Main Programme Highlights At NAF2019

The dizzying rotation of newsfeeds, non-stop change and the struggle for something newer, more connected and as yet unborn, is played out in the works on the National Arts Festival’s 2019 Main Programme, which is selectively curated by the Festival and its Artistic Committee.

Held in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) from 27 June-7 July this year, the Main programme forms part of a much broader offering of uncurated, unsolicited works and multiple focus areas for discussion and experience. It is a richly stimulating and thought-provoking journey through some of the issues at the top of artists’ minds and makes for a deep dive into what South Africa is grappling with and can reimagine if it has the will.

A PDF of the Main Programme is available to view or download here. Full bookings open 7 May.

Core to the mood of the 2019 programme is a desire to reflect on identity. From the rich celebrations of indigenous African music and dance to reworkings of classical and contemporary pieces, there is a desire to explore culture and connection, land and belonging. As if a talisman for this journey, 2019 Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance Kitty Phetla has collaborated with 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz Nduduzo Makhathini in GOING BACK TO THE TRUTH OF SPACE (Dance), a submersion into ritual and a struggle for restoration that also merges the talents of two artists who are separate but connected through intention.

The louder voice of Afro-centric and Afro-celebrant themes is echoed on through numerous works such as Jefferson Bobs Tshabala’s EKASI LAM – AN ODE TO KWAITO, UN-OWED TO KWAITO (Theatre), which takes the audience into the heart of township life, and AMAWETHU (Dance) that challenges slave-era stereotypes of traditional African spirituality as demonic and asks that we reconnect with our true culture.

Nowhere is this growing affirmation of African culture and identity louder than on the music programme, which is filled with music from the African continent and a blending, remixing and repurposing of Western, contemporary or classical music into this landscape. From INGOMA KA TIYO SOGA, a collaborative exploration of the 160-year-old works of intellectual, composer and evangelist Tiyo Soga by visual artist Sikhumbuzo Makandula and singer/songwriter Mthwakazi to EASTERN CAPE DIVAS with Afro-acoustic, indie-folk singer Nombasa Maqoko and jazz/performing artist Titi Luzipho.

The Divas are joined by the Kwantu Choir, a combination of Rhodes students and the voices of the residents of Makhanda’s Rhini and Joza townships. The Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra will present the GALA CONCERT and the SYMPHONY CONCERT. Also among those taking to the stage are South Africa’s globally recognised performers LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO, THE DRAKENSBERG BOYS CHOIR, MAFIKIZOLO, the SPRINGBOK NUDE GIRLS and FRESHLYGROUND, to name but a few.

Moving to finding the humour in our very unique circumstances, South African comedians will sound out our nation’s psyche in THE VERY BIG COMEDY SHOW, hosted by Rob van Vuuren and featuring Loyiso Madinga, Tats Nkonzo, Mojak Lehoko and more.

CONTINUING CONVERSATIONS (Visual Art) challenges notions of who sees art and where, and considers the juxtaposition of power and powerlessness, identity and body politics, perceptions of the other and the exotic, memory, and the masks we wear. The exhibition is made up of about 40 works that have been selected from the extensive collections of the University of Johannesburg and MTN. Artists on show include Gerard Bhengu, Reshada Crouse, Wilma Cruise, Phillemon Hlungwani, Maggie Laubser, Judith Mason, George Pemba, Cecil Skotnes, Irma Sternand Edoardo Villa.

Featured Artist 2019, Berni Searle will bring a number of works to the Festival as part of this spotlight on the career of an extraordinary South African artist.

The contemplative and emotive voices of our storytellers resonate throughout the programme with personal stories of pain and resilience. From 2019 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre Amy Jeptha’s haunting time-travelling journey into the memory of displacement and the restitution in ALL WHO PASS (Theatre) to a story of searing grief and silence through two characters in Gopala Davies’s MOONLESS (Theatre). Former Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre (2018) Jemma Kahn takes it left-field as a scientist befriends a virus in CELLIST WITH RABIES (Theatre).

Literature, history and iconic people have caught the imagination of many artists as they tackle some of the big themes these events and visionaries have given us: from Magnet Theatre G7’s raw and emotional retelling of the country’s excavation of secrets at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in OKWE-BOKHWE (Theatre) to ANGOLA/CAMP 13 (Theatre), a brave and unflinching look at the abuses of power and human rights within the heady times of Umkhonto weSizwe’s training camps, written by Sello Maseko.

Artists on the Arena explore the works of Kafka in UJ’s play METAMORPHOSIS and timeless playwright Zakes Mda’s THE MOTHER OF ALL EATING with Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Luntu Masiza. Mda also inspired award-winning playwright and director Thembela Mdliki’s new play, WHERE SHE WALKED.

Brett Bailey’s much-anticipated SAMSON (Theatre) puts the biblical story of Samson through a sensational treatment, bringing it into the 21st Century to explore the global underbelly of political extremism, inequality and violence.

The continuing merging and blending of genres and the growing influence and creative possibility of technology is evident through an exciting streak of productions running through the programme,some of which form part of the Creativate Digital Arts Festival, which runs throughout the Festival this year.

DEURnis/UZWELO (Theatre) is a highly experiential piece of theatre between one audience member and one actor. Audience members spend 20 minutes in each room of the piece for a total of 100 minutes of immersion. SWARM THEORY is a playful investigation into the possibility of a collective human intelligence and will take place as public art on the streets of Makhanda.

The old Power Station will be utilised for ARCADE (Performance Art), a durational, live-art performance curated by Gavin Krastin that sees audiences interacting with the performances as they happen. UK creative company Curious Directive brings FROGMAN (Performance Art) to the Festival, a coming-of-age thriller within a 360 degree virtual reality environment that will take audiences into a new era of theatre.

South African born Mira Calix returns to the country to present IN SITU (Music). Calix sees music and sound as sculptural material and, in this work composed of two pieces, uses data to inform musical composition.

Among other international contributors to the Festival are:

  • Irish comic Dylan Moran, who holds the Festival’s record for selling out his show in the fastest time. He returns to town with a new work, DR COSMOS (Comedy). Described as a comedic Oscar Wilde, his acerbic wit will be a tonic for many of us. I AM SOMEBODY (Performance Art) by Swedish company Sirqus Alfon is a “high octane, electro clown ride through a bizarre post-internet world”.
  • American actor and playwright Stephen Fales brings CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY (Theatre) to the Festival. Inspired by his own true story, it follows the experience of a sixth generation Mormon who is excommunicated from the church when he comes out as gay. Sexuality and acceptance is also in the spotlight in PINK MONEY (Dance), a collaboration between Swiss, Dutch and South African artists. Both of these works will resonate with the exciting new South African voice at #NAF2019 —the winner of the Distell National Playwright Competition, Koleka Putuma, who will interrogate structures and beliefs through her first adventure into playwrighting in NO EASTER SUNDAY FOR QUEERS (Theatre).
  • German-Chinese choreographer Hannah Ma explores rituals that transcend cultural boundaries in WANDERER (Dance) and also brings a light-hearted, poetic interpretation of the ballet Les Sylphides in SYLPHIDES to the Main dance programme. Nigerian dancer, choreographer and activist Qudus Onikeku presents SPIRIT CHILD, another piece inspired by a literary work — this time Ben Okri’s classic,The Famished Road.
  • The Main Curated Film Programme, selected by Katarina Hedrén, is a journey across time and place. Many of the films on offer are African in both content and origin but otherwise tackle multiple ideas and stories. A series of musical documentaries include a fascinating look at the life of Afrobeat creator Fela Kuti in FINDING FELA (2014) and GIMME SHELTER (1970),labelled ‘the best rock film ever made’, Classical fans will enjoy contemporary films of the exquisite productions of FAUST and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW from the Royal Opera House Collection. The first ever SARAH BAARTMAN FILM FESTIVAL will host workshops conducted by filmmakers from 1-5 July and the young residents of Makhanda will enjoy the NOLUTHANDO BIOSCOPE – showing current favourite films for small people.

The Student Theatre Programme again creates a space for the critical outputs of student theatre makers with a strong offering from several South African institutions and private colleges.

Acting Executive Producer of the National Arts Festival Nobesuthu Rayi says: “I would venture that Festival-goers are going to be challenged, amused and inspired by this year’s programme with its many layers and textures. Many of us will find ourselves meandering between ‘then’ and ‘now’ with a combination of past reflections and the unsettling present as we try to figure out what next for humanity and the country we call home. We are proud to be presenting such a carefully selected programme with different shades and textures covering such range – from entertaining to thought-provoking – creating a holistic experience. It’s an experience I look forward to sharing with you.”

As the Festival celebrates its 45th year, one of its longest standing partners is Standard Bank. Desiree Pooe, Head of Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank, commented on the 2019 National Arts Festival: “On this 35th anniversary of our partnership with the National Arts Festival, we cannot wait to delve into and savour the delights of the 2019 offering. From the Children’s Festival to the Creativate Digital Arts Festival, the 2019 Standard Bank Young Artists’ solo productions, world-class jazz, theatre, visual arts, dance and contemporary music productions, the National Arts Festival will once again take us to a higher level. On behalf of Standard Bank, I encourage you to experience, engage, enjoy and show your #AfricanheART.”

  • A PDF of the Main Programme is available to view or download here. (Note: The Fringe programme, Creativate and more will be added until the full programme is complete by the time bookings open on 7 May 2019.)
  • This year, printed programmes will be available to purchase online for R75, excluding delivery. It will be available from during May — watch the Festival channels for these announcements.
  • Festival fans wanting to plan their trip can pick up some handy tips here.

Encounters Announces Opening Night Film And More Of The Hottest 2019’s Acclaimed Documentaries

The 21st Encounters South African International Documentary Festival has announced the opening night film as well as a host of the most talked about non-fiction films from the past year. Fresh from the world’s leading festivals, Encounters has secured the rights to screen 2019’s most acclaimed documentaries, movies that put you in places as diverse as the front row of high-fashion’s runways to eavesdropping on an international racist conspiracy with South African ties, from a tribute to Pan-Africanism via Fela Kuti to Afrika Bambaataa’s search for his routes in Kwa-Zulu Natal, this years selection is overflowing with essential choices for documentary fans.

The opening night film, coming just weeks after its World Premiere in Competition at Hot Docs, Toronto’s holy grail of documentary film festivals “Buddha In Africa”, by South African director Nicole Schafer receives its’ joint South African premiere at Encounters and the 40th Durban International Film Festival.

This delicately observed documentary is about a Malawian teenager in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, who finds himself torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing. The film focuses on Enock, a young teenager caught between his traditional culture, his dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li and the strict discipline of Confucianism. Set against the backdrop of China’s growing influence on the African continent this essential film poses complex questions about race, imperialism, faith and culture and offers a subtle exploration of the impact of soft cultural power on the identity and interior life of a young boy and his community. Director Schafer says, “It’s also about Africa’s relations with other foreign nations, including the former colonisers. It’s this idea that the key to the future of the continent’s development is always held by outsiders, and that in order to succeed, we have to adapt to foreign value systems and policies. I think Enock’s story challenges this idea in very refreshing ways.”

This year, once again Encounters is proud to co-present several South African and international documentaries in association with DIFF. The partnership has enabled filmmakers to premiere their films at both Festivals for the last 14 years.

For the next ten days from 6th to 16th June Cape Town and Johannesburg audiences will have the privilege to see this year’s top-rated documentaries, each of them breaking new ground in non-fiction filmmaking.

You will find eye-popping spectacles as you’re placed in the front row of high-fashion in Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui’s ravishing “McQueen”, a superbly crafted, emotionally wrenching and fully dimensional portrait of ill-fated British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. A working-class gay boy from a housing estate, his phenomenal storming of the walls of the ever-so trendy world of the demi-monde is fascinating in itself. And the film, like his designs is scorchingly outspoken, thrilling, troubling and tinged with tragedy. Nominated for a BAFTA for both best documentary and Outstanding British Film of the year the film Won 2019’s LGBTQ documentary of the year from the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association.

“Cold Case Hammarskjöld” won Danish provocateur Mads Brügger Best World Documentary Director at February’s Sundance festival, and received the same honour from this year’s One World International Human Rights Documentary Festival. Brügger is infamous for his ironic and incisive trawling of the tainted and the corrupt. In 2011, his documentary The Ambassador was about the trading of diplomatic titles in Africa. Now he is back in Africa on the trail of the plotters and murderers of UN Secretary Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961. The dirt he uncovers should be creating a stench from London to South Africa via Belgium in what Variety’s Owen Glieberman described as, “a singular experience that counts as one of the most honestly disturbing and provocative nonfiction films in years.”

Another coup for this year’s Encounters is the screening of “Talking About Trees”, director Suhaib Gasmalbari’s elegant and bittersweet chronicle of the demise of Sudanese cinema and the group of retired directors hoping to revive their country’s love of film. The film won the Glasshutte Prize for Best Documentary and the Panorama Audience Award at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival before winning the Fipresci Prize and Jury Prize at the Istanbul International Film Festival in April this year. Charming and sad in equal measure this is a paean to the love of cinema as two of the one-time luminaries of Sudanese cinema – Ibrahim Shaddad, Suleiman Mohamed and their cineaste friends Suliman Enour and Eltayeb Mahdi – attempt to revive a cinema in a country where movies have been banned for years. A gorgeous experience for those who travel in the projector’s beam, and for those who prefer to watch movies in the comfort of their own streaming services, this eye-opening documentary may make them reconsider the value, both cultural and political, of being able to see something on the big screen.

Brazilian director Joel Zito Araújo’s “My Friend Fela” had its World Premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam before going on to win the Paul Robeson Award for Best Film from the Diaspora at Burkina Faso’s FESPACO, the world’s pre-eminent African film festival. It explores the life of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti from the perspective of his long-time friend Carlos Moore. Locating Fela’s story firmly within the Black Consciousness movement, the film follows him from his first travels to London and New York – where he was confronted with his own blackness and African identity for the first time – to his ascent as one of the planet’s most acclaimed musical talents, and his eventual death in 1997. The resulting film is both a portrait of a remarkable man and a tribute to the Pan-African generation.

“The State Against Mandela and the Others” from French directors Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte was in the Official Selection of this year’s Cannes and was nominated for a Cesar, receiving acclaim for its unexpectedly refreshing take on the apartheid era’s pivotal Rivonia trial. Drawing on a treasure trove of previously inaccessible 256 hours of audio recordings, the directing duo bring the archive clips alive using heavily stylized hand-drawn visuals by the Dutch graphic artist Oerd van Cuijlenborg, whose kinetic monochrome animations morph into pure abstraction in places. It is a remarkable documentary and an inspired recycling of archival material. Weaving the reflections of those still alive into this artful fusion, the film brings emotive, enlightening perspective to a case that may be most famous for putting Mandela in prison for 27 years, but ruptured many other lives besides.

A feast of new South African films will also be screening at this year’s Encounters. Following its North American premiere at Hot Docs this May “Dying for Gold” from directors Catherine Meyburgh and Richard Pakleppa , is a devastating documentary centred around South Africa’s biggest class-action lawsuit, against the mining industry – a key force in shaping apartheid South Africa. Featuring a rich archive of footage from the colonial and apartheid eras, along with interviews with gold miners whose lives have been decimated by silicosis and tuberculosis, this forceful, vivid film clearly shows how Southern Africa’s indigenous societies were destroyed in order to mine the world’s richest deposits of gold at the cheapest possible price.

Equally as passionate is Susan Scott’s “Stroop: Journey into the Rhino Horn War”, which made headlines as South Africa’s breakout documentary of the year after winning over 17 international awards. As gripping and grueling as the best of thrillers, it follows two inexperienced female filmmakers who travel the African bush and South-East Asia in search of answers to the random slaughter of the world’s diminishing rhino population. Most recently it won the sought-after ‘Best of Festival’ award as well as ‘Best Independent or Feature Film’ at the International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF) in Montana this April.

Paul Yule’s tribute to a South African legend “Americans, Mongrels & Funky Junkies – the Life of Jo Menell” is an inspiring and affectionate tribute to a rare South African whose life of exile and global activism has aligned with many of the key moments and figures of the last 60 years. From Vietnam to Castro, from Hockney to Mandela, filmmaker Jo Menell’s exceptional capacity to be both storyteller and subject offers an unusual and brilliant perspective into the complexity of our times.

This year’s festival sees a rare screening of “Village Versus Empire” by Emmy winning South African director Mark J Kaplan. Set on Jeju Island, off the coast of the Korean Peninsula – one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Nature’, with more UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites than any single geographic location on planet earth. But, there is trouble in this paradise. Its fragile ecology and ancient shamanistic traditions are currently being devastated by the construction of a US naval base. Through the memories and actions of a range of political activists, religious leaders and artists the film explores the inter connectedness of past, present and future and the universal relevance of a village resisting an empire.

