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Jozi Film Festival


Call for submissions for the 9th annual Jozi Film Festival

Johannesburg’s longest running, multi-genre film festival – the Jozi Film Festival – is now open for 2020 submissions.

The 2020 edition of the festival will take place over four days from 17 – 20 September at various venues, to be announced, across the city. The 2020 Jozi Film Festival, as always, will showcase the best of the best of local and international feature films, shorts and documentaries.

Submissions are open until 15 May, with a late deadline of 5 June. All entries must be submitted via FilmFreeway.

Jozi Film Festival 2019 – winners announced

The 8th annual Jozi Film Festival (JFF) Awards took place on the evening of 6 October at Il Giardino, 44 Stanley Ave, in Johannesburg.

Sean Steinberg made Jozi Film Festival history by walking away with three awards, for Best South African Short Fiction Film for Axis Mundi (co-directed with Matthew Jankes) and Best South African Feature Film, (S)he. He also took home Best Director.

Tapiwa Gambura took home a cheque for $2 500 as the winner of JFF and Discovery Network’s “Real Stories By Real People” award. Her short documentary about a Zimbabwean woman who is a bus conductor garnered the most public votes. Handing over the award was SA’s RealTime ambassador and Metro FM talk show host, Relebogile Mabotja. In second and third place were Beyond Gender by Samuel Erhahon (Nigeria) and Fish On Fire by Peter Okojie (Nigeria). Twenty films were shortlisted in this category and all will all be broadcast on RealTime channel this month. They can also be viewed on the JFF website.

All the winners for 2019 are:

Best SA Feature Film 2019

(S)he – Sean Steinberg

Best Young Director 2019

Mligane Dube (Isidima)

Best Director 2019

Sean Steinberg (Axis Mundi and (S)he)

Best South African Documentary 2019

Someone To Blame – Enver Michael Samuel

Best International Documentary 2019

Nigeria’s Lost Generation – Charlie Luckock (Nigeria)

Best South African Short Documentary 2019

Exorcist of Apartheid – Adam Heyns

Best International Short Documentary

The Briefing – Filip Drzweicki (Poland)

Best South African Short Fiction Film 2019

Axis Mundi – Matthew Jankes and Sean Steinberg

Best International Short Fiction 2019

J Burg – Matthew Gouveia (Canada)

Best Music Video 2019

Mangaliso (Bongiziwe Mabandla) – Warwick Allan

Best South African Student Film 2019

Sunset Exodus – Dylan Brokensha

Honourable mentions:

Tin Soldiers – Odette Schwegler (Best SA Feature Length Documentary)

Shaka’s Mask – Maishe Mosala (SA Short Fiction)

Miracle – Bongi Ndama (SA Short Fiction)

Life’s A Drag – Kate D’Hotman – (SA Short Fiction)

The evening was hosted by John Vlismas and the crowd were entertained by the Mzansi Youth Choir, whose performance was sponsored by RMB.

Jozi Film Festival thanks Chubb, Easy Equities and BASA for their support of the festival.

The 8th annual Jozi Film Festival

The 8th annual Jozi Film Festival (JFF) kicks off on Thursday, 3 October with a private screening of Ernest Nkosi’s new documentary, An Ordinary People. It will screen at both Hyde Park’s Nu Metro (at 6pm, by invitation only) and at 8pm at The Bioscope in Maboneng, as a free screening. Tickets will still need to be reserved through The Bioscope’s website. The film is an adrenaline-pumping documentary about the sport of car spinning, where hustlers and dreamers of modest means become heroes. This film is hot out of the edit suite and JFF is offering audiences a first look.

Over three days, the JFF will screen local and international films at Hyde Park Corner’s Nu Metro, The Bioscope and for the first time at Delta Park’s art deco theatre. The festival culminates with an awards event on the evening of 6 October, where winners in each category will be announced alongside the winner of our JFF and Discovery Network’s Real Time competition.

Hyde Park Highlights:

TIN SOLDIERS, 3pm, 5 October (South Africa) WORLD PREMIERE

Tin Soldiers is the deeply personal story of people afflicted with one of the world’s most rare diseases that slowly turns connective tissue into bone. A compelling tale of courage set against a backdrop of medical science, this is the story of real life Tin Soldiers overcoming human frailty to show that within a ravaged body can exist the spirit of a survivor.

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, 3pm, 6 October (Canada) AFRICA PREMIERE

This moving documentary tells the story of Dr. Anne Innis Dagg and re-traces the steps of her ground-breaking 1956 journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild. Now, at 85 years old, Anne sees a startling contrast between the world of giraffes she once knew and the one it has become. Weaving through the past and present, her harrowing journey gives us an intimate look into the factors that destroyed her career and the forces that brought her back. 

Bookings for Nu Metro.

Delta Park Environmental Centre Highlights:

RUN AS ONE, 4pm, 5 October (1 hour) WORLD PREMIERE

The inspiring history of how an ultra-marathon, that started with 26 white male runners, now brings more than 25 000 South Africans together each year. The film features the untold stories of some of the race’s legends competing against all odds in South Africa during the 70’s and 80’s. From Vincent Rakabaele’s nail-biting finish in 1976 to Frith Van Der Merwe’s still unbeaten record-breaking time in 1989, the heroic feats of our former stars will inspire the new generation to even greater heights of achievement. 

THE RHINO CUP, 5:30pm, 5 October (1 hour) AFRICA PREMIERE

Filmed over the last three years in South Africa and Mozambique, a documentary about rhino poaching and football. Called the ‘The Rhino Cup’, it is a film that not only explains the current severity of poaching in Africa but also follows a unique way of tackling the problem. Through football, communities and villagers in Mozambique are being uplifted. The Rhino Cup has been created, giving the younger generation something to engage in, improving community spirit, creating jobs and building new infrastructure.

OUR OCEANS: A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY, 7:30pm, 5 October (1 hour 30 mins) WORLD PREMIERE

A team of scientists, divers and photographers set out on a journey of discovery along the South African coastline, one of the longest and richest in the world. Along the way, they unveil three incredible natural events whilst highlighting the impending threats and promoting the protection of our oceans.

Bookings for Delta Park.

Additionally, an extensive selection of short fiction films, features and documentaries will be screened. From the multi-award winning doccie Golden Fish, African Fish (Senegal) that examines the artisanal fishing industry, to a short fiction film about a zombie who eats his boss in Life’s A Drag (South Africa).

Visit the festival website and click on Schedule for more info.

Chubb and Easy Equities are the main sponsors of the 2019 JFF.

Discovery Channel announces its Don’t Stop Wondering award winner

Following the 2017 success, Discovery Channel once again partnered with the Jozi Film Festival (JFF) to bring new, exciting and unique African stories to television screens with The Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering award.

The winning short-form film that showcased and celebrated a unique African story and captured Discovery’s ethos of sparking curiosity has officially been named. The 2018 award went to filmmaker, Didi Exelby from Cape Town, South Africa, for her film Burning Embers. This touching film follows the unique story of Amy McMillan, and how her family took inspiration from a tragedy to change the face of elephant conservation and awareness in South Africa.

Exelby was announced as the winner at the Jozi Film Festival closing ceremony in Johannesburg on 30 September, where she received a Canon XF-405 video camera with Singer Manfrotto Photographic accessories worth over $5,800 from Discovery Channel.

“I am so proud and honoured that my team has been chosen as the winner for the Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering award this year. Thank you once again to Discovery Inc. for providing a fantastic opportunity and platform, where awareness can be spread about stories that are so closely aligned to the heart of Africa! I hope that with this film we can communicate the message that the Mike McMillan Nature fund works so hard to support, and spread even more awareness around elephant conservation in Africa. Thank you to Mike’s inspirational family for showing the world how to fuel a culture of change,” says Exelby.

“This year once again saw a winning film that highlighted a huge issue we face in Africa – elephant conservation – brought to life through Didi’s unique filmmaking passion and skill. We are extremely proud of Didi’s great work, and hope that this film will spark curiosity in each of you, and urge all Africans to make a difference,” says Debbie Brady, commercial director, Discovery Inc. Africa.

“Being able to offer African filmmakers this incredible platform is what makes us at Jozi Film Festival tick. Thank you Discovery Inc., for providing the opportunity, and thank you to Canon and Singer for the amazing prizes. Well done to all the Top Ten finalists and congrats to Didi!” said Lisa Henry, founder and organiser of the Jozi Film Festival.

Jozi Film Festival 2018 award winners

The seventh annual Jozi Film Festival (JFF) closed on Sunday night, 30 September, with an awards evening held at The Marabi Club, wrapping up four days of film at The Bioscope Independent Cinema and The Olive Tree Theatre.

This year’s winner’s are:

Best South African Student Film
Dir: Katya Abedian

Best South African Short Fiction Film
Dir: Reabetswe Moeti

Best International Short Fiction Film
KYENVU (Uganda)
Dir: Kemiyondo Coutinho

Best South African Documentary
Dir: Shameela Seedat

Best International Feature-Length Documentary
THE OSLO DIARIES (Israel/Canada)
Dir: Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan

Best South African Short Documentary
Dir: Jasyn Howes

Best International Short Documentary
Dir: Bruce Donnelly

Audience Choice Award
Dir: Likarion Wainaina

The Discovery Channel “Don’t Stop Wondering” Award
Producer: Didi Exelby

For the first time, the JFF made three honourable mentions:

Dir: Dian Weys – short fiction (SA)

A Black Man In Zimbabwe
Dir: Roger Horn – short documentary (SA)

Abu Adnan
Director: Sylvia Le Fanu – short fiction (Denmark)

The JFF is held in partnership with Discovery Channel, CN&CO, OUTvest, BASA, Canon and Singer.

Jozi Film Festival 2018 highlights and opening film

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.

Jozi Film Festival 2017 – Opening Night and highlights

The sixth annual Jozi Film Festival (JFF) will open this year at Rosebank’s Cinema
Nouveau on Thursday, 21 September 2017 with the top ten films selected from an
Africa-wide search for filmmaking talent in partnership with Discovery Channel.

The inaugural Discovery Channel ‘Don’t Stop Wondering’ competition called for African
filmmakers to submit a two to five minute film that showcased and celebrated unique
African stories whilst capturing Discovery’s ethos of sparking curiosity. From the
submissions, only ten films were shortlisted and broadcast on Discovery Channel. The
general public was then asked to vote for their favourite film via Discovery’s website.

“We’re so proud to have been a part of this competition,’ says JFF’s founder and
organiser, Lisa Henry. “Discovery Channel offered African filmmakers a remarkable
opportunity with this competitive category and they have been a wonderful group of
people to work alongside on this.’

The ‘Don’t Stop Wondering’ award carries a cash prize of $5 000.00 [approximately R
64 478.00] from Discovery Channel. The winning filmmaker will be announced on
Sunday, 24 September 2017 at the Jozi Film Festival Awards with John Vlismas as the
Master of Ceremonies (MC). The Awards will be held at The Sheds, 1 Fox Precinct,
Johannesburg CBD.



In this multi-award winning documentary film from Spain, directors Marc Serena and
Pablo Garcia Perez de Lara travelled to Cape Verde to explore the lives of the
transsexual community in the city of Mindelo in the run up to its annual carnival. The
film centres on Cape Verde’s most famous transgender activist: Tchinda Andrade.

“She was the first to open the way for others to express themselves,” says Serena.
“Tchinda is a natural leader.” She has been so influential that the trans community in
Cape Verde are referred to as “tchindas” by locals.

We are thrilled that co-director Marc Serena will be joining us for this South African
premiere at 20h00 on Saturday, 23 September at Rosebank’s Cinema Nouveau.

“It’s very special to premiere the film in South Africa with Jozi Film Festival. It gives
another perspective of the continent and we hope people from Jozi will love it,’ said


JFF is pleased to announce a new partnership with AACA (African Academy of
Cinematic Arts). From 7-week music video courses to year-long filmmaking and acting
courses, this fully accredited academy strives to ready the emerging filmmaker or
actor to enter the real world of the local film industry, 100 per cent prepared for the

AACA, in partnership with JFF, will be running a day of film workshops on Saturday, 23
September, at their Maboneng premises (10 Van Beek Street). These workshops are
free and open to any aspiring or emerging filmmakers. Maumela Mahuwa from SABC
2’s Muvango will be speaking on her 12-year history in film and television. No
booking required – just turn up! Programme of events can be found on AACA’s website.

All JFF2017’s films will screen at Rosebank’s Cinema Nouveau and The Bioscope in
Maboneng from 21 to 24 September 2017. Bookings can be made online through
Ster-Kinekor (from Wednesday, 12 September 2017). Download the Ster-Kinekor App
on your smart phone for updates, news and to book tickets from your mobile or call
Ticketline on 0861 MOVIES (668 437). Tickets are also available on The Bioscope’s
website. The full programme can be found on the festival website.

A wide-ranging selection of great short fiction films, documentaries, feature films and
student films from both South Africa and internationally are on offer over the Heritage
Day weekend. Follow Jozi Film Festival on Facebook for all the updates on the festival
and more info about each film.

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