Garden Route International Film Festival (GRIFF)

Late August, the 2020 Garden Route International Film Festival ‘GRIFF’, unveiled its feature film, documentary and short film lineup. Continuing its tradition of showcasing emerging talent and celebrating new work from established local and international film-makers, the 2020 edition of the Festival hosts 90 films across multiple genres. The films range from traditional dramas, crime, comedy and thrillers to political and socially-conscious films from many diverse storytellers across a host of different countries.

Taking the challenges of Covid19 into account, this year the Garden Route International Film Festival will run a Virtual Online Festival from the 21st of September to the 11th of October. GRIFF is also bringing the Drive-In Back! The Drive-In portion of the festival will travel throughout the beautiful Garden Route of South Africa across nine towns between the 25th of September and the 11th of October.

“We are encouraged and inspired by the range and diversity of the films submitted to our Festival this year by such visionary storytellers. And we are excited by the opportunity that both the online platform and the drive-in experience will give our audiences this year. Utilising our secure virtual platform, we will showcase our local and international talent to a national and global market of viewers even more so than in previous years’, said Patrick Walton, Festival Director.

The festival programme includes films and documentaries from a wide range of African countries and from 15 international countries spanning Europe, Australasia and the Americas. For many films it is their South African premiere having never been screened in this country before.

The members of the GRIFF International Jury Panel

Nicci Topping – CDA, CSA

Nicci has been a professional Casting Director for over 20 years across multiple commercial, film and TV projects and is committed to delivering casting services of the highest possible level. Her feature film work includes the award winning Northern Soul, Dusty and Me, The Black Prince and The Hand of the Creator along with multiple TV commercial projects. Nicci also won a CDA Award for Best Casting, for the Short Film “The Big Day.”

Nicci is a member of the CDA (Casting Director’s Association) in the UK and the CSA (Casting Society of America) where she is on the Chair of Inclusion& Diversity and also Publicity for the CSA European Chapter. She has been nominated for a British Arrows award has been a D&AD judge.

Jochen Alexander Freydank

Jochen is an Academy Award winning director from Germany. He also founded a production company Mephisto Film, producing short films which won multiple international film awards. In 2007 Freydank directed, co wrote and produced Toyland, set in Nazi Germany. The film received 130 nominations and won 40 awards at film festivals all over the world. In 2009 Freydank won an Oscar for Toyland.

Freydank’s directorial credits include feature films and TV movies among them Homefront, Zorn, Das Joshua Profil and Tatort. Freydank also directed theatre, wrote screenplays and produced two TV series. Freydank is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Karen Cifarelli

Karen Cifarelli has a BS in International Relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is a two time recipient of the prestigious Grace Ford Salvatori Community Service Award. While attending USC she studied Performing Arts with renowned acting coach Eric Morris of the American New Theatre.

Karen worked for Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope in the casting department and then in development and script analysis for the Jacobsen Company, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Studios. Some of the projects she supported during this time were Mission to Mars and My Friend Joe.

Since 2009, Ms Cifarelli is the owner of the Cifarelli Talent Consulting firm where she manages multi-lingual international actors for film, TV and theatre productions. Ms Cifarelli is a member of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and official juror of the 47th International Emmy Awards.

Sean Cameron Michael

Multi award-winning veteran South African actor Sean Cameron Michael is today regarded as one of Africa’s most successful exports to Hollywood. With a professional career spanning over three decades, he has performed leading and supporting roles in over 100 TV and film productions.

Highlights include Fox’s multi-Emmy and Golden Globe nominated 24: Redemption, working opposite Oscar-winner William Hurt in The Challenger Disaster and alongside Mads Mikkelsen in Universal’s The Salvation. Sean was a series regular on two seasons of Black Sails and was considered for an Emmy nomination, as well as a SAG award, two years in a row. In 2015 he became a US resident and relocated to Los Angeles. Credits since then incl. Criminal Minds, Scorpion, Shooter, MacGyver, Deep State and Universal’s The Mummy (opposite Tom Cruise) grossing over $400M worldwide.

Sean has also been a member and judge for the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences (The Emmys) since 2014 and a judge for the International Emmy Awards since 2012. He is currently writing and producing two international feature films in pre-prod for the UK, USA and South Africa.

Ian Perryman

As supportive partner and judge in the Knysna International Film Festival of 2019, Ian also is a local entrepreneur in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry and has served as a Director on the board of Knysna Tourism for 5 years till 2011, when he changed his focus towards uplifting people through education. Over the years his time has been split between various business interests and supporting local community charities, schools, businesses and local community projects. SedgeRise, Sedgefield Primêr School and Freshstart Recycling Programme are his current projects in development.

