All the fest documentaries

By Time of article published Jul 9, 2003

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The 2003 Encounters International Documentary Film Festival will run at Ster-Kinekor's Cinema Nouveau complex at the Waterfront from July 21 to August 3.

Guest directors at the festival will be Archie Baron (UK), Paul de Bont (Netherlands), Sam Pollard (US), Peter Wintonick (Canada) and Viacheslav Telnov (Russia). There will be free screenings of The Search for Sandra Laing and 4 Little Girls.

Tickets are R20 and bookings can be made at the cinema box office one hour before screening time. Programmes and screening timetables are available at Cinema Nouveau at the Waterfont and in Cavendish Square and at selected stores and restaurants.

The festival is a flagship project of the European Union's Cultural Initiative Fund and receives support from the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the British Council. Details: tel 021 426 0405.

The films in the festival are:

South African World Premiere

  • Between Joyce and Remembrance (SA 2003 video 48 mins), Dir: Mark Kaplan. This film confronts the complexity of the TRC amnesty hearings following the lives of Joyce and Sikhumbuzo Mtimkulu, mother and son of slain activist Siphiwo Mtimkulu.

    World Premiere

  • Casa del Musica (SA 2003 video 52 mins), Dir: Johnathan de Vries. Cape Town and Havana are melting-pot ports where sailors, soldiers, traders and slaves have created a mix of religions and cultures. Historian and musician Vincent Kolbe and jazz legend Robbie Jansen travel from the Cape to Cuba to explore the island's rich musical heritage.

  • Cosmic Africa (SA 2002 35 mm, 72 mins), Dirs: Craig & Damon Foster. Astronomer Thebe Medupe embarks on a quest to reunite his science with the origins of celestial knowledge. His journey takes him to the ancestral lands of the Ju/'hoansi in Namibia, whose ancient creation myths link terrestrial mysteries with the movements of the stars, and deep into the Sahara desert, where a cosmic clock attests to the African origins of astronomy.

  • Doing It (SA 2003 video 52 mins), Dir: Kali van der Merwe. Antoinette, Linda, Zandi and Shameena, who grew up in four radically different worlds, explore their sexuality.

  • Ikon SA Showcase: comprising 6 titles: NY1, Grumpies, Gemaakte Hare, Deafening Echoes, Hidden

  • NY1 (SA 2003 video 3 mins), Dir: Ntombi Mzamane. Touting taxis and flashy cars, herds of cattle and donkey carts, old men on canes, young hipsters flaunting their threads. NY1 is where the heat is on. Residents share their thoughts on Guguletu's busiest street, Native Yard 1, on the eve of its name change.

  • Grumpies (SA 2003 video 11 mins), Dir: John Fredericks. Grumpies is the ex-Rockets singer who toured with Jonathan Butler in the 70s, fell ill, then disappeared into oblivion. This is the story of a man who gets the chance to live his dream again.

  • Zion Youth Crew (SA 2003 video 10 mins), Dir: Vaughan Giose. A record of the spiritual, musical and personal journey of two ragga-muffin singers. Yellow studies journalism, Dan photography. They hang together or with their Rasta brethren while pumping out angry sounds.

  • Gemaakte Hare (SA 2003 video 7 mins), Dir: Brenda Davis. For Lameez Peters, growing up half Muslim and half Christian meant having to conform to prescriptive religious norms of appearance and behaviour. Her commitment to her dreadlocks becomes a warrior's weapon in a society obsessed with pigeonholing racial and cultural identity.

  • Deafening Echoes (SA 2003 video 18 mins), Dir: Eugene Paramoer. Anton Franch's last stand was in the struggle against apartheid. On November 17 1989, armed with grenades and an AK47, he kept the security forces besieging his house at bay for hours before blowing himself up.

  • Hidden (Sweden 2002 35 mm 8 minutes animated), Dirs: David Aronowitsch, Hanna Heilborn and Mats Johansson. Giancarlo, 12, fled the streets of his homeland Peru and has been living in Sweden for two years without a residence permit. He describes what it's like to live in hiding.

  • In the Shadow of Kopadilalelo (SA 2002 video 43 mins), Dir: Clifford Bestall. Legend has it when the shadow of the evening star kopadilalelo approaches, it signