The fourth annual RapidLion – The South African International Film Festival – taking place from 1 to 10 March at the Market Theatre – has unveiled its lineup of featured directors. The selection of directors, like the films on offer, is varied, including documentary filmmakers, short film specialists and seasoned feature film directors.
The strong presence of filmmakers bodes well for creative cross-pollination and intercultural dialogue across the BRICS countries.
Among the heavy-hitters slated to speak are director Jahmil X.T. Qubeka and producer Layla Swart whose film Sew The Winter to My Skin presents the true story of John Kepe, dubbed the ‘Samson of the Boschberg Mountains’. Kepe, very much his own man was taken as something of a Robin Hood figure in the Karoo mountains that he called home. Like in his earlier film Of Good Report, Qubeka relies on little dialogue, preferring to propel his films through landscape, casting and cinematography. The 19h30 screening of Qubeka’s film on 6 March will be followed by a question and answer session with the director and producer.
Representing China is director Da Fei, whose feature length film, Silent Winter, is about the lengths people would go to to have offspring or to protect their family from the supposed stigma of childlessness. The film will screen twice, first on 7 March 7 (17h00) and 9 March (13h30).
Another Chinese film being screened, and followed by a Q&A, is Zhang Taihai’s Whack. The film, screening at 17h00 on 3 March 2019, depicts the story of 39-year-old kickboxer Hongbing, a fighter close to retirement who must deal with a string of intertwined family dynamics and his fading fortunes.
Angela Matemotja’s film Elevate, tells the story of a dispatch operator who struggles to complete just one day of healthy eating while being body shamed. Matemojta, who grew up in Tanzania, Russia and Kenya seeks to explore the social, sub-cultural and international aspects of the societies she has been a part of. Matemotja will participate in two Q&A sessions on two consecutive days, the first on 7 March at 10h30 and the second on 8 March at 17h30.
There is also a strong selection of shorts, with Rafeeqah Galant’s 13-minute film In The Light of Fire being screened twice (on 2 March 2 at 11h00 and 8 March at 18:00). The film tells the story of Slindile, who, having escaped a mental institution in KwaZulu-Natal finds herself alone to brave the woodland.
Some of the short films to be screened in the presence of their directors fall under the ambit of the festival’s LBGTQI shorts, which explore the lives of characters in varying environments. Adetokumboh M’Cormack’s 18-minute film Irish Goodbye, directed and acted by M’Cormack, tells the story of a young, closeted gay man who is a conflicted but devout Muslim refugee from Syria. On a night out with a quixotic Irishman named Eric, they will confront issues of trust, abandonment, tragedy and privilege. Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to diplomat parents, M’Cormack was raised in Kenya and England. His acting credits include leading roles in Battle Los Angeles, Blood Diamonds and Captain America: Winter Soldier. Representing his directorial debut, Irish Goodbye will screen on 1 March, the opening day, at 14h00.