The GRIFF Film and Documentary Selections


Local and continent-wide films from both acclaimed and emerging filmmakers and performers are the focus of our African films:

’95 (Ghana)
After the death of his brother, a young boy struggles with accepting the inevitable loss.

Ander Mens (South Africa)
In this action comedy, Daniel’s life drastically changes when his wife leaves him and he is embroiled in a police sting to capture a crime syndicate.

Cut Out Girls (South Africa)
Cut-Out Girls is the story of how six young women’s lives are altered by the actions of two aspiring sportsmen.

Die Seemeu (South Africa)
A modern adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. A famous actress pays summer visits to her brother and her son, leading to
familial conflict, heartbreak and tragedy.

Finn (South Africa)
A comedy about a despondent office worker who finds himself able to communicate with the office goldfish and he is unexpectedly drawn into a frantic race against time.

Five Fingers for Marseilles (South Africa)
Lives change forever when Tau, the young lion, kills two corrupt policemen in a South African shanty town.

Flatland (South Africa)
A contemporary Western, a journey of self-discovery for three equally trapped women. A portrait of femininity against a hostile land and the world at large.

Fried Barry (South Africa)
A cult sci-fi film about Barry a drug-addled, abusive guy who is abducted by aliens.

Fruitful Emission (South Africa)
A submissive woman secretly yearns for a baby. After persuading her child loathing husband to father her a child, she finds out that he’s been keeping a dark secret.

Kanarie (South Africa)
A coming-of-age war musical. A boy gets chosen to serve his compulsory two year military training in the SADF Choir – known
as the “Canaries”.

Knuckle City (South Africa)
An aging, womanizing professional boxer and his career-criminal brother take one last shot at success and get more than they’ve
bargained for.

Kukuri (Namibia)
Kukuri is a young girl from Namibia with plans to become a lawyer one day. Her family try to force her into an illegal marriage with the local bricklayer as a child bride.

Losing Lerato (South Africa)
An action/thriller about a successful young black man who takes matters into his own hands by kidnapping his daughter after life, the law and the woman he once loved separate them.

Mabata Bata (Mozambique)
Azarias is a is a young orphan shepherd responsible for looking after his uncles herd of Oxen, particularly Mabata Bata the largest ox. One day there is an accident with dire consequences.

Mad Dogs Rule! (South Africa)
Mad Dogs Rule is a dark comedy about a pandemic which turns humans into dog-like creatures.

Mr. Johnson (South Africa)
When David Johnson awakes from a 50-year coma, he has a lot of catching up to do. At 76, an exciting new life awaits and David
wastes no time in tackling it with gusto.

Poppie Nongena (South Africa)
Based on the beloved novel of the same name, this film tells the story of a South African mother, whose life revolves around her family and finding stability in a period of insufferable upheaval in the country.

Rage (South Africa)
What is supposed to be the best holiday of their lives turns to horror as a group of teenagers is picked off one by one in a small coastal village.

Somerkersfees (South Africa)
A gripping South African Christmas movie about a dysfunctional family and their beach holiday.

The Fighter (South Africa)
A rural runaway girl and a degraded Zimbabwean boxer bump into each other and discover that they are not the only one who needs to be saved.

The Shifted and Gifted (South Africa)
A dramatic fantasy film about a mother in law relationship that takes strain from her daughter’s psychic abilities.

The Stranger (South Africa)
During the Second Boer War in South Africa, a stranger, an English deserter, stumbles on a Boer widow and her son on their farm being harassed by British troops and must make a difficult choice.

Twelve (South Africa)
Twelve year old Nina befriends 10yr old Andrea from her neighborhood and tries to safeguard her from her unstable father.

UMAMA (South Africa)
The morning after having made a promise to celebrate her son’s academic achievement, Domestic worker Sibongile wakes to find
he is missing. She stills keeps working despite her worries about her own son.


The Garden Route International Film Festival crosses many geographical boundaries with our International Content, welcoming filmmakers from abroad to join a global platform for contemporary world cinema:

$300 (United Arab Emirates).
A guy finds a wallet that always contains $300 if he sticks to one secret rule which requires him not to be greedy take all the money out of the wallet at once. First he takes $100, then $200 and $300 remains, but will he get greedy?

All World Is One (Italy)
A short film about a man who overcomes grief and tragedy by discovering the beauty of unexpected new life and love.

Art (United States)
The story of an artiste who gives life to everything he paints.

Bad Men From a Melting Moon (United States)
A man believes he was hit by a train and his genie saves his life.

Celebration Duet (United States)
Short film following a beautiful ballet performance highlighting the equality between a man and a woman.