“Zulu Return” is the intriguing debut from emerging director gugulethu. The documentary follows the fallen hip hop hero Afrika Bambaataa’s spiritual quest to South Africa – the country he spent so much of his life honouring and defending through his music and activism – as he faces the effects of abuse allegations against him in his own life.

Encounters is delighted to announce a Swiss Focus, in association with Swiss Films and the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa Consulate General of Switzerland in Cape Town, that will include “#Female Pleasure” Barbara Miller’s Award winning examination of the obstacles that stand in the way of female sexuality in the 21st century. Emmanuelle Antille’s “A Bright Light: Karen and the Process” a wild and enchanting journey in the footsteps of cult singer Karen Dalton, forgotten muse of the 60’s and “Chris the Swiss” director Anja Kofmel’s dazzling feature debut where she revisits the wild life and strange death of her war reporter cousin with an innovative blend of animation and documentary.

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. In 2001 Encounters became the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, but our relationship with Switzerland has endured, particularly with Vision du Réel, in Nyon, a documentary festival that regularly incorporates a South African Focus, hosting local filmmakers and their work.

Also in the bumper line-up for this years feast of non-fiction film are “Beyond the Frontlines: Resistance and Resilience in Palestine” a significant and powerful film from French author and feminist Alexandra Dols, German documentarian Karin Jurschick’s “Playing God” which follows the struggle of the charismatic and controversial US attorney who, since 9/11, has been charged with the impossible task of assigning a dollar value to life when compensating victims of America’s most tragic events. Lesotho breakthrough filmmakerLemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s beautifully poetic “Mother, I Am Suffocating, This Is My Last Film About You”, Jacqueline Gozland’s moving tribute to the heydays of the Algerian cinematheque “My Story Is Not Written Yet” as well as the premiere of progressive Soweto-born filmmaker Fanney Tsimong’s “My Culture My Music”.

The World Premiere of Jozi Gold is a story of wealth, greed and poisonous mountains. Johannesburg has produced a third of all the gold in the world. Now the gold is running out, the mines are falling apart and toxic waste turns water into poison. Former Jehovah’s Witness Mariette Liefferink is on a mission to force the mine bosses to clean up. The film is by Fredrik Gertten and Sylvia Vollenhoven based on an original story by Adam Welz.

Encounters is made possible by the support of Bertha Foundation, City of Cape Town, WESGRO, Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa Consulate General of Switzerland in Cape Town, Swiss Films, IFAS – The French Institute of South Africa, DOK.fest Munich, Goethe Institut, Backsberg Estate Cellars, HCI Foundation, Refinery, Documentary Filmmakers Association, South African Guild of Editors, UCT Centre for Film & Media Studies, City Varsity, Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking, Labia, Ster Kinekor Cinema Nouveau, The Bioscope, Bertha Movie House, Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education and Protea Hotel Fire & Ice.


Top SA Creatives To Judge World’s Best Work For Cannes Lions 2019

Seven leading South African creatives have received one of the most sought-after accolades in their field – being selected as judges for this year’s edition of the Cannes Lions.

Seven leading South African creatives have received one of the most sought-after accolades in their field – being selected as judges for this year’s edition of the Cannes Lions.

The Cannes Lions awards recognise excellence in specialist creative fields, and form part of the annual Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, a five-day event that sets global benchmarks in the marketing and brand communications arena.

Being chosen to judge the best work on the planet is an acknowledgement of a creative’s own standing in their industry. It’s also a serious feather in the cap of the professional concerned, as well as their agency, and the South African creative sector at large.

Ster-Kinekor Sales – official Cannes Lions representative in South Africa – has announced the list of the South African creatives to receive the honour this year. Chosen to judge this year’s Cannes Lions, from June 17-21 in Cannes, France, with the categories they will be judging, are:

  • Tseliso Rangaka, ECD of Ogilvy Cape Town – Radio & Audio
  • Neo Mashigo, COO M&C Saatchi Group – Print and Publishing
  • Ryan McManus, Chief Creative Officer, VML – Entertainment
  • Michael Zylstra, Chief Strategy Officer, Dentsu Aegis Network – Media
  • Nikki Taylor-Garrett, Creative director at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris – Brand Experience & Activations
  • Fran Luckin – Chief Creative Officer at Grey Advertising – Film
  • Claudi Potter – Creative Director at Joe Public – Direct Marketing

Ster-Kinekor Head of Marketing Lynne Wylie said the South African creatives added to the jury had long been acknowledged as leaders in their field, and would do their country proud during the judging process.

“Our seven judges are opinion-leaders in the industry, and they are perfectly equipped to determine which work has set global trends over the past year. We are proud to have them representing us,” she said.

“Having a chance to judge the cream of the crop in creativity is a great honour,” she said. “These are seasoned professionals, and they richly deserve this recognition. Being exposed to all that magnificent work will no doubt inspire them to contribute even more to the growth of our local industry.”

Wylie said the healthy relationship between Cannes Lions and Ster-Kinekor helped to keep the local media industry in touch with world trends. “Ster-Kinekor is proud to play this kind of role in supporting and inspiring our creative sector,” she said.


Locations Africa Expo And Conference At 10th Durban FilmMart – 19 – 22 July 2019

The Durban FilmMart, the continent’s leading film industry event, will host the inaugural Locations Africa Expo and Conference, an exciting and innovative new addition to this year’s 10th edition which takes place from 19 to 22 July during the 40th Durban International Film Festival (18 to 28 July) in South Africa.

