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World premieres for South African filmmakers at Africa’s top documentary festival

 World premieres for South African filmmakers at Africa’s top documentary festival

The 16th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival will run from 5-15 June 2014 in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

This year’s selection echoes the current worldwide fascination with both Africa and South Africa, but challenges the hype of simplistic catchphrases like ‘Africa rising’ and ’20 years of democracy.’

Encounters will feature two of the most acclaimed South African documentaries of recent years.

One of the most important films of post-Apartheid South Africa, Rehad Desai’s heart-breaking Miners Shot Down is a comprehensive and damning account of 16 August 2012, when the South African police shot and killed 34 striking miners at Lonmin platinum mine. Essential viewing for every South African, Miners Shot Down won at both Movies That Matter and One World, two of the most important human rights documentary festivals worldwide.

21 years ago, for ITV’s award-winning TV series 7UP South Africa, acclaimed director Angus Gibson filmed a cross-section of the country’s seven-year-old children and asked them about their lives, hopes and dreams. He’s filmed the children every seven years since: first for 14UP, then 21UP, and now, as adults, for the BAFTA-nominated 28UP, screened on both ITV and Al Jazeera last year. The South African show is a spinoff from British director Michael Apted’s multi-award-winning UP series, which is on The British Film Institute’s list of The Greatest British TV Shows.

The South African selection also boasts five world premieres: Behind The LensCrumbs – Toppling The Bread CartelDiaries of A Dissident PoetSpring Queen and The Vula Connection.

Liz Fish’s Behind The Lens focuses on eight South African photographers – Benny Gool, Gille de Vlieg, Guy Tillim, Paul Weinberg, Peter Magubane, Rashid Lombard, Tony Weaver, and Zubeida Vallie – who saw themselves as activists first and photojournalists second during the Struggle in the 1980s.

Dante Greeff and Richard Finn Gregory’s Crumbs – Toppling The Bread Cartel is the story of Imraahn Mukkadam, who blew the whistle on bread price-fixing in the Western Cape in 2006. Imraahn is still locked in a David vs. Goliath battle that is far from over.

Shelley Barry’s Diaries of A Dissident Poet profiles James Matthews, whose Cry Rage became the first book of poetry to be banned in South Africa.

Spring Queen, directed by Emmy-winner Paul Yule, focuses on Cape Town’s Spring Queen Pageant, which gives the city’s clothing and textile factory workers the chance to be Cinderella for a night.

Marion Edmunds The Vula Connection is the untold story of the ANC’s ingenious communications system during the struggle.

There are a number of other South African highlights.

Annalet Steenkamp’s award-winning I, Afrikaner documents four generations of her Afrikaner family over the course of nine turbulent years as they cling to their identity in a scarred and increasingly unrecognizable country.

Jolyn Minnaar’s Unearthed is the story of how she becomes an anti-fracking activist after an investigation that takes her across the globe to the USA in search of answers.

Abby Ginzberg’s Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and The New South Africa explores the remarkable life of award-winning author and former Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs, who lost his right arm and an eye when South African security agents blew up his car in Mozambique in 1988.

Sean Drummond, Paulene Abrey and Luaan Hong’s Outsider is the story of South Africa artist and provocateur Beezy Bailey.

Meg Rickards and Bert Haitsma’s 1994 – The Bloody Miracle is a timely reminder of just how close South Africa came to a civil war.

Keep an eye on for updates. 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 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 trailers below:

28UP South Africa:


I, Afrikaner: 




Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa: 

1994 – The Bloody Miracle: 


The Vula Connection: 




Crumbs: Toppling The Bread Cartel: 

For further information please contact

Joy Sapieka 073 2125492 email:

Roxanne Blaise 082 339 9131 email:

Kevin Kriedemann 083 556 2346 email:

Diarise 5-15 June 2014 for Africa’s leading documentary festival.


South African highlights include:

• Five world premieres from top SA filmmakers

• Miners Shot Down, Rehad Desai’s award-winning documentary on the Marikana massacre
•28UP, Angus Gibson’s BAFTA-nominated documentary for Al Jazeera and ITV

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