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Encounters names Audience Award winners

 Encounters names Audience Award winners

The Village Under The Forest voted Best South African Film;
Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present voted Best International Film

The Village Under The Forest has won the Audience Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival for Best South African Film, while Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present was voted Best International Film.


Dylan Valley’s Incarcerated Knowledge and Tamarin Kaplan and Marla Altschuler’s The White Picket Fence Project came second and third respectively in the vote for Best South African Film, while two Oscar nominees came second and third for Best International Film: Dror Moyeh’s The Gatekeepers and David France’s How To Survive A Plague.

The Village Under The Forest explores the hidden remains of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya, which lies under a purposefully cultivated forest plantation called South Africa Forest.

Directed by Emmy-winner Mark J Kaplan and written and narrated by scholar and author Heidi Grunebaum, The Village Under The Forest unfolds as a personal meditation from the Jewish Diaspora.

“The controversy that has surrounded the film speaks to the power of documentaries,” says festival director Lesedi Oluko Moche. “The film’s two sold-out screenings at Encounters really got people talking. You’d expect a film like this from a Palestinian filmmaker, but it’s been made by two Jews, who bravely confront, interrogate and take responsibility for the actions of their forebears, something we haven’t seen in many films out of South Africa.”

The Artist is Present follows Marina Abramovic as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her career: a major retrospective of her work and the biggest exhibition of performance art in MoMA’s history.

Key to the exhibition is a live event that spanned seven hours every day for three months: the artist sitting still, looking into the eyes of hundreds of her audience, one at a time, and witnessed by hundreds of thousands of others, without a break for anything.

“The Encounters Audience Award is just the latest prize for this moving film, which also won the Panorama Audience Award at Berlin,” says Lesedi. “People were regularly in tears at the sold-out screenings during Encounters; it’s a challenging, sexy, uplifting film.”

The 15th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival – Africa’s premier documentary event – ran from 6–16 June 2013 at The Bioscope in Jozi and at Nu Metro at the V&A Waterfront and The Fugard in Cape Town.

Encounters was brought to you by our main sponsors: The NFVF, Bertha Foundation, City Of Cape Town, Wesgro and V&A Waterfront. Guests travel courtesy of Goethe Institut, German Consulate, American Consulate, British Council and French Institute SA.

Watch trailers below:

The Village Under The Forest:

The Artist Is Present:

Incarcerated Knowledge:

The White Picket Fence Project:

The Gatekeepers:

How To Survive A Plague:

Update on The Village Under The Forest
The Village Under The Forest is screening at The Bioscope in Johannesburg this Thursday, 27 June 2013, at 7:30pm and is available to watch online at, although streaming is only available to people in Africa at this stage. It’s also screening at 7:30pm on Thursday, 18 July and Wednesday, 31 July at The Bioscope. For more information on screenings as they’re announced, keep an eye on

For more information, visit

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