Locations Africa, is a platform conceived in 2015 by Zesan Films and Events and Martin Cuff Consulting as a marketing tool with an aim to increase the number of films shot in Africa, and to develop an economy around filming locations on the continent by creating employment opportunities and exposing these locations to the rest of the world.

This first Expo and Conference at the DFM and DIFF will focus on re-igniting efforts to position Africa and key filming destinations as being “open for business” and where relevant, equipped with the various elements a filmmaker needs to consider before production. The Expo will showcase African filming locations, crew, various facilities and opportunities for co-producing, while the Conference will provide opportunities for filmmakers to unpack and discuss production and locations needs, opportunities and the possibilities that exist for filmmakers from within and without the continent.

“We are really delighted to welcome Locations Africa to the ever-growing industry offerings in our DFM programme, as we provide more opportunities for filmmakers to develop content, create films and drive a very lucrative economy around film,” says Toni Monty, Head of the DFM. “This is a perfect opportunity for really network the continent across borders and inter-continentally as well.”

The four-day Expo will include representation and exhibition showcases from national and regional film commissions, government departments including South Africa’s Arts and Culture, Tourism, Trade and Industry as well as private sector film studios, locations management companies, set designs, crew and talent agencies, production teams, equipment businesses, music, SFX and post-production services.

The Conference will run over four days, with two to three engagement sessions a day. Sessions are titled Where We Are – Setting The Scene which is an introduction to the concept of a Locations Africa event, focusing on why this segment of the film industry is important, Sell The Dream which will look into the realities Locations Africa faces when promoting locations and services to international producers, Getting Involved, which will unpack training and awareness for new entrants into servicing and facilities management and Africa is Ready, which showcases through case studies, just how ready the industry is.

“Locations Africa has been over 4 years in the making with research from across the continent on the practicalities of physical production to ensure that our information through this expo, conference and web portal are as relevant and practical as possible,” says Azania Muendane, Director of Locations Africa. “Africa is ready for business and we believe that through Locations Africa, this will grow. We are very excited to be in partnership with the DIFF and the DFM, as this is the perfect setting to introduce a focused engagement of physical production, Locations and facilities on our continent. We encourage more inter-country productions and inbound international productions to interface with us at Locations Africa online or at the expo for their location shoot needs.”

Locations Africa will take place at the Tsogo Sun, Elangeni Hotel in Durban from July 19 to 22, and is open to all Durban FilmMart delegates. To register go to

For more information on Locations Africa visit or email us at


Durban International Film Festival Reveals Programmers For Its 40th Edition

As the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) gears up for its 40th edition, eight programmers have been working tirelessly for four months to consolidate a strong programme for this major milestone in the history of film on the continent.

DIFF, organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, takes place this year from 18 to 28 July in venues around Durban, South Africa. It takes the record of being one of the oldest and largest festivals in Africa, presenting over 150 films, while also offering workshops, industry seminars, discussion forums and outreach activities that include screenings in townships areas, where cinemas are non-existent.

“In celebration of 40 years of DIFF, we are proud to reveal our strong line-up of programmers,” says DIFF Manager Chipo Zhou. “Our features panel includes Tsitsi Dangaremba (Zimbabwe), Gabrielle Kelly (USA), and Peter Machen (SA/Germany), the documentaries panel is made up of Theresa Hill (South Africa) and Nataleah Hunter-Young (Canada); while the shorts panel comprises Lisa Ogdie (USA), Fibby Kioria (Uganda) and Chioma Onyenwe (Nigeria).”

“The role of the programmers is vital in the shaping of a festival, and we are very excited to be working with such internationally-acclaimed and recognised individuals, representing a diverse range of expertise and interests. Their task, to select 150 films from an incredible 12300 entries to this year’s festival, was a formidable challenge, and we are most grateful to them. We had, as part of the DIFF extended family, 60 reviewers from around the globe to support them, and we look forward to locking down the programme over the next few weeks, and delivering a festival befitting its “fabulously fortieth” year.”

Zimbabwean playwright, poet, activist and award-winning novelist and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangaremba, has produced several documentaries and short short films, and has credits on most of Zimbabwe’s feature film classics. Her award-winning short film Kare Kare Zvako (Mother’s Day, 2005) was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

Theresa Hill, with 20 years of experience working in the documentary industry, is responsible for acquisitions, programming, marketing and planning for the online platform AfriDocs, and is also board member of the Ladima Foundation, a Pan-African non-profit organisation which aims to contribute to correcting the major imbalances within the industry.

Well-known writer and critic, former manager of the Durban International Film Festival, and long-time programmer of the fest, Peter Machen, who is currently based in Berlin, makes a welcome return to the programming fold. Peter heads the media cooperative The Communication Factory and works for a plant-based advocacy organisation, and continues to write and reviews films on a number of platforms.

Nataleah Hunter-Young is a film programmer, media artist, and doctoral student in Communication and Culture at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. She has experience in supporting the programming for the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the Durban International Film Festival.

Lisa Ogdie is a shorts programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and also Membership and Talent Development Manager for BAFTA Los Angeles. She has been part of the Sundance shorts programming team since 2009, selecting the Sundance short film slate from over 9,000 submissions, and has moderated Q&A discussions and panels for BAFTA Los Angeles, Sundance, Toronto Film Festival and the American Pavilion at Cannes.

Screenwriter/Producer Gabrielle Kelly is on the Faculty of the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, with expertise and a passion for global storytelling, particularly in Asia. She has mentored labs and screenwriting masterclasses around the world, programmed, judged and created film festivals from Guam to Azerbaijan and is an expert on Media Labs and international story development for screens and pages. She worked with New York director Sidney Lumet and in Hollywood with numerous directors, writers and producers. As well as running producer Robert Evan’s company at Paramount for several years, she has also worked at HBO, CBS Films, Eddie Murphy Productions and Warner Bros.

