Jozi Film Festival 2018 highlights and opening film

Whispering Truth to Power will be the opening film at the 2018 Jozi Film Festival

The 7th annual Jozi Film Festival (JFF) will take place from 27 to 30 September 2018 at The Bioscope Independent Cinema in Maboneng and for the first time, at The Olive Tree Theatre in Marlboro. JFF is Johannesburg’s longest-running independent multi-genre film festival, screening both local and international films in the City of Gold. Small and gritty, and critically acclaimed, the festival’s main aim is to provide a platform for both established and emerging South African filmmakers, while also showing international films that speak to a diverse Jozi audience. This is also the second year that JFF has partnered with Discovery Channel to offer African filmmakers a chance to win the ‘Don’t Stop Wondering Award’, a category that calls for short doccie submissions from across the continent.


Opening Night Film:

Whispering Truth to Power directed by Shameela Seedat (SA)

This film charts the final year in office of South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, as she attempts to bring justice to ordinary people. After successfully challenging President Zuma for illegal use of state funds, she now has to face the biggest challenge of her career: investigating – in the face of protests, death threats and legal challenges – the alleged systematic takeover of government by a private family in cahoots with the President.  But how does one weigh the importance of fighting government corruption against the larger moral crime of continued inequality?

Whispering Truth to Power documents the tense story of Madonsela’s last year in public office while simultaneously crafting an absorbing tale of an outstanding lawyer, mother and woman, as well as providing insight into several critical issues facing South Africa today, such as ongoing inequality, racial tensions, land redistribution and corruption.

The film will screen at The Olive Tree Theatre in Marlboro on 27 September in partnership with the African Human Rights Festival (AHRFF). Director Shameela Seedat will be in attendance. The film will screen again at The Bioscope on 28 September.


The Oslo Diaries (feature-length documentary)

Director: Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan, Israel

Africa premiere

JFF will be screening the Africa premiere of the acclaimed documentary, The Oslo Diaries, which premiered at Sundance 2018.

Once upon a time, Israel and Palestine almost made peace. Both nations came close: they could feel it, touch it. But, then at the eleventh hour it all collapsed. The result is an ongoing violent reality that the world continues to witness. Personal diaries written by participants of the secret peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as never before seen archival footage of the Oslo Accord peace process creates a dramatic thriller of historic importance. The film by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan provides new insights into why the peace process failed and why both sides are still embroiled in the longest ongoing conflict of our times. It will help viewers understand the intricacy of peace making and the profound emotional connections the players had during this process. This is an intimate story that speaks to the current difficult situation in the Middle East.

Mma Moeketsi (short fiction)

Director: Reabetswe Moeti, SA

We all remember the fateful event, on 16 August 2012 when the South African police opened fire on striking miners at the Marikana Platinum Mine, where 34 miners were killed and 78 wounded. Based on a true story, Mma Moeketsi is a domestic worker from rural Lesotho working for a suburban family in Johannesburg. Mma Moeketsi’s only son is among the strikers. In the wake of the wage increase strike from 15 August 2012, Moeketsi’s phone is off and he is nowhere to be found. Mma Moeketsi can do nothing but wait pensively for her son to call her or at least pick up her phone calls. One part of her life is at a standstill while her physical presence must still operate as the housekeeper of her suburban employers, in an empty, lonely silence.

Supa Modo (feature film)

Director: Likarion Wainaina, Kenya

Johannesburg premiere

An inspired reimagining of the superhero film, Supa Modo follows the story of 9-year-old Jo, terminally ill and taken home from hospital to die. While her mother wants to wrap her blankets and keep her indoors, her sister Mwix wants to help her experience all she can in the time she has left. If this sounds rather heavy, take heart from Jo, obsessed with Kung Fu movies and superheroes, and dealing with her illness by escaping into the world of her imagination and relentlessly reaching for her dream. She teaches us all this lesson by the end of the film, in a beautifully bittersweet way.

Discovery Channel’s Don’t Stop Wondering Award 

Following the success of 2017, the ‘Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering Award’ in partnership with the annual Jozi Film Festival returned for a second consecutive year in February 2018. The competition called for two to five minute documentaries from filmmakers across Africa which showcase and celebrate unique African stories and capture Discovery Channel’s ethos of sparking curiosity.

The Africa-wide competition received entrants from across the continent and the Discovery and Jozi Film Festival teams were blown away with the creative, emotive and thought-provoking portrayals of Africa’s culture and people. The Top 10 films, as selected by a Discovery and Jozi Film Festival jury, have been produced by filmmakers from countries including South Africa, Namibia, Ghana and Tanzania. The films present a diverse range of themes and inspiring stories that showcase the many different ways of celebrating Africanism; from century-old cultural traditions, to wildlife conservation efforts, to social change and the new generation of African youth. The films are currently being broadcast on Discovery Channel and the winning film will be selected by popular vote via the voting tool on Discovery’s website. Voting closes on 24 August.

This year’s prize from Discovery Channel will include a Canon XF-405 video camera with Singer Photographic camera accessories worth over $5,800 in order for the winner to use for their next filming project. The winner will be flown to the awards in Johannesburg to receive their prize. To view the Top 10 films, visit the official Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering competition website.

 This is a small sample of what is a stellar line-up for 2018. The full programme (dates, times, venues) will be available towards the end of the month on the JFF website. Tickets can be bought online via The Bioscope’s website in September, and at the door at both venues.


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