The Apollo Weekend Film Show

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The programme for The Apollo Weekend Film Show is now finalised and boasts an impressive array of films totalling twenty. The twenty films are made up of nine
documentaries, eight animated short films, one short film and two feature length films. The
nine documentaries are broken down into six short – shot doccies; three short films from the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking tackles the safeguarding of the environment and provide an understanding and appreciation of the arts and youth in South Africa through music.

Guardian of the Ocean is a remarkable story of of Althea Westphal who used her home to take in injured penguins after the Esso Essen oil spill in the late 1960s and established an
organisation to protect and rehabilitate these heart-warming sea birds in her own backyard; Differently Abled is about an 13 year old blind boy named Danito that is a
multi-talented inspirational musician at the Durban music school, a surfer and technology
fanatic. He is, by simply living life as he knows it, showing all able and ‘disable’ people that
capability and ability is only determined by determination and mental attitude; Music in the Mountains (Drakensberg Boys Choir) explores the journey of 12 year old musician
Sihle Manonyane who joined the Drakensberg Boys Choir School in 2016 and was the first to gain concert status, where the new boys at the school have to pass 25 music tests to join the concert choir and wear the iconic blue and jabot uniform. The film shows how the school prepares young boys to transition to be great gentlemen through music.

Masquerading to Hell and Back by Sofia de Fay has recently won second prize in the Youth Jury Award at Encounters. “Masquerading or impersonating a woman” during Apartheid, was considered an illegal offense and punishable with six months hard labour in prison in South Africa. This story follows two Cape Coloured drag queens, Sandra and Samantha who were both locked up and sentenced to hard labour. The two eccentric, hilarious and stylish drag queens reflect on their complex friendship and remember with humour some tragic moments.

Heleen Van Tonder’s Heuegenise van ‘n Vrou is a timeless poetic story beautifully captured by her tells about the life’s journey of a 50’s woman from her earliest childhood memories, all the way to the day her entire life changed in her forties, when her husband died. In between is a collection of: giving not only a highly personal insight to her world, but also conveying a sense of what life was like at that time. Through a single story, we gain a sense of what countless other women’s lives must have been very similar to. It’s a story about women’s strength: silent, deep, and forever loving.

I Want To See For Myself by Fanyane Hlabangane is a short documentary based on human
rights activist Arthur Ashe, who was also the first black tennis player ever to win the singles
title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open who vehemently opposed
Apartheid segregation in 70s South Africa. In 1970, when Ashe was the top-ranked American in the game, he was denied a visa when he wanted to take part in the South African Open, he then called for South Africa’s expulsion from the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the Davis Cup. Ashe received lots of support, successfully drawing the world’s attention to the iniquity of South Africa’s former political system. His actions also lent weight to a number of other sporting codes imposing sanctions against South Africa. Ashe was later granted a visa and thus fulfilling his wish of playing in South Africa. He became the first black man to play in the South African Open. During this time he met a lot of township youth, many of which who saw him as a hero. He later donated funds to build the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto.
The Centre would later give birth to the Soweto Open. The film is about breaking barriers,
political, social or personal, it’s about the triumph of the human spirit.

Michael Van Niekerk’s 40 minute documentary; Free Education – The Story of Bonginkosi Khanyile chronicles the events of the #FeesMustFall movement from the perspective of Durban University of Technology student Bonginkosi Khanyile, who inadvertently became one of the movement’s significant faces after being arrested and detained for nearly six months. The film provides an incisive critique of the struggle for free, quality and decolonised education.

The feature length documentary that will screen on the first day of the film show is
Eerstewater made by the trio of Helene Smit, Adriaan De La Rey and Lodewyk Barkhuzein. This strange and remarkable film is both a portrait of a community and a psychological treatise of sorts. Based on the book Beneath – Exploring the Unconscious in Individuals, the film intersperses narrated passages from the book with intimately filmed interviews with a small group of residents of Prince Albert, in the Western Cape. Framed by the austere beauty of the Karoo and its vast, unyielding sky, the film’s conversations explore notions of love, philosophy, belief systems and family, as well as our relationship to the land, animals and each other. With a soundtrack performed live by its subjects, this is a profoundly spiritual
work of art. Eerstewater expands the margins of South African life and gives agency to voices that are seldom heard in local cinema.

The second and final feature length doccie; Martin Jansen’s Freedom Isnt Free: The Freedom Charter Today, challenges the ANC government with its failure to bring into being the words and resolutions of the Freedom Charter. Using excellent archival footage, intercut from that past into the present and informative commentary by new and older generations, the film demonstrates that for the overwhelming majority of South Africans, housed in sprawling shanty-towns, there has been little advance since apartheid ended – neither economically or educationally.

In line with the ADA’s audience development strategy aimed at encouraging a culture of
cinema going at a young age we will entertain kids to a free screening of eight animated short films courtesy of the Animation School and these are: 317, Rocket Boys, Decaf, Eden, Mitey Beard, Sockworld, Taavi and The Boy and The Mask. These beautifully animated films are a mixture of humour, hope and fantasy and promise to entertain young and old with the different inspirational and educational messages they carry.

Buks Rossouw’s Potyster Sweis nie was shown during a special screening at the
Apollo Theatre and received exciting reviews. This exciting film pays tribute to PG du Plessis and takes place during the seventies. A farmer buys an old, broken cast iron stove, puts it at the back of his bakkie and offers lift to a schoolboy who is hiking and is on his way home for the weekend and through the company of the boy, the farmer learns from the boy a lot about hostel life, his family and how he needs to weld the cast iron stove, but is only after the farmer has dropped off the boy that he learns something about fellow men.

The Adventures of Supermama by Karen Van Schalkwyk is one of two feature length action
films and introduces us to Doris Ratabane a large, stubborn and beautiful woman with a
passion for fighting crime in her community whose life changes forever when she meets the
enigmatic Mr. Hung and decides to learn the ancient art of Kung Fu. Doris’s husband Jabulani is completely baffled at this turn of events. The training is tough, but encouragement arrives in the form of Tiny, a charming ten-year-old boy who lives at the back of her property. Doris’s dramatic adventures bring her head-to-head with a dangerous heist gang, leading to danger for all involved. Can Supermama overcome her pride and bring the gang to justice?

The last action film by Anne-Marie Jansen van Vuuren WOLF WOLF – Hoe Laat Is Dit takes place on an isolated farm in 1976 South Africa, where a serial killer stalks his latest victim, a neglected housewife, by posing as a distant relative. But then he begins to fall for her.

Weekend Programme:

Date: 26 October 2018 

  • 15h10 – Masquerading to Hell and Back and Heugenisse van ‘n vrou
  • 15h40 – Guardian of the Ocean and Eerstewater
  • 18h35 –Differently Abled and The Adventures of Supermamma

Date: 27 October 2018

  • 10h07 – Animation School Shorts
  • 10h45 – Potyster Sweis Nie
  • 11h20 – Free Education- The Story of Bongikosi Khanyile
  • 14h00 – Music in the Mountains (A story of the Drakensberg
    Boys Choir)
  • 14h30 – Freedom Isn’t Free: The Freedom Charter Today
  • 18h30 – I Want To See For Myself and WOLF WOLF, Hoe Laat is Dit?

The festival line-up promises a fun filled weekend where audiences all over will be
educated, inspired and entertained. Donations are welcomed to purchase tickets for those in need and tickets are sold at R2 for kids aged 0 to 10, R6 for ages 10 to 16 and R15 for ages 16 and above. Learners from Grade 8 to 12 will pay R7.50.

The targeted audiences for the festival are the community of Victoria West, particularly
learners, teens, young adults and adults also residing within the Ubuntu Municpality and
patrons from neighbouring towns within a 400km radius as well as general film enthusiasts and tourists.

For more information contact Reggie Khanzi, project director at apollofilmfestival@gmail.com.

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