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WHEN The Jozi Film Festival started two years ago, it was created as a platform for Joburg filmmakers and to showcase films about the city.
Co-founder Lisa Henry points out that in that time they did screen international films, as long as they had something to do with Joburg.
But the Joburg film scene being what it is, it’s not like they are churning out the features, so expanding the line-up to include other international and local films makes sense.
Specifically they looked for films which dealt with the same issues Joburg audiences would deal with, or which would give a different perspective on a familiar problem.
“Joburg films are still given a priority, like iNumber Number which is our opening film,” said Henry.
“We just don’t have a theme as such, we’re a multi-genre slate. We select on the basis of what we think the Jozi audience will respond to.
The third annual Jozi Film Festival runs this weekend at venues throughout the city, including The Bioscope Independent Cinema in the Maboneng Precinct and the CineCentre in Killarney Mall.
The festival offers Q&A sessions with attending film directors, awards for the best films and masterclasses for filmmakers and other interested audience members on Saturday at Goethe On Main.
Crime drama iNumber Number, directed by Donovan Marsh, is a vehicle for S’dumo Mtshali, who won the reality TV series Class Act competition. It tells the story of an honest undercover cop who, after being cheated out of a promotion, decides to cross over to the dark side and join a cash-in-transit heist gang.
The film opens on the local circuit on April 25, but Joburg audiences will get a first glimpse tonight at The Bioscope.
iNumber Number will receive a limited US release later this year, but it has also been optioned for a Hollywood remake by Universal Pictures produced by Chris Morgan, the writer of the Fast & Furious movies, and his partner Emile Gladstone.
In a coup for the festival, they will also screen Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel at Ster-Kinekor’s Rosebank Nouveau on Saturday night at 8.15pm, prior to the film’s local circuit release on March 21.
Since the Joburg film audience has proven to be rather diverse, Henry says they have gone for a mix of short fiction, heavy drama, light comedy and documentaries; something for everyone.
Features to look out for are the Joburg premiere of The Forgotten Kingdom (tomorrow at Cine Centre, Killarney), the lyrical and beautifully filmed Lesotho drama directed by Andrew Mudge; The Fastest Film Ever Made: Shotgun Garfunkel; Jahmil Qubeka’s controversial Of Good Report and Andrew Worsdale’s Durban Poison (tomorrow at Cine Centre, Killarney).
Starring Brandon Auret and Cara Roberts, Durban Poison is unlikely to receive a local circuit release, so this will be one of your few chances to catch the killer romance which won the Best South Africa Feature Film award at last year’s Durban International Film Festival.
“The festival provides a platform, the filmmakers we screen won’t often enjoy a cinema release so we give them a space and invite audiences to come and watch. A lot of the local films will go out of the country and we won’t see them here.
“It’s a small festival. We are gritty and run by volunteers. Our costs are covered by Hollard, but we don’t get paid. We are supported by the people in the industry, The Bioscope and CineCentre,” said Henry.
Check at: www.jozifilmfestival. co.za for the full list of films and more details about the six second Vine Mobile Competition which is based on the theme Unexpected and open to all.