Women claim their place in South Africa’s burgeoning film industry
BEING a white South African didn’t make Sara Blecher part of a privileged community even during apartheid. “On my grandfather’s side we are Lithuanian Jews and he was the only one who escaped while the rest of the family was murdered during World War II,” she said. “Even though I am white, I am on the wrong side of history.”
Something else added to her struggles: her decision to become a film director at a time when the South African film industry was dominated by men.
“To me, heaven was sitting in a movie theater and watching movies,” Blecher described her childhood, with her mother being a theater director. “I never thought there was any other possibility other than making films.”
Her films have a maverick element. Though she speaks English, her three feature films are in Zulu, Sotho and Afrikaans respectively - all official languages in the country. her 2015 story of a young girl who decided to restart her father’s garage, won the Jury’s Special Award at the Second BRICS Film Festival in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
“I hope BRICS can show the world diversity and be a counterpoint to the Hollywood culture where everything is the same,” she said. “In addition, I hope to be a counterpoint to that culture that covers the world with Coca-cola and Mcdonald’s.”
For this, the mother of three feels it is important to make films in other languages than English. “The world is multicultural and we have to talk to all that audi-