TCFF showcases human rights films


Forty-eight films, including nine South African short films, will screen at the Tri
Continental Film Festival (TCFF) which runs in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town
between 13 and 29 September.

TCFF is the only festival in Africa primarily dedicated to issues of social, political and
human rights.

Says festival director Anita Khana: “This year we received over 200 submissions for the
festival. We have a selection panel of seven people who chose films that are beautifully
crafted and that tell a good story. Our selections are also based on the big stories
affecting humanity that will have resonance for our audiences.

“Many people became painfully aware of the crisis situation for women in South Africa
when Anene Booyson was brutally raped and murdered earlier this year. TCFF
deliberately went all out to call for films on gender abuse, but also stories that are
inspiring and thoughtful around how we tackle women’s inequality. These are featured in
our Sex Politics strand.’

Khanna notes that this year there was a depressing lack of films submitted about
women that were made in South Africa. “For this reason we’re initiating a second phase
of longer films in the Filmmakers Against Women Abuse strand that originated as a
competition for short films run by Encounters earlier this year. TCFF will soon put out a
call for women filmmakers to get involved. We need stories about South African women
that are locally relevant and competitive on a global stage,’ she says.

Visitors to TCFF should look out for ½ Revolution (Egypt / Denmark), an insider view of
the Egyptian revolution by Egyptian filmmaker Karim El Hakim and Diary from the
Revolution (Libya / Norway), about the 2011 revolution in Libya.

Khanna continues: “We are delighted to screen another gem from documentary legend
Connie Field, namely Martin Luther King in Palestine (US). This film follows an African-
American gospel choir that has their perspective on Palestine turned upside down during
a tour of the West Bank.

“Another fascinating title is Blood in the Mobile (DRC / Finland / Denmark), an expose
which reveals that the minerals used to make the mobile phones are steeped in conflict.

“The Ambassador (Libya / Central African Republic / Denmark) features Mads Brugger’s
inimitable style of mixing documentary with drama to tell a controversial tale of
corruption in the diamond business. This film’s ethics will be discussed at a panel at the
People2People (P2P) International Documentary Conference, which runs alongside the
festival in Johannesburg.’

Khanna describes The Guantanamo Trap (Germany / Spain / USA) as “documentary
filmmaking at its best’. This character-driven story allows the viewer into the dark world
of US policy and human rights abuses in the War on Terror.

This year TCFF includes a narrative film, Karaoke Girl, about an escort worker in Bangkok
that quietly speaks about the experience of sex workers and relationships in general.

There are 13 South African films in the programme, including the nine shorts. The South
African premieres include Boys Don’t Cry by Teboho Peterson and Marc Wadsworth’s

“We are concerned about the noticeable lack of South African films that were available
for entry this year as one of our objectives is industry support and development. It
seems that fewer South African documentaries were produced in the 2012 / 3 period
compared to previous years,’ comments Khanna.

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