Celtic Cross (United States)
A family gathers for a funeral to bury their patriarch and support each other at this difficult time….while coming to terms with another loss.

Days of Bagnold Summer (United Kingdom)
A teenager spends his summer listening to heavy metal music and trying to get along with his librarian mom.

F20 (Croatia)
A psychological thriller about a young girl, Martina, who starts a relationship with Filip which turns into a tense nightmare she
tries to escape from.

Hommage (Greece)
Hommage is a tribute to Lefteris Vogiatzis and his theatrical world. Images, excerpts from his performances, memories and interviews with his collaborators, are weaved in one dreamy imaginative composition.

Jenna Bums the Loveseat (United States)
On the way to begin her new life and career, Jenna crashes at her estranged brother, Ryan’s house. Ryan and his girlfriend do
everything they can to help Jenna get her life back together.

Lone Wolves (Spain)
Lone wolves is a dark prison drama about crime and corruption which explores several characters and why they ended up in jail.

Patrick goes to Bollywood (Germany)
Patrick heads to India for a chance to make it in front of the camera on the big screen.

Rasta (France)
In Ivory Coast, 16 year old Rasta, is haunted by a tragedy that he keeps secret. He begins a journey through the war zone, in search of a mysterious militiaman.

Rooted in Shadow (United States)
This short film depicts the true story of boxing legend Ramon Voorn and his son Jessey. Ramon’s encouragement enabled Jessey to become a professional basketball player and sporting pro in his own right.

Sour cream (Russia)
Two teenagers, Ulya and Matvey become witnesses of a terrible crime. They try and run from what they’ve seen, but they have nowhere to go.

Testify (United States)
In the wake of a college campus rape, a South African attorney struggles to prepare her client for the ruthless cross examination that she will endure on the stand.

The Blue Tooth Virgin (United States)
An inside look at the creative process, where Sam and David, two writers and friends, face the daunting challenge of delivering negative criticism whilst still remaining friends.

The Butterfly Love Song (United States)
Seamus is an Irish teenager whose life gets thrown into chaos when his idol, the young Lucy Block asks him on a date.

The Healer Short Film (Belgium)
A short tale about Philip, who is given a second chance in life. Free from his paralysis and out from the wheelchair, he goes to help people who need similar treatment.

Toprak (Turkey)
Toprak is the dramatic story of a simple family in rural Turkey dealing with poverty, family traditions, and religious heritage.

Transference (United Kingdom)
Rita is married to Eddie, an abusive husband, who severely punished her for having an affair. She plots a delightfully horrific revenge to get back at him.

Winfield Historical Times…And Other Oddities (United States)
Winfield Historical Times and other Oddities is a dark comedy about a young girl named Chloe, who lives a sedate suburban life in her small cul-de-sac of colorful neighbors.


Documentaries with real stories that need to be told, from notable filmmakers are represented in this section:

5×7 (Italy)
A beautiful cinematic journey set in Italy, portraying the importance of photography and how it can link the past and the present.

A Growing Thing (Germany/South Africa)
A fascinating documentary providing a glimpse of post-apartheid life from a woman’s perspective.

Beyond the Fence (South Africa)
A South African wildlife documentary which looks at the inspiring stories of Queen, Rigumo and Wisani and how they motivate their community to become the next generation of eco warriors.

Current Sea (Malaysia)
An environmental thriller which follows journalist Matt Blomberg and ocean activist Paul Ferber, in their efforts to create a marine conservation area and combat illegal fishing in Cambodia.

Deforestation Made in Italy (Italy)
A fascinating environmental documentary which follows the journey of timber illegally logged in the Amazon forest across the oceans to Europe and Italy.

Diagnosing Healthcare (United States)
A social documentary that centers on health care reform in the US. The current COVID-19 pandemic highlights the contemporary relevance and importance of this film.

Good Hope (South Africa)
A film which explores hope over despair in contemporary South Africa. How are the next generation tackling the key challenges facing their country and can they inspire hope and create a brighter future?

Harvests of Hope: California (United States)
California has the largest farming economy in the United States, but climate change is threatening to change that. Years of severe
drought have left small farmers in crisis unsure if their farms can survive.

Hummus; A story of appropriation (United Arab Emirates)
Violence and discrimination has consumed the narrow streets of East Jerusalem, and this film seeks to document the lives of a Palestinian population struggling to hold on to what little identity they have left.

Influence (South Africa)
Influence charts the recent advancements in weaponized communication by investigating the rise and fall of the world’s most notorious public relations and reputation management firm: the British multinational Bell Pottinger.

Ivan’s Game (Croatia)
Ivan’s Game is a biographical documentary which covers the life story of one of the greatest Croatian football players of all time: Ivan Gudelj.

Mr. Emancipation: The Walter Perry Story (Canada)
Mr. Emancipation is the story of Walter L Perry’s determination to stage the Emancipation Day festival that would transcend divisions of race and class.

Music Power: The Story of Capital Radio 604 (South Africa)
During the South African Apartheid regime where the government controlled all media, censored news, and banned music, a “pirate” radio station was created to report truthful and neutral news

Ocean of Obstacles (United States)
Ocean of Obstacles reveals the story of a dozen blind teenagers as they complete a life changing voyage across the Caribbean ocean.

Rewind (United States)
Digging through the vast collection of his father’s home videos, a young man reconstructs the unthinkable story of his boyhood and exposes vile abuse passed through generations.

Robin Food (Italy)
Robin Food is a non-profit and pay-as-you-feel restaurant with a mission: to rescue, cook and serve food that otherwise would go
to waste.

Soccer Grannies (France)
This film showcases the 2019 International Women’s Soccer World Cup which held the first competition between France and South Africa with women soccer players over 60 years old.

Swipe Left: The Age of Disposable Relationships (United States)
A documentary exploring how technology has changed courtship and communication in romantic relationships.

The Armstrongs (South Africa)
The Armstrongs is a short film documenting a South African surfing family that share strong bonds with each other and the ocean.

The Art of Being Human (South Africa)
This is the story of Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza a man who spent his entire life upholding the rights of humanity in South Africa.

The Edge of Existence (South Africa)
The Edge of Existence is a documentary that shows the untold story of the human/wildlife conflict in Africa.

The Eye of Africa – The Cinematic Pioneer Hans Schomburg (Germany)
This film is dedicated to the life and work of Hans Schomburg – the first German to capture the overwhelming beauty of Africa.

The Long Haul: The Story of the Buckaroos (United States)
In the style of Magic Mike and The Full Monty, seven average Joes defy traditional masculine stereotypes by putting a comedic twist on the archetypal male revue.

The Mukuru Art Boyz (United States)
Follow the lives of five untrained artists born in the slums who have survived together from childhood in the streets of Nairobi, Kenya.

The Rememberer (United States)
This documentary tells the story of Matías De Stefano, who has the ability to remember everything he has done before birth and can understand how the Universe works.

The World’s Best Film (Australia)
The World’s Best Film is an anthology documentary about 13 individuals striving to be the world’s best at their passions.

United We Sing (United States)
This is the true story of what happened when two choirs, one from America and one from Kenya, sang together and created real
sustainable change.

Who the Fxxk is Charlotte? – A Gaelic Football Story in America (United States)
This is the story of the Charlotte James Connoll’s GAA in Charlotte who compete at the highest level of the sport in North America against teams stacked with imported Irish players.

Drive-in Venues And Dates:

Riversdale 25 – 26 Sept

Ladismith 27 – 28 Sept

Calitzdorp 29 – 30 Sept

Oudtshoorn 1 – 2 Oct

Mosselbay 3 – 4 Oct

George 5 – 6 Oct

Plett 7 – 8 Oct

Knysna 9 – 10 Oct

Sedgefield 11 Oct

All venues will show two movies per night. The films are a mixture of local and international films – some Afrikaans and some English films. Included in the films are many award winning local films that we are privileged and excited to share with the public in the Garden Route area.

The drive-ins venues will have capacity for up to 100 cars. 2-3 people per car – larger vehicles can have more capacity still within the Covid guidelines.

The films will be in 16 x 9 format on a 5m x 3m raised drive-in screen. Sound will play via FM transmission through the cars via the car radio in addition to surround sound speakers at the venue. For some venues people will be able to pre-book food and refreshments via the Webtickets site.

Gates will open at 7pm and close at 8pm sharp when the films will commence.

Details on all the movies, dates, locations and ticket booking links are available at:

In addition the Online and Drive-In film festival has a number of local South African Out of Competition features and shorts.

Festival Tickets for the Garden Route International Film Festival:

All drive-in film festival tickets will go on sale on 24 August 2020 and all online tickets and passes to the festival will go on sale towards the end of August via Webtickets.

Visit for all ticket sales information.

The Virtual film festival is scheduled for 21st September 2020 to 11th October 2020. The Drive-In segment of the Film Festival runs from 25th September to the 11th of October 2020 throughout the Garden Route.

GRIFF Partners:

GRIFF is pleased to announce its primary 2020 Partners: National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), WESGRO, Garden Route Film Commission, Media Film Services, Fitch & Leeds and Value Film Fleet.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers.

Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry.

Catch him on Twitter:
And IMDb: