‘The Shore Break’ wins Backsberg Audience Choice Award at Encounters
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 10:33
Still from ‘The Shore Break’
Directed by Ryley Grunenwald, The Shore Break is the disturbing story
of two Pondo cousins on opposing sides of the Xolobeni Wild Coast mining conflict.
Australian mining company, MRC Ltd and their BEE partners, Xolco, want to mine
for titanium, while the South African government is pushing forward with a plan to
create a N2 toll road through the Wild Coast.
But as The Mail and Guardian asked in their review, “Why should
Australian mining interests be allowed to despoil pristine Wild Coast dunes and the
communities attached to the land?”
Many people in the local community wish to preserve their traditional Pondo
lifestyle, with eco-tourism seen as an alternative route to economic growth. This
segment of the community are also worried about disturbing the graves of their
But opposition comes at a price: some who speak up have allegedly been
assassinated, while the late Pondo king was dethroned by government and replaced
by a pro-mining relative.
The Shore Break sold out shows, had extra screenings added in Cape
Town and Johannesburg, and sparked numerous conversations.
“It is incredibly rewarding that The Shore Break has been so well
received by South African audiences,” says Ryley. “Though the film is busy being
shown around the world, it is the local audience who truly understands all the
layers, nuances and the gravity of the story - because the Wild Coast is part of our
lives and part of our natural heritage as South Africans. The screenings at
Encounters have been fantastic and we're really grateful to the festival and the
audiences for making years of hard work well worth it.”
The Backsberg Audience Choice Award is the second festival prize for The
Shore Break, which was also named Best Documentary at the 2015
International Environmental Film Festival (FIFE) in Paris.
The Mail and Guardian described the documentary as, “eloquent,
persuasive, forcible: advocacy documentary-making at its ethical best,” while
City Press called it both “alarming” and “inspiring.”