Tri Continental Film Festival


Fredrik Gertten’s critically acclaimed documentary Big Boys Gone Bananas will open the 10th anniversary edition of the Tri Continental Film Festival (TCFF) Festival on Thursday, 6 September. This is the largest festival of human rights cinema in Africa and runs from 7 to 23 September in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Soweto at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau.

Festival-goers will be treated to an exciting programming line-up of diverse human rights focused titles and genres from around the globe, including works from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Finland, Greenland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

South African audiences can expect to view remarkable pieces of documentary cinema by directors such as Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Paul Taylor, Pirjo Honkasalo, Jihan El-Tahri, Francois Verster, Micha X Peled, Jon Shenk, Santiago Zannou, Petr Lom, Delphine de Blic, Alison Klayman, Fredrik Gertten and Laura Gamse.

The festival will screen 42 films, 37 narratives and five shorts that demonstrate the breadth of global documentary films. Ten films make up a special Best Of section, hailing from past TCFF catalogues. A total of 32 titles have received awards on the international festival circuit, and five films in the African selection will have their South African premiere.

Says festival director Rehad Desai: “The Best Of selection consists of the films that resonated with our audiences, not just because they are some of the best examples of the craft of documentary filmmaking, but because they show that when a filmmaker knows how to tell their story, the effect can stay with viewers long after the credits have rolled,’

“With our main film section freedom of expression has emerged as a strong theme in the hundreds of films we chose from, highlighting the crucial role of the artist in social change at a time when our freedoms are increasingly being threatened.’

The freedom of expression selection includes the world premiere of Suffering Grasses, a brave new film that seeks to draw attention to the peaceful wishes of Syrian people.

“It was important that we close TCFF’s first decade highlighting projects that were attuned to the pulse of South African social issues,’ said TCFF director of Programming Anita Khanna. “We are eager to introduce our audiences to a group of films that provide a window into the world, as well as reworking genres and testing traditional modes of storytelling.’

The 10th annual TCFF, founded to broaden the audience for human rights documentary film and encourage a social justice society, will include two retrospectives – an anti-globalisation slate to mark the completion of Micha X Peled’s anti-globalisation trilogy and a focus on Palestine that includes Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s stunning film, 5 Broken Cameras and Roadmap to Apartheid by South African and Israeli director’s Ana Nogueira and Eron Davidson.

TCFF will take place at Johannesburg Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau Theatres from 7 to 16 September, Soweto from 7 to 14 September, Pretoria from 14 to 23 September, and Cape Town from 14 to 18 September..

The Film Guide and schedule is live on

Films in the African Selection are :

Door Of No Return: Santiago Zannou’s film is a journey from north to south and south to north, from the present to the past, from here to beyond. It’s about a son’s honest and moving testament of his father’s story.

The Problem, Testimony of the Saharawi People: Through forbidden testimonies and material, this film brings to the world stories from Western Sahara never before documented: of torture, rape, unjust imprisonment and disappearances at the hands of Moroccan authorities. This is the struggle of the Saharawi people, living in Africa’s last colony.

Back To The Square: Petr Lom looks at Tahrir Square, Egypt, and how more than a year after the euphoria, the demonstrators’ goals have not even come close to being reached.

Finding Mercy: Filmmaker Robyn Paterson’s personal journey to find her friend Mercy in Zimbabwe, after their Matabele people were massacred by Mugabe’s special forces.

Meanwhile in Mamelodi: Set against the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the film spends time with the Mtswensis, a father headed household living in the poorest part of Mamelodi Township. Directed by Benjamin Kahlmeyer.

Little Heaven: The heart felt story of an Ethiopian orphan, Lydia, and her journey after discovering at the age of 13 that she is HIV positive.

Healers: Directed by Thomas Barry, this is a look at how Dr Andrew Ross and matron Elda Nsimbini try to turn a crisis into something positive with an inspiring mentorship programme at their hospital in rural KZN.

Gangster Project: A young white filmmaker who self-consciously epitomises the Capetonian bourgeoisie leaves the comfort of the suburbs in search of “real’ gangsters, finding himself in the heart of a world of fast-paced criminality where he has to work hard to keep his head above water. Directed by Teboho Edkins.

Bigger than Life: Prior to the World Cup in South Africa, many planned to participate in the celebratory atmosphere of the soccer extravaganza. Follow one unusual puppetry troupe that touched hearts across the Rainbow Nation.

Call Me Kuchu: This film allows viewers into the lives of a set of LGBTI activists in Uganda as they take Rolling Stone to court for inciting hatred. Directed by Malika Zouhali-Worral and Katherine Fairfax.

Man on Ground: Directed by Akin Omotoso, this is an undercover look at xenophobia in South Africa through the story of a successful London broker who visits Johannesburg only to find that his brother has disappeared.

To keep up with TCFF, like the TCFF Facebook page at

Tickets for the festival start at R28.

For booking enquiries visit or call Ticketline on 082 16789. Twitter: @nouveaubuzz. Download the Ster-Kinekor app onto your Nokia or Samsung Android phone.

Additional information and further details on the Festival can be found at . Ticket information can also be found at or


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