The 13th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival kicked off in Johannesburg and Cape Town last night and this year it features 37 films from 14 countries and five continents, including 11 world premieres. The local content comprises 19 recent documentaries from South Africa.
The festival organisers have highlighted various themes present in the programme: sex (G-Spotting), celebrity (Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, a winner at Sundance in 2010 last year), rebellion (LennonNYC) and injustice (Black Power Mixtape, a winner at Sundance in 2011).
Films investigate subjects ranging from Robert Mugabe’s reign (Whatever Happened to Robert Mugabe?) to Middle Eastern falcon traders with links to Osama Bin Laden (Feathered Cocaine) and the impact of New World investments (When China Met Africa).
Local fare includes Simon Wood’s Forerunners, winner of the Jury Award at the Cannes Pan African Film Festival, which takes a close look at the emerging black middle class. Chris Hani features in Brian Tilley’s History Uncut and Brenda Fassie appears in Once Upon a Day. Eric Miyeni’s Mining for Change: A Story of South African Mining examines Julius Malema’s political perspectives. Another 10 South African films will have their world premières at Encounters.
This year’s international guests are Göran Hugo Olsson (Sweden), David Sieveking (Germany), Ségolène Hanotaux (France), and Julian Shaw (New Zealand)
Encounters runs until June 26 at Nu Metro V&A Waterfront in Cape Town; and at Nu Metro Hyde Park and The Bioscope in Johannesburg. For more go to www.encounters.co.za