Fibby Kioria is a Programme Director of Maisha Film Lab, a leadership development organization founded by Mira Nair to empower visionary filmmakers in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda by giving them the tools to tell their own stories through film. She was the Line Producer on the Mira Nair and Zippy Kimundu short documentary portrait of Robert Katende, A Fork, a Spoon & a Knight. She went on to produce the music video for the song ‘# 1 Spice’ from Disney’s Queen of Katwesoundtrack. She is also an Associate Producer at Afro Films International.

Nigerian filmmaker, Chioma Onyenwe has a background in economics and management from University of Lagos and Imperial College London. She plunged into fulltime film-making in 2014. She is the Programme Director for the Africa International Film Festival. Her first feature 8 Bars and a Clef, was nominated for the 2016 AMAA Award for Best First Feature Film.

For more information, visit or any of DIFF’s social media pages.


2019 Sound On Screen Music Film Festival

Music Film Festival
26 – 28 April 2019
Labia Theatre
(68 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town, ZA)

We can’t live without them.

It has been 9 years since the birth of our Sound On Screen Music Film Festival, bringing these two audio and visual art forms together with carefully curated titles from around the world and locally (and in our download era, most making their SA cinema premiere and unlikely to grace any other local theatre screen).

Join us in keeping cinema culture alive (beyond the next super-hero cash-in), reinforce your love of music via film and get exposed to fascinating genres / music culture you may not be aware of.

This year we’re bringing you another exciting collection of international music-related movies and documentaries, covering everything from Rock, Techno, Black Metal and Industrial music, to legends in the shape of Queen’s Freddie Mercury and a dress-up anniversary screening of Mike Myers’ Wayne’s World!

As always, Flamedrop Productions’ favourite independent cinema to host the festival is the Labia Theatre.

2019 SOUND ON SCREEN LINE-UP (movie details below)
Booking at Quicket:
Tickets: R45 each

Friday 26 April

Saturday 27 April
8:30pm – WAYNE’S WORLD (27th anniversary Dress-Up Screening Party)

Sunday 28 April
8:30pm – LORDS OF CHAOS (SA premiere)

Movie Details:

Friday 26 April, 8:30pm
Renowned as one of the greatest performers of the 20th century, Freddie Mercury pushed the boundaries of art and music as he lead his band Queen to international stardom.
This new documentary looks at the man, his life and music, music industry figures adding their perspective to his legend.
His limitless vocal power and extravagant performances shocked and wowed audiences around the world but out of the spotlight he was incredibly private. With exclusive interviews and footage we uncover the story of Freddie Mercury and how a shy boy from Zanzibar became one of the most iconic figures in modern history.
First cinema screening in SA.
Directed by Jordan Hill
Book at

Saturday 27 April, 6:15pm
A detailed documentary look at the very unique and multi-facetted Industrial music genre, tracing its origins and taking you on a journey through the crumbling industrial cities of Europe to America’s thriving avant-garde scene.
Some assume the Industrial genre is nothing but noise – far from it. This documentary also highlights the nuances of this formidable alternative music style.
Features interviews and music from Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle, NoN, Cabaret Voltaire, Re/Search Publications, V. Vale, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter, Hula, Orphx, SPK, Test Dept., Industrial Records, Boyd Rice, Dirk Ivens, The Klinik, Z’EV, In The Nursery, Sonar and many more.
First cinema screening in SA.
Directed by Travis Collins, Amélie Ravalec
Book at

WAYNE’S WORLD Anniversary Dress-Up Screening
Saturday 27 April, 8:30pm
Party time! Excellent!
Join us for a most excellent 25th anniversary (+ 2!) dress-up screening of Wayne’s World!
Many missed this classic rock comedy on its original bodacious cinema release 27 years ago. So dudes an dudettes, (while not a prerequisite), come dressed as your favourite real and fictional Wayne’s World character hero, villain or musician – from Wayne, Garth, Cassandra, Wayne’s Dreamwoman, or Stacy, to Rob Lowe’s yuppie, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Robert Patrick’s T2 bad cop, Officer Koharski, or any random Wayne’s World rock T-shirt wearing fan! Bad wigs welcome!
What the hell, come dressed as someone from Wayne’s World 2 if you want to! (like Christopher Walken, Jim Morrison, Cassandra’s dad, any member from Aerosmith, Rip Taylor, a roadie… you name it!)
And yes, if everyone joins in on Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it will be totally awesome!
Book at

Sunday 28 April, 6:15pm
From secret Parisian parties to Berlin’s infamous Berghain club, Paris/Berlin documents the underground movement of techno through the lens of two different cities. The documentary traces the evolution of techno telling the stories of the DJ’s, producers, label managers, promoters, record shops and distributors that have stayed true to its original spirit.
With Laurent Garnier, Regis, Adam X, Function, Lucy, Ancient Methods, Nick Höppner, Terence Fixmer, Tama Sumo, Dasha Rush, Milton Bradley, Lupo, Tobias Rapp and many more.
First cinema screening in SA.
Directed by Amélie Ravalec
Book at

Sunday 28 April, 8:30pm
A teenager’s quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the early 1990s results in a very violent outcome.
Based on truth and lies.
South African premiere.
In the early ‘90s a new musical genre (germinated in the ’80s) rose from Norway: Black Metal
With dark, occult imagery, the renowned black and white corpse-paint and strong anti-Christian sentiments, the abrasive and challenging music went beyond imagery into true darkness, not only resulting in church burnings, but also violence, suicide and murder.
Directed by Jonas Åkerlund (known for Rammstein and Madonna music videos and films like Spun and Polar), he was also in fact a member of early Swedish Black Metal legends Bathory.
Starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, Valter Skarsgård
These events were captured in the book Lords Of Chaos – The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground (by Didrik Soderlind & Michael Moynihan)
Book at

(And, as you know by now, drinks from the Labia Theatre bar can be taken into the cinema)

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Delegate Registration Opens For The 10th Durban FilmMart 19 – 22 July 2019

Delegate registration is now open for the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), which takes place from 19 to 22 July during the 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

The DFM is a joint programme of the Durban Film Office (DFO), eThekwini Municipality’s industry development unit, and the DIFF, and aims to develop the African film industry, grow African content and network film practitioners.

Considered one of the most important film industry events on the continent, the DFM introduces three new programmes to further complement its co-production market, finance and industry development forums.

“The DFM is really excited to add new programmes in this year’s event, creatively curated by South African creative industries consultant Russel Hlongwane, and producer, curator and arts manager, Tiny Mungwe,” says Toni Monty Head of the DFO and the DFM. “Durban Does Docs is a two-day documentary conference, consisting of panel discussions, masterclasses and plenary presentations aimed to attract documentary filmmakers and scholars from the continent and around the world, who will unpack and discuss the state of the documentary in a global context.”

“We introduce the Creative Corner, a robust open space for emerging scriptwriters, actors, set designers and make-up artists, which will run over four days and will consist of script to live sessions, panel discussions around the creative elements of film-making such as editing, make-up, sound design and set design.”

“And then we welcome the Locations Africa Exhibition and Conference, a private sector initiative that focuses on film locations in an effort to re-ignite efforts to position Africa as a key filming destination which has all the necessary elements for inbound productions and local film projects. Key to this is economic transformation within the film sector.”

Locations Africa comprises of a comprehensive expo featuring film commissions and location representatives from South Africa and the continent; running concurrently to the expo is a full four-day programme of seminars, workshops and panel discussions that will delve into a myriad topics including location selection, marketing locations, servicing and facilities management, relationships between location scouts and management and many others.

“This is an ideal opportunity for African countries to market their locations on the continent but also to international producers and investors,” says Monty. ‘A welcome addition to the DFM and DIFF offering, Locations Africa will also provide producers, location scouts and location managers with a “one-stop-shop” to see the many options Africa can provide for film-makers.”

Adopting the theme Imagine Community, the DFM will use this year as a call for the recalibration of the film industry. According the curators this provides the framework to build community within and across markets and across countries for the development of the industry on the continent.

The DFM’s forums, will consist of panel discussions, world cafe style engagements and the high level masterclasses focusing on relevant topics that reflect on and forecast African cinema both from an aesthetic and commercial point of view, the convergence of technology and filmmaking, diversity in filmmaking and women in filmmaking. Delegates can look forward to international, African and local cutting-edge speakers delivering perspectives shaping the international and local industry.

DFM delegates also have access to an industry lounge and exhibition, providing opportunities for networking sessions and to create meaningful business relationships across the globe.

Other elements of the DFM, is the finance forum in which 20 pre-selected feature film and documentary projects from Africa pitch to potential sponsors, funders or partners, as well as the 12th Talents Durban, for pre-selected intermediate African filmmakers and within the DIFF the Isiphethu Hub programme for entry level and emerging filmmakers which is free to the public.

“We are expecting this year to be a bumper one, as we celebrate our 10th anniversary along with the DIFF’s 40th,” says Monty. “Our programmes are being consolidated and there has been a lot of creative input and film community support as we begin the lead up to this very significant moment in the history of film on the continent.”

Early bird registration is open until 28 June 2019. Early bird fees are R1300 (ZAR) for the four-day programme, which includes four day’s access to the DFM Industry Programme, access to DFM producers lounge and DFM networking events, 10 tickets to Durban International Film Festival screenings and company information published in the industry manual. After 28 June fees are R1600 for the full programme while daily passes are R450 each (the daily pass does not include tickets to DIFF screenings or access into the opening and closing events). All tickets exclude meals.

To register go to


Sisters Of Wilderness Officially Selected For Rapid Lion International Film Festival And Woordfees Art & Film Festival

The award-wining Sisters of the Wilderness documentary film, has been officially selected for the Rapid Lion International Film Festival in Johannesburg and Woordfees Art and Film Festival in Stellenbosch which both take place in March this year.

The film had a successful international premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in January 2019, to a sold out screening of 700 people. Following the premiere the film was rated 16th on the IFFR audience rating list. It won best South African Feature Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival in 2018 which earned it an Oscar consideration. In February 2019 it won best Feature Documentary at the Innovation Film Festival in Bern, Switzerland.

Sisters of the Wilderness is a social impact feature-length documentary, set in the iMfolozi wilderness, South Africa, that tells the story of five young Zulu women who experience the wilderness for the first time, as they embark on a journey of healing and self-discovery.

The film, gently and beautifully shot, is a reminder that we are all intimately linked to nature as it follows these women walking in a Big Five reserve, sleeping under the stars and carrying everything they need to survive with them. As they experience five days away from the pressures of modern society and at one with nature, we journey with them as they face emotional and physical challenges, and learn what it takes to survive.

The film also highlights the threat of the ever-expanding open-cast coal mine on its border, as well as the horrific poaching of rhinos.

Directed and shot by award-wining South African documentary filmmaker, Karin Slater, and produced by Ronit Shapiro, of One Nature Films, Sisters of the Wilderness, aims to transfer its audiences back to this ancient place where no barriers separate human and nature. The film is the foundation for an outreach and audience engagement programme using multiple platforms to re-connect global audiences with nature, and empower young people, especially women.

“In 2018 we launched a programme of free screenings at rural and under-served communities in South Africa. We are looking to collaborate with organisations that operate in areas of education, conservation, women empowerment and wellbeing in South Africa/ Africa and beyond; and we are looking for funding and sponsors to support our expanding programme,” says Ronit. “We were particularly delighted that the Nature, Environment, Wildlife Filmmakers (NEWF) Community Cinema recently screened the film in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg as part of their programme to take environment-themed films to communities in KwaZulu-Natal.”

Karin Slater – Director / DOP

“We are also very keen to screen the film at educational institutions, conferences, events, businesses, policy-makers forums etc. and to collaborate with organisations and individuals who are passionate about young people empowerment and leadership development and re-connecting people and nature. Anyone interested can contact us if they wish to get involved.”

Sisters of the Wilderness will be screened at Rapid Lion on:

6 March 18:00 at The Mannie Manim Theatre*

7 March 12:15 at The Mannie Manim Theatre*

*The Mannie Manim theatre in The Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Sisters of the Wilderness will be screened at Woordfees on:

4 March 12:30 , Pulp Cinema Neelsie

6 March 12:00, Pulp Cinema Neelsie

Buy Tickets

Festival Film

Sisters Of The Wilderness Premieres Internationally At IFFR In Rotterdam On 26 January 2019

Sisters of the Wilderness, the social impact feature-length documentary, which won best South African Feature Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival in July last year, and qualified for an Oscar consideration, will have its International Premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on January 26, 2019.

Set in the iMfolozi wilderness, South Africa, in the oldest game park in Africa, the iconic Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park, Sisters of the Wilderness tells the story of five young Zulu women venturing into the wilderness for the first time on a journey of healing and self-discovery, reminding us that we are all intimately linked to nature.

The film follows the women as they walk in big game country and camp under the stars, totally surrounded by wild animals. Exposed to the elements and carrying on their backs all they need for the journey, they face emotional and physical challenges, and learn what it takes to survive in the wild.

“We want to ‘transfer’ the audience to an ancient place where no barriers separate human and nature,” says creator / producer, Ronit Shapiro, of One Nature Films, whose experience in the iMfolozi wilderness and a meeting with South Africa’s legendary conservationist, the late Dr Ian Player, inspired her to make this film. “A journey into wilderness is an intense experience where one can expect to undergo a personal transformation.”

The film also explores the plight of the primordial iMfolozi wilderness which is severely threatened by an expanding open-cast coal mine on its border, and the intensifying rhino poaching calamity in that area.

Award-wining South African documentary filmmaker, Karin Slater, directed and shot the film. “I was born in Empangeni and spent my early years, close to the iMfolozi wilderness. I have a deep love and connection to this area. I know what the wilderness has done for me over the years, ” says Karin.

Sisters of the Wilderness is the foundation for an outreach and audience engagement programme that will use multiple platforms to re-connect global audiences with nature, and empower young people, especially women. The social impact programme was launched in South Africa in September 2018 in celebration of Heritage Month in the country, and World Rhino Day.

“We are delighted that the film was selected to have its International Premiere at the renowned International Film Festival in Rotterdam and we are looking forward to sharing the story of how the film came about, in the Q&A with the audience after each screening,” says Ronit.

Sisters of the Wilderness will be screened at IFFR on:

  • 26 Jan 2019 20:15 Pathé 7 – Public
  • 7 Jan 2019 20:00 Cinerama 6 – Public
  • 9 Jan 201913:15 Cinerama 7 – Press & Industry
  • 9 Jan 201921:15Cinerama 2 – Public

For more information go to:



CTIFMF: Early Bird Tickets Now On Sale #CTIFMF2018

The Cape Town International Film Market and Festival has opened EARLY BIRD TICKETS for screenings at Nu Metro cinemas at the V & A Waterfront.

The 120 films in the official selection, along with a host of films in the panorama programs, will be screened at Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor Cinema Nouveau at the V & A Waterfront from October 10th –19th, while the glamorous red carpet opening night will be held at the Artscape Theatre Complex on October 9th.

All these events, along with World Premiere red carpet events are open to the public and tickets can be purchased via links on the various films on the CTIFMF website.

For THREE DAYS ONLY, from NOON on Thursday September 27th to NOON on Sunday September 29th, the CTIFMF will be offering an EARLY BIRD 2 FOR 1 SPECIAL on all films screening at Nu Metro cinemas ONLY at the V & A during the festival. Tickets can be purchased here: or via links from the Festival website.

From 10am on Friday September 28th tickets will also go on sale for all screenings at Ster Kinekor Cinema Nouveau screenings at the V & A Waterfront. These can also be purchased via the website,

In addition to individual movie tickets, film lovers can also purchase Full Festival passes that enable access to all film screenings, premieres as well as cocktail parties.

Tickets for the Opening Night of the Festival that will screen South Africa’s official submission to the Oscars, Sew the Winter to My Skin can be purchased via Computicket:

Jahmil X.T Qubeka’s Sew the Winter to My Skin, is an epic existential-adventure film that has wowed audiences at Cannes L’Atelier 2017, and had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Guests can purchase tickets and enjoy the full red carpet experience of this glamorous event at the Artscape Theatre Complex on October 9th.

This year’s festival  program is a cinematic feast with some 120 world-class films on show to the public, festival delegates, and the jury.  The meticulously curated selection will include a significant amount of African content amongst the independent feature films, short films and documentaries on show.  Particular focus areas are New Voices (first-time feature directors), That’s So Gay (new LGBTQ releases), and Cinema of Conscience.

For more information, tickets and schedules for films that will be screening at this year’s CTIFMF, please visit the website,

The Cape Town International Film Market and Festival is proudly hosted by the City of Cape Town.