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‘No Simple Way Home’ wins big at Encounters Festival

A scene from ‘No Simple Way Home’. Picture: Supplied

A scene from ‘No Simple Way Home’. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 6, 2022

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Leading the pack of documentaries that was featured at the 2022 Encounters South African International Documentary Festival Awards was “No Simple Way Home”, which landed the ultimate awards for the night.

The documentary, which tells the story of director Akuol de Mabior’s return to South Sudan, to follow her mother’s journey into politics, scooped the Best South African/African Documentary award, as well as the Adiaha Award.

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Rumbi Katedza’s “Transactions” was place second.

The Encounters jury, which included Nyasha Kadandara, Karin Slater and Zanele Mthembu, said they were moved and inspired by the exquisite interrogation of personhood, family, responsibility, and national identity.

“Akuol de Mabior’s clarity of vision is striking, and her film deftly synthesises a wide range of themes that speak to what it means to come from a place, and yet be outside of that place. An assured and confident debut, ‘No Simple Way Home’ blends the personal and the political in profound ways that rise above cliché and announces the arrival of a major filmmaking talent,” said the jury.

Best International Documentary went to “Navalny”, by director Daniel Roher, and following behind was “Summer Of Soul”, which told the story about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.

“The winner of the award for Best International Documentary goes to a deeply engaging film, with a globally relevant narrative. Made with remarkable access to its supremely charismatic subject, ‘Navalny’ is an extraordinary film that uses the full arsenal of documentary filmmaking to powerful effect,” said the judges.

The festival started on June 23 until July 3, and screened 26 feature-length documentaries in Cape Town and Johannesburg. It was the first in-person festival since the pandemic.

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“We screened 26 feature-length documentary films, at five venues in Cape Town and Johannesburg – with excellent overall attendance, and many sold out houses,” said Mandisa Zitha, festival director.

“We are proud to showcase all these films that focus on and draw attention to a variety of important issues and topics, and we congratulate the filmmakers on their exceptional work,” said Zitha.

See the full list of winners below:

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Best South African Documentary

Winner: “No Simple Way Home” - Akuol De Mabior

Runner-up: “Transactions” - Rumbi Katedza

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Special mention: “One Take Grace” - Lindiwe Matshikiza

Best International Documentary

Winner: “Navalny” - Daniel Roher

Runner-up: Summer Of Soul - Questlove

Special mention: "Young Plato“ - Neasa Ni Chianáin, Declan McGrath

Adiaha Award

Winner: “No Simple Way Home” - Akuol De Mabior

Runner-up: “Lobola, A Bride’s True Price? - Sihle Hlope

Special mention: “One Take Grace” - Lindiwe Matshikiza

Free Film School Award

Winner: An Nisaa (Women) - Thaakirah Behardien

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