Forty-two full length documentaries, 18 of which are South African, will screen at the
Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, which takes place in Cape
Town and Johannesburg from 9 to 26 June.
The South African production, Whatever Happened to Robert Mugabe (directed by
Simon Bright) is the opening night film. Other local films to screen at Encounters are Tim
Wege’s King Naki; Simon Wood’s Forerunners – South Africa’s New Black Middleclass
(winner of the Dikalo Award – 2011 Pan African Film Festival, Cannes); Lauren Beukes’
Glitterboys and Ganglands; Navan Chetty and Eric Miyeni’s Mining for Change: A Story
of South African Mining; Omelga Mthiyane’s Li-Xia’s Salon; and Khalid Shamis’ Imam and
Headlining international films at Encounters are this year’s Oscar-winner Inside Job by
Charles Ferguson; Disney’s Samuel L Jackson narrated nature documentary, Africa Cats
by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey; Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975 by Goran
Hugo Olsson; Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work; and If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth
Liberation Front by Marshall Curry.
Encounters 2011 is celebrating that the Festival has come of age. Says festival director
Mandisa Zitha: “We are now 13 years old and have established a local and international
reputation and endured challenging times. Our 2011 line-up includes award-winning films
and international festival darlings, quality auteur-driven South African films, and new
exciting products from students. Themes are very diverse and comprise of (in)famous
icons, music, sports, human rights, current news and humour, among others.’
A new innovation this year is Encounters’ online entry system which created a more
efficient process of receiving entries. Zitha explains that Encounters also charged
international entries $15, excluding African filmmakers. “As the festival’s international
reputation grew we found ourselves inundated with hundreds of entries from all over
the world and we simply did not have the capacity to review and manage all of them. The
online entry system enables us to work within our capacity and generate additional
funds toward the festival’s operational costs. This year we received 400 entries
(including 53 local entries), compared with 800 in 2010.’
In the past few years sponsorship challenges have threatened Encounters’ future. Zitha
is delighted to announce that the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) is
providing core funding for the 2011 festival. “This is vital towards operational costs and
some festival activities. We have also received funding from long-term partners, the
National Film and Video Foundation (NFF) and the Cape Film Commission (CFC). Many of
our funders provide in-kind sponsorship, which is valuable to us. We are still not in the
clear, with critical funding still needed to sustain the festival.’
Encounters 2011 will host a master class in Cape Town presented by Goran Olsson,
director of Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975. He will show delegates how to make sense
of a massive archive and produce a historical documentary that is tight and topical.
Olsson’s visit is courtesy of the Embassy of Sweden.
David Sieveking, director of David Wants to Fly, will present a seminar called: The
Pleasure and Pain of Realising Your First Film and the Perils of Success! Sieveking travels
courtesy of the Goethe Institut.
Encounters will also host a Documentary Producers Workshop (in partnership with the
Cape Film Commission) for producers who have produced at least one film.
In addition there will also be an editor’s panel discussion in partnership with the South
African Guild of Editors (SAGE).