Madeleine McCann: An ID Murder Mystery

Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

One of the most mysterious child abduction cases that left the whole world baffled will air on ID (DStv 171) this month. Over 10 years ago, 3-year-old British toddler Madeleine McCann disappeared from her bed in a holiday home in Praia da Luz, Portugal and her loved ones have been searching for answers ever since.

The case which has been described as ‘the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history’ has gripped the nation and the world.

Still tragically unresolved, this programme conducts a new analysis and examination of the case, in a definitive deep dive into one of the crimes that have shocked and shaken British society and raised numerous unanswered questions.

The two-part mini-series features exclusive interviews from members of law enforcement, the family’s legal team, and some of the journalists who’ve covered this unusual case from the beginning.

Catch Madeleine McCann: An ID Murder Mystery on ID (DStv 171) from Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 21:50.

MultiChoice Brings Edutainment Fun For Children With The Launch Of PBS KIDS

MultiChoice is always looking for the freshest in kid’s entertainment and has partnered with PBS to bring PBS KIDS’ high-quality educational content to the DStv platform available in all of sub-Saharan Africa. For three months, starting Wednesday, 22 May through Thursday, 22 August 2019, DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, Family & Access customers will have PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC, ARTHUR and other well-known PBS KIDS series available on DStv Channel 313.

“MultiChoice is always open to exploring ways to expand our customer offering, adding a children’s channel that is not only entertainment for the entire family but also experiential and educational adds value to the DStv packages,” says Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment for MultiChoice.

Andrea Downing, Co-President of PBS Distribution, comments, “We are excited to offer this new audience the opportunities that PBS KIDS content offers. PBS KIDS is the number one educational media brand for kids, offering children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds. DStv is inviting parents and children to experience this trusted content that helps children learn and grow.”

To stimulate the intellect of our young ones on the go, they can stream PBS KIDS live with parental controls for a safe viewing environment anytime, anywhere via the DStv Now mobile app or online

Among the series included in the channel are:


PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC®, based on the beloved book series by Victoria Kann, encourages children to engage in self-expression and to explore the arts, including music, dance, and visual arts. Kids will be inspired to get creative by Pinkalicious, Peter, and their friends through adventures in their neighborhood of Pinkville!


Based on the best-selling children’s books by Marc Brown, ARTHUR follows the adventures of 8-year-old Arthur Read. Join the beloved aardvark for heartfelt and humorous stories about family, friends, and the challenges of growing up.


The lovable WordFriends take children on adventures in a world of words where they encounter problems that can only be solved by building a word. Playfully demonstrating the connections between letters, sounds, words, and meaning, WORDWORLD empowers children to advance from learning letters to learning how to read.


Coming Up On Carte Blanche – 26 May 2019

On M-Net & M-Net HD [101], Sunday 26 May 2019 at 19:00 & again on M-Net Plus 1 [901] at 20:00

Ramaphosa Post-Election

The post-election dawn has broken with a widely respected Cyril Ramaphosa entrenched by popular vote at the helm of the country. As he constructs his new cabinet from a divided ANC and hammers out its first priorities, how is the president approaching a failing economy, State-sponsored corruption and record-breaking unemployment rates? Carte Blanche examines what the president’s powers and prerogatives are as he grapples with turning the country’s fortunes around.

Producer: Sophia Phirippides
Presenter: Masa Kekana

Genetically Mapping Medicine’s Future

It’s the future of medicine – using genetic mapping to enable precise and personalised treatment for patients. Researchers in Britain are working on this ambitious project which aims to map the genomes of thousands of participants with cancer and rare diseases and create a new genomic medicine service. Now a team of local specialists from the continent are working hard to ensure Africa isn’t left behind. Carte Blanche tracks this new development in medicine.

