A new South African short film, “Cutting Silence’, written and directed by Reina-Marie Loader and produced by International Radio Pictures’ Kit Reynolds, has been selected for competition in the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in New York in February.
The 29-minute film, a drama about the traditional but highly controversial practice of female circumcision in North African countries, was entirely shot in South Africa with a local crew and cast. It was partly funded by the Austrian Department of Woman’s Affairs.
“We built an entire Somalian village in Irene, just outside of Johannesburg, and had five days in which to shoot,’ says Reynolds. “The production was made possible with generous support from Roddy Barker of Camera Facilities, MCC and Canvas and Tent. We were lucky enough to have had the most wonderful crew and cast.’
“Cutting Silence’ stars Madina Wario, Linda Sokhulu, Vatiswa Ndara, Lerato Murabi and Dexter Nwanya. The film investigates the cultural reasons for the continuation of female genital mutilation in North African societies. Actual experiences and scientific facts are condensed into the lives of the five fictional characters, predominantly on the four female characters, who are forced to evaluate their roles as women bound by tradition as well as the life-long damage this cultural practice inflicts on their minds and bodies. The film thus examines through the genre of docudrama the cultural and personal reasons why such a practice still exists in Africa today.
Reynolds explains: “The purpose of the film is to create international public awareness around this topic. It aims to create an opportunity for the subject to be openly discussed so that people from all walks of life may consider the reasons for the practice’s continued existence as well as the effects it has on African women and children.’
Both Loader and Reynolds will attend PAFF which runs from 7 to 18 February.