SA doc­cies in the spot­light

Cape Times - - FILM - Robyn Co­hen

SOUTH African-made doc­u­men­taries are gen­er­at­ing huge in­ter­est, around the world.

Last month a del­e­ga­tion of South African film-mak­ers – many from Cape Town – at­tended Vi­sions du Réel in Nyon Switzer­land. The pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional doc­u­men­tary festival ded­i­cated its fo­cus to South African film – putting our coun­try in the spot­light.

Now a del­e­ga­tion from Vi­sions du Réel is in South Africa to at­tend South Africa’s pre­mium doc­u­men­tary festival, En­coun­ters, which is on from June 1 to 11 in Cape Town at the Labia The­atre, Nou­veau V&A Wa­ter­front and Bertha Movie House (at the newly built Isi­vi­vana Cen­tre near the Khayelit­sha Mall).

The Jo­han­nes­burg leg of En­coun­ters is on dur­ing the same time, at the Bio­scope (Mabo­neng District) and at Nou­veau Rose­bank.

Young South African fe­male di­rec­tors are fea­tured promi­nently in En­coun­ters 2017.

Many of them are mak­ing in­no­va­tive and ex­per­i­men­tal doc­u­men­taries that pre­sent al­ter­na­tive nar­ra­tives into con­tem­po­rary is­sues – nar­ra­tives which have been largely side­lined by male di­rec­tors. Strike a Rock, di­rected by Aliki Sara­gas – which ex­plores the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of the Marikana dis­as­ter on women in the com­mu­nity – is the open­ing film in Cape Town and Joburg.

Sara­gas re­flected: “Voices from the strong women lead­ers and the com­mu­nity that sur­rounds the mine had seem­ingly been erased from the nar­ra­tive.

The women fea­tured in my film – two South African mothers and best friends, Prim­rose Sonti and Thumeka Mag­wangqana live in Nka­neng, Marikana, an in­for­mal set­tle­ment in ru­ral South Africa that sprung up around a mine op­er­ated by Lon­min Plc, the third largest plat­inum ex­trac­tor in the world.

“De­spite the in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion, in­quiry and mass-ac­tivism that fol­lowed the mas­sacre, liv­ing con­di­tions that mo­ti­vated the strike in the first place, con­tinue to worsen for the Marikana com­mu­nity. And this is what Prim­rose and Thumeka are fight­ing against.”

En­coun­ters Festival direc­tor Daryl Els en­thused about Strike a Rock.

“Af­ter the im­mense im­pact of Min­ers Shot Down (by Re­had De­sai), Strike a Rock is a vi­tal ad­di­tion to pub­lic dis­course on Marikana and a film that comes at a crit­i­cal time.

“We are very ex­cited to be pre­sent­ing the World Pre­miere of Strike a Rock as our open­ing night and it’s won­der­ful that the film will reach an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence when it screens at the Sh­effield Doc/Fest in the UK.”

Els started The Bio­scope in June 2010 and screens film of all gen­res, lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional and also fea­tures live per­for­mance.

Els adds: “It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to be pre­sent­ing a number of woman di­rected and pro­duced work as part of the film pro­gramme and En­coun­ters in­dus­try days.”

There are 32 South African Films and 41 in­ter­na­tional films at En­coun­ters.

The in­ter­na­tional line-up in­cludes ac­claimed award- win­ning in­ter­na­tional fea­ture doc­u­men­taries such as Pas­cale Lam­che’s Win­nie (about Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela).

Lam­che (France/Nether­lands) won Sun­dance 2017 Best Direc­tor World Cin­ema Doc­u­men­tary. Whit­ney: Can I Be Me? – Di­rected by Nick Broom­field and Rudi Dolezal (USA/UK) – chron­i­cling the tur­bu­lent life of Whit­ney Hus­ton – will also be screened. For En­coun­ters de­tails, see http://www.en­coun­ters. co.za

UNITED: A still from the Doc­u­men­tary Film Festival. doc­u­men­tary from the En­coun­ters South African In­ter­na­tional

POW­ER­FUL: A still from Pas­cale Lam­che’s Madik­izela-Man­dela). (about Win­nie

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