Encounters film festival: What to watch

Thursday marks the opening of the 17th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival. The festival kicks off at the Labia theatre in Cape Town on June 4 and will take place in cinemas across Cape Town and Johannesburg until June 14.

Here’s our selection of doccies from the festival:

The Iron Ministry 

Director: JP Sniadecki

Once, China had not one but two Silk Roads. Now it has the world’s biggest railway network, iron tracks that reach even into Tibet. The hard-bench third-class “seats” of old have yielded to comfier ones. See these and others in this cinema verité journey through China. – Darryl Accone

My Dancing Heart 

Director: Andrea Martínez Crowther


Age ain’t nothing but a number for women in Mexico who revive their youthful spirit with a dance style called the Danzon. My Dancing Heart is an Al??Jazeera documentary that follows dancers who are 60 years and older and find joy in dance. – Katlego Mkhwanazi

The Shore Break

Director: Ryley Grunenwald

Why should Australian mining interests be allowed to despoil pristine Wild Coast dunes and the communities attached to the land? Why indeed? Eloquent, persuasive, forcible: advocacy documentary-making at its ethical best. – DA

Director of The Shore Break, Ryley Grunenwald

The Shore Break documentary trailer (May 2015) from Ryley Grunenwald on Vimeo.

Coming of Age 

Director: Teboho Edkins

This is the story of teenagers Lefa, Retabile and Mosaku, from the village of HaSekake in Lesotho, who move into adulthood in two years, and face life-changing decisions. – KM

Prisoner 467/64:
The Untold Legacy of Andrew Mlangeni 

Director: Lebogang Rasethaba

Quiet, unassuming and blessed with unswerving principles and juggernaut moral force: that’s Andrew Mlangeni, 11th accused in the Rivonia Trial. – DA

Out on the Streets 

Director: Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk

A group of artists give voice to difficulties faced by working class citizens of Egypt through staged performances. – KM

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Darryl Accone
Darryl Accone has been in journalism for the best part of four decades. He is also a Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar and the International Writers Workshop of Hong Kong Baptist University and the author of ‘All Under Heaven: The Story of a Chinese Family in South Africa’ and ‘Euripides Must Die’.
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