Monday, June 9, 2014

Encounters Documentary Film Festival - 5 to 15 June

For those of you who are not already aware, Africa’s top documentary festival is back!   Extraordinary films, Filmmaking Master Classes, Pitching Forum etc.

Through partnerships with funders and industry organisations, this years' programme includes an enlightening and engaging Industry programme. The Festival will host three master classes, the SAGE Editing Seminar, The Al Jazeera Pitching Forum and Presentation, the National Film and Video Foundation In Conversation and two panel discussions.  check out their website for further info here.

International highlights include:

  • Oscar nominee Cutie & The Boxer
  • Sundance Grand Jury Prizewinner Return to Homs and Audience Award winner The Green Prince
  • Oscar-winning Errol Morris’s documentary on Donald Rumsfeld
  • Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, named Best Documentary by both The New York Film Critics Circle and The Los Angeles Film Critics Association

The 16th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival will run from 6-15 June 2014 in Cape Town and Johannesburg, exposing audiences to a more diverse, complex, and surprising world than they could ever imagine.

Many of the international documentaries take you behind recent news headlines. In The Unknown Known, Oscar-winner Errol Morris uses declassified memos to guide former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld through a discussion of his controversial career under four different Republican presidents, shedding light on Vietnam, the Cold War, Desert Storm, and the War on Terror. Return to Homs, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, takes you to the frontlines in Syria, where two friends fight back against the army transforming their city into a ghost town. The Green Prince, winner of the Audience Award at Sundance, focuses on the oldest son of a founding member of Hamas, who agrees to spy for Israel.

Many of the documentaries explore contrasting responses to injustice.

Dangerous Acts Starring The Unstable Elements of Belarus focuses on a theatre group defying ‘Europe’s last dictatorship.’ Fuck For Forest documents an environmental NGO with an unusual fundraising strategy: they sell their homemade erotic films on the internet.

Concerning Violence is a call to arms, with Lauryn Hill narrating Frantz Fanon’s critique of the dehumanizing effects of colonization.

But there is also beauty in this year’s selection. The Oscar-nominated Cutie and The Boxer celebrates the challenges and richness of both marriage and art. The award-winning Finding Vivian Maier depicts a nanny who’s posthumous cache of 100 000 photographs has seen her hailed as one of the world’s most accomplished street photographers.

The award-winning My Name Is Salt is a tribute to the thousands of stubborn families who move to a desert in India to extract salt from the burning earth for eight months every year, only for every monsoon to wash their salt fields away.

Other films defy simple categorization.

In Stories We Tell, Oscar-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that in her family of storytellers, the truth depends on who's telling it. Her deeply personal documentary has won multiple awards, being named Best Non-Fiction Film by The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, The New York Film Critics Circle and The National Board of Review.

12 O’Clock Boys is the stunt-filled story of a Baltimore dirt-bike gang who easily evade the hamstrung police, who must adhere to a no-chase policy to maintain public safety; it’s been described as ‘The Wire with wheelies.”

In The Perverts Guide to Ideology, superstar cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek re-teams with director Sophie Fiennes (The Pervert's Guide to Cinema) for another wildly entertaining romp through the crossroads of cinema and philosophy.

The award-winning, visually-striking The Great Night explores night life and insomnia in Prague, studying the people who sleep by day andcome alive at night.

And The Pirate Bay: Away From Keyboard is the story of the three founders of the world’s biggest file sharing site, who built a business based on other people committing crimes.

Africa’s most prestigious documentary festival runs from 5-15 June 2014 at Nu Metro V&A Waterfront and The Labia in Cape Town and The Bioscope in Johannesburg.

Keep an eye on for updates, including the announcement of the selection of some of the biggest African-themed documentaries from the last year, as well as 10 world premieres of South African documentaries.

Encounters is made possible through the support of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), National Film and Video Foundation South Africa (NFVF) , Bertha Foundation, Al Jazeera, Wesgro, City of Cape Town, The Times, BASA, Backsberg Estate Cellars and HCI Foundation.

The NLDTF relies on funds from the proceeds of the National Lottery. The Lotteries Act and regulations guide the way in which NLDTF funding may be allocated. The NLDTF wants the grants to make a difference to the lives of all South Africans, especially those more vulnerable, and to improve the sustainability of the beneficiary organisations. Available funds are distributed to registered and qualifying non-profit organizations in the fields of charities; arts, culture and national heritage; and sport and recreation. By placing its emphasis on areas of greatest need and potential, the NLDTF contributes to South Africa¹s development.

Watch and embed the trailers:
Cutie and The Boxer:
Return To Homs:
The Unknown Known:
Finding Vivian Maier:
Stories We Tell:
Fuck For Forest:
My Name Is Salt:
12 O’Clock Boys:
The Pirate Bay: Away From Keyboard:
The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology:
Concerning Violence:
Dangerous Acts Starring The Unstable Elements of Belarus:

For further information please contact:
Joy Sapieka 073 2125492 email:
Roxanne Blaise 082 339 9131 email:
Kevin Kriedemann 083 556 2346 email: