Encounters features 24 documentaries

The 10th Encounters South African Intl. Documentary Festival will feature a record 24 South African documentaries among the 48 films unspooling this year.

Festival director Mandisa Zitha said this year’s event, which runs in Johannesburg June 19-29 and Cape Town July 3-13, would touch on a broad range of topics: music, human rights, justice, the environment, popular culture, ideals of female beauty, surfing, love and survival.

Zitha said 11 world premieres will be screened: “Zulu Surf Riders” directed by Carlos Francisco and André Cronje, “Courting Justice” by Jane Lipman, “Uit my kop uit” by Jeanette Jegger, “You Chuse” by Anita Khanna and Rehad Desai, “30 Seconds” by Kekeletso Khena, “The Beneficiary” by Themba Monare, “Kabelo’s Zeroid Xpress” by Thapelo Maleka; and five short films that are the result of the SABC and Jan Vrijman Fund Encounters Africa Shorts initiative: “Dear Morris” by Joanne Levitan, “Old-time, Long-time Love” by Mali Kambandu, “Mbira’ My Music My Love” by Dorothy Meck-Chimbuya, “Silent Response” by Maleka Pululu and Villant Virginia Ndasowa’s “Where My Heart Belongs.”

This year’s international festival guests include Dutch filmmaker Sunny Bergman, whose body-image doc “Over the Hill” unspools; Emmy-award winning African-American director and producer Stanley Nelson, who examines the black American middle-class in his featured “A Place of Our Own”; Cameroonian producer and director Cyrille Masso (“Confidences”), a pioneer of Cameroonian independent filmmaking; and a survivor a 1972Andes plane crash, Gonzalo Arijon’s “Stranded — I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountain.”

Opening-night films are “Iron Ladies of Liberia,” a portrait of its President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and some of her female Cabinet members, by Siatta Scott and Daniel Junge; and Lucilla Blankenberg’s “Don’t Shoot” on Riaan Cruywagen who is the world’s longest-serving newsreader, both part of the Why Democracy? series.

Several industry events will run alongside the festival. These include a producers’ workshop, supported by the Goethe Institute, aimed at helping local producers develop their business skills; a distribution, co-production and sales workshop with Diana Holtzberg, a documentary sales agent for Film Transit in New York; Claire Aguilar, director of programming for ITVS; and Don Edkins, executive producer of the Why Democracy? Series. The SABC/Encounters Master Classes, held byBergman andNelson; an SABC roundtable and briefing session that will give filmmakers an opportunity to meet the SABC’s factual genre team; and an SABC Encounters Debate on documentaries and human rights.

The festival is being supported by the SABC, National Film and Video Foundation, Cape Film Commission, Western Cape government, Jan Vrijman/IDFA, the Gauteng Film Commission, Goethe Institute, the French Embassy, U.S. Consulate, British Council and Holland Film.

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