A scene from 'Waterless Flower'.

Johannesburg - An Eastern Cape-based documentary titled ‘Waterless Flower’ has reached the final of a Spanish film festival, production company Ripple Effect said on Tuesday.

“Recently we received an e-mail informing us that the film has been selected as a finalist - chosen among entries from across the world,” director Twiggy Matiwana said in a statement.

The documentary, which was the only South African movie to reach the final stage of the international film competition, would compete against films from India, the United States, and Canada in the ‘We Art Water Festival’.

The documentary is based on the story of orphaned children living with their elder sister in a small one-room shack in Borolatuku Village in Mahikeng, with no water, proper sanitation, and electricity.

The family is headed by a 22-year-old, living with her four-year-old son, 11-year-old sister, and a 15-year-old brother.

Matiwana said she came across the children at the village and noticed that the young boy was not attending school and was told that he was mentally challenged.

“When we received the brief from the Spanish Festival and (the United Nations Children's Fund), focusing on water and sanitation, I immediately thought of the family,” said Matiwana.

The film was then submitted to the film festival in Spain.

Matiwana said the title of the film was inspired by the orphans' calls for help which went largely unanswered.

Matiwana, who was the director, producer, and writer of the documentary, was born and raised in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.

She has worked as an assistant director on the local soapie ‘Scandal’, and has also written and directed several documentaries and short films.

One of her films ‘See, Speak, and Hear no Evil’, which centred around the abuse of women, was screened at the Encounters Documentary Film Festival in 2013. She has also directed two short documentaries on maternal health for the health department.

The latest documentary also features Kgatlhiso Sephiri handling the sound, and Mapula Sibanda as the film's editor and camerawoman.

The winners would be announced in Madrid on June 16. - Sapa