Producer: John Webb
Presenter: John Webb
Watch the trailer

Off-the-Grid with Stolen Mobile Mast Batteries

Are you planning to combat load-shedding with an off-the-grid solution of solar panels and deep-cycle batteries? Do you think you’ve spotted a bargain for this potentially pricey set-up? Beware of stepping into the clutches of a new criminal network as thieves target mobile network towers for their batteries. Carte Blanche takes to the air in a high-stakes chase with network providers to run down these brazen thieves as we investigate the crime that is getting stolen goods into the homes of unsuspecting consumers

Producer: Nicky Troll
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender
Watch the trailer

The Proteas’ World Cup Curse

So near and yet so far – that’s the curse that’s haunted the South Africa’s National cricket team at every World Cup for the last twenty seven years. Often accused of “choking”, winning the tournament remains the Holy Grail and wholly unattainable dream for the Proteas. Gary Kirsten, Lance Klusener and Makhaya Ntini are some of the giants of South African cricket who have stood on the battlefield – and lost. Now only days before this year’s contest, Carte Blanche relives the moments of triumph and the depths of despair and asks whether the new crop of players can rewrite history.

Producer: Julian Sun
Presenter: Macfarlane Moleli

Line-ups are subject to change. Stories can be viewed at

Facebook: Carte Blanche #CarteBlanche
Twitter: @carteblanchetv #CarteBlanche
Instagram: @carteblanchetv #CarteBlanche

Coming Up On Carte Blanche – 19 May 2019

On M-Net & M-Net HD [101], Sunday 19 May 2019 at 19:00 & again on M-Net Plus 1 [901] at 20:00

Reclaim the City

A political hot potato or media savvy social movement that is redefining how the needs of the poor can be met in city spaces? Hundreds of indigent residents have staged an orderly occupation of prime real estate in Cape Town’s Waterfront precinct and are now calling rooms formerly used as nurses’ residences their home. Carte Blanche meets the social movement Reclaim the City that is forcing the City of Cape Town to find ways to negotiate with them and ensure that prime locations are not only for the wealthy.

Producer: Liz Fish
Presenter: Masa Kekana
Watch the trailer

The Great Migration

From medical doctors, engineers to finance specialists – skilled and educated South Africans are packing it all up and heading abroad. With the high crime rate, loss of job security and economic uncertainty thousands are looking for greener pastures and the United Kingdom and Australia seem to be the destinations of choice. But what impact will the loss of these critical skills have on South Africa? And who is coming in from elsewhere to work in SA? Carte Blanche explores the great migration.

Producer: Kate Barry
Presenter: Derek Watts

The SANDF’s Horses

Starving, infected with various diseases and some eating their own faeces, over 25 horses have had to be put down after being in the care of the South African Army Special Infantry Capability Unit at the SANDF’s Potchefstroom base last year. A further 22 horse rescued from the base also had to be euthanised as they were in such bad condition.Carte Blanche investigates why 11 of the 60 horses which the SANDF transferred to another army base in Pretoria have died and we visit some of the surviving horses that have been re-homed, while the NSPCA laid cruelty charges in terms of the Animal Protection Act. We ask whether horses should be entrusted to the army’s care at all.

Producer: Michael Duffett
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender

RX Radio: Broadcasting for Children by Children

Eight to 18-year-olds behind a radio microphone, broadcasting live to children – and live-streaming to the world! It’s a world first for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and a novel way for young patients and former patients to tell their own stories to peers who are still admitted to the hospital. Carte Blanche meets the award-winning young RX Radio’s broadcasters who say radio has a therapeutic effect that helps them deal with their chronic conditions and the healthcare they undergo, sometimes for years.

Producer: Annalise Lubbe
Presenter: Claire Mawisa
Watch the trailer

Line-ups are subject to change. Stories can be viewed at

Facebook: Carte Blanche #CarteBlanche
Twitter: @carteblanchetv #CarteBlanche
Instagram: @carteblanchetv #CarteBlanche

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.

NBCUniversal International Networks Acquires CBC Series Coroner

A CBC Original Series produced by Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios
Inspired by the bestselling series of books by M.R. Hall
Created by Morwyn Brebner (Rookie Blue, Saving Hope)
Eight One-Hour Episodes to air in Europe, Australia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America in 2019

NBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUIN) announced the acquisition of Coroner – a new, procedural drama from Cineflix Rights to air around the world. A CBC original series created by Morwyn Brebner (Rookie Blue, Saving Hope) and produced by Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios, the eight one-hour episodes will premiere in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Africa, Latin America, Brazil and Australia.

The show will air on Universal TV (Channel 117 on DStv) from Monday 10 June 2019.
Inspired by the bestselling series of books of M.R. Hall, Coroner is a female-driven series following Jenny Cooper – played by Serinda Swan (Inhumans, Ballers) – a newly appointed coroner investigating suspicious deaths in Toronto. Jenny is a brave and determined yet vulnerable coroner driven by an intense desire for the truth. A former ER doctor and a recently widowed mother of a teenage son, her husband’s death has unlocked a primal connection to death, tied to a secret in her past that is only now coming to the surface. With storylines based on real-life cases, Jenny is a coroner of our time, an advocate for the dead even when it’s inconvenient for the living, and defender of those who are powerless or in peril.

Coroner also stars Roger Cross (Dark Matter, The X-Files) as Donovan “Mac” McAvoy, a police detective who partners with Jenny; Eric Bruneau (Blue Moon) as Liam, Jenny’s new neighbour; and Ehren Kassam (DeGrassi: Next Class) as Ross, Jenny’s 17-year-old son. Also joining the cast are Tamara Podemski (Rabbit Fall) as Alison Trent, Jenny’s eccentric colleague; Alli Chung (Dark Matter, The Expanse) as Taylor Kim, a smart, junior homicide detective; Lovell Adams-Gray (Second Jen) as Dr. Dwayne Allen, an idealistic young pathologist; and Saad Siddiqui (Incorporated, Taken) as Dr. Neil Sharma, Jenny’s insightful psychiatrist.

“Coroner’s blend of complex character-driven crime content and compelling storytelling makes it an optimal fit for our international channel brands,” commented Steve Patscheck, EVP Global Programming, NBCUniversal International Networks. “We’re thrilled to be bringing this unique series to our channels, across five continents, in 2019.”

“We could not be more excited to be working again with the NBCU International Networks team to launch Coroner across their channels,” said Peter Emerson, President of Cineflix Studios. “Serinda Swan brings an intensity and humanity to her role as coroner that will deeply resonate with audiences worldwide.”

Coroner is produced by Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios. Morwyn Brebner is creator, executive producer and showrunner; Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County, Bellevue) is lead director and executive producer for Back Alley Films; Jonas Prupas is executive producer for Muse Entertainment; with Peter Emerson and Brett Burlock executive producers for Cineflix Studios.

Coroner is distributed worldwide by Cineflix Rights and is currently in production in Toronto, Canada.

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.

True Love The Inspiration Behind Jauni M’s New Single

Each and every person on earth wants to be loved by someone. Some people search a lifetime for true love and others are lucky enough to find it.

Jauni M’s brand new single, LIEFDE SOOS DAGBREEK, deals with the kind of love that only comes by once in a lifetime and should be treasured. “It is about true love. A love that is as beautiful as the break of dawn, the singer reveals about the theme behind her latest release. “Daybreak is definitely not always the same, but is beautiful and unique in its own way.”

LIEFDE SOOS DAGBREEK is an Afrikaans contemporary track written by Emil Struwig, recorded at Manley Recording Studios and produced by Active Music Publishing. It is one of those chillingly beautiful songs that stays with you after hearing it for the first time and that audiences of all ages are able to relate to. “Just like dawn, each love relationship differs from another. To each couple, the love that they share is precious and unique,” she adds.

Jauni M’s latest release follows in the footsteps of her debut solo single, Niemand Anders, a country pop track with a rock vibe that perfectly showcases her unique voice. This upbeat track was written by Zanda Traut and Deon Meiring and was very well received. It not only featured on the charts of various radio stations, but the music video can also be seen on TV.

Both songs were taken from her upcoming debut-album, Niemand Anders, which will be released on 7 June 2019. It boasts thirteen original hits, which ranges from upbeat and easy listening tunes to deeper and more emotional tracks. “This is not an ordinary Afrikaans pop album, but my story told through music. All the songs have emotional depth and special meaning. They are honest and about real things that happened to me or people that I know,” she shares. Sonder Jou, a duet that she released with Deon Meiring, will also be featured on the album.

Jauni M lives in Parys, Free State with her husband and daughter. Her love for music started at a young age, as she was always busy entertaining her family members with song and dance. She has always enjoyed an active and adventurous lifestyle and enjoys any activity that gets her heart rate up. The brunette has been working in the music industry for nearly a decade and has had the privilege of working with big names like Touch of Class’s Ruhan du Toit.

When she is not on stage, she runs a shop called Fish2Feet with a friend in Parys. Over the years, the star has performed at various festivals and functions and shared the stage with numerous artists like Kwaggabees, Roan Ash and more.

This versatile and talented artist hopes that listeners will be able to find themselves in the stories of her music. LIEFDE SOOS DAGBREEK not only promises to be a hit at weddings and dances, but is also set to capture the hearts of music lovers of all ages. The combination of strikingly beautiful lyrics, her soothing voice and an upbeat tune are the perfect ingredients for a hit that is going to remain popular for years to come.

LIEFDE SOOS DAGBREEK is available on all digital platforms. Get the song here:

Academy Announces Three New At-Large Governors

The Academy Board of Governors has confirmed the appointment of three new governors-at-large, DeVon Franklin (Executives Branch), Rodrigo García (Directors Branch) and Janet Yang (Producers Branch). They will each serve a three-year term, beginning July 1. This furthers the Academy’s A2020 initiative, which seeks to support inclusion and increase representation within its membership and the greater film community.

“The Board looks forward to welcoming DeVon, Janet and Rodrigo. They are each well-positioned to support our continuing global outreach efforts,” said Academy President John Bailey. “We are grateful to our three outgoing at-large governors, Gregory Nava, Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Reginald Hudlin, for their dedicated service to the Academy over the last three years.”

In addition to the governors-at-large, the Academy’s 17 branches are each represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms. The Board of Governors sets the Academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health and assures the fulfillment of its mission.

The Academy’s 2019-2020 Board of Governors will be announced in June.

Q&A With Actress Estelle Terblanche Of #ActorsLife

What inspired this project?

I was feeling frustrated waiting for someone to give me a break and this kind of just happened. It is a combination of my own journey and my friends’ stories.

How did you come to the name “#Actorslife”?

#ActorsLife came quite late in the rehearsal process. I was searching for the perfect name and I was constantly annoyed by the social media posts perpetuating the image that an actor is constantly made up to the nines and on set…. I realized that this play shows the pressures to constantly provide a perfect image, but also shows the reality of what an actors life really is.

What is #Actorslife about?

It is about so many things. The deep desire to be a professional actor, to be taken seriously and respected, in conflict with the need for affirmation and wanting everyone to like you and dealing with the constant stresses and challenges of being an actor in our artificial industry.

Why should someone watch it, and why do you think this story is important?

Because they will journey with Christine, learn to know her, see her vulnerabilities and yet also see her unending strength and determination. It is important because we all play different roles, so anyone can identify. Audience members will laugh till they cry and walk out with a better understanding not only of Actors but also of themselves.

How are you preparing for your role?

Multiple ways. Extensive script analysis, using techniques me and Tam learned from Matthew Harrison. And then working with the elements and emotional core of each scene. Just a variety of play and research – and then learning to trust my own words and the work done by the entire team!

What have you found most challenging about this project?

Getting an unknown show by unknown artists taken seriously. Finding a new director was tough, multiple rejections and self-funding without compromising the quality of the work. And the technical side – my OCD nature makes it really difficult to let go of control on things that I really know nothing about.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love Christine. She has a million layers. As Tam says, she is the quintessential insecure woman. She is the actor in all of us. She captures so many vulnerabilities and yet refuses to give up. She is constantly growing and developing and I am only just starting to let her come out and have fun.

Why do you choose to write in English?

It really depends on the project and although it is primarily an English play, #Actorslife is a mixture. It reflects the conflict that some Afrikaans actors experience. I myself am often told that I do not look ‘Afrikaans enough’ to be cast in local projects and yet cannot reveal my Afrikaans background in an international casting environment for fear of having my accent and acting talent judged on that basis.

What do you want the audience to take away from the piece?

I want audiences to walk out having experienced with Christine, gained an insight and sympathy for the world of the actor, a respect for the actor as a professional entity and a greater understanding of themselves.

What advice would you give young actors?

Come watch the play! Just joking (kind of). Seriously though, don’t be naïve. Don’t become an actor expecting to be famous or thinking it will be fun or easy. It is a difficult career choice. So do your research, make sure it is what you want to do, be ready to work harder than you can possibly expect and find ways to make your own work. You have to be passionate about what you do, then all the long hours of work, money stresses, rejections and panic attacks will be worth it.

Read all about #ActorsLife

%d bloggers like this: