technologies that have taken us to the brink.

So the team at the Centre for Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch University reveal their ‘hot air’ farms that have the capacity to power entire cities. There is Darling Wind Farm Project, which feeds directly into the national grid. Sky kites on super tankers, viable, existing eco-villages, dye sensitised solar cells which enable buildings to generate their own electricity, and South Africa’s own electric car, the Joule are also revealed. The film’s intention is not simply to look for solutions, but rather to suggest a shift in behaviour and consciousness - towards a more sustainable, nature-based sense of life in balance.

Courtesy of the Directors

SCREENS: Sun 12 / 8.15pm • Sun 19 / 6.30pm


South Africa
2009 • 48min • Dir: Liza Key
World Premiere

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was an extraordinary moment in our collective histories, a struggle to forgive, where 21 000 victims told their stories and 7 000 perpetrators confessed their crimes. To mark its tenth anniversary, South African composer Philip Miller used ‘shards’ from recorded testimonies - fragments of exhalations, intonations, moans, murmurs, gasps - to compose Rewind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony.

This is the engrossing and, at times, harrowing story behind this exceptional and unusual artwork. Between excerpts of the Market Theatre performance, directed and designed by Gerhard Marx, Miller (composer of Yizo Yizo, Heartlines, Kentridge’s 9 Drawings for Projection and Noyce’s Catch a Fire) tells the story of the cantata’s development, and the recordings that inspired him are placed in a visual context using interviews with some of those who testified, and public broadcast and secret service archive footage.

Courtesy of the Director

Director Liza Key and composer Philip Miller are guests of the festival and will attend the
Opening Night. Miller will conduct a Q&A after the screening on 5 July.

SCREENS: Opening Night Thu 2 / 7.30pm - INVITE ONLY • Sun 5 / 6pm + Q & A • Thu 16 / 6.30pm


South Africa
2008 • 96min • Dir: Francois Verster
World Premiere

Emmy Award-winning Verster’s latest film is an ode to the Mother City and its people. Lying on the coast of Cape Town - South Africa’s most segregated city - there is one public space where everyone does seem to come together: the previously exclusively white Sea Point promenade and municipal pools. Set between city and ocean, this beautiful strip of “everymansland” offers a quirky and often entertaining mix of class, race, gender and religion: a place where South Africans of all backgrounds can experience happiness together... But is all as it appears?

Sea Point Days presents an unusual and impressionistic record of life on the promenade and in the pools, and the people who inhabit this space, using largely cinematic vignettes to explore issues of belonging, integration, nostalgia, happiness and identity in an ex-white South African neighbourhood.

Courtesy of the Director and Luna Films

Verster is a guest of the festival and will attend the South African Première screening on 3 July.

SCREENS: Fri 3 / 8.30pm + Q & A • Sun 19 / 8.15pm


South Africa
2008 • 53min • Dir: Ntokozo Mahlalela
World Premiere

Africa’s colonial past as a foundation for the tribalism that has impaired the continent’s progress underscores Mahlalela’s sharp, focused film about the ties that bind some of us. From Mbeki’s intellectual ‘I am an African’ speech to the calling for a radical black Africanist direction for black Africans, the film deconstructs the complexities of self, culture and identity using the voices of some of the continent’s more radical thinkers, including Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, Aubrey Matshiqi, Dan Habedi, Eugene Paramoer, Brigadier General Petra Mari, and the Vice Chancellor of UCT, Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo. It is an unapologetically intellectual film, yet offers a revolutionary message of comprehensive reinvention. Splicing interviews with historical footage, the story goes back to the bible and forward to the divisive Apartheid years. Mahlalela’s premise, that natural tribal differences were exacerbated by colonial powers, is backed up with evidence of the Bantustan apparatus and the imposed social structure of foreign entities. Not for the faint-hearted.

Courtesy of the Director

Mahlalela is a guest of the festival and will attend the Première screening of his film on 5 July.

Preceded by The Pioneer of Paraguay

SCREENS: Sun 5 / 5.45pm + Q & A • Sun 12 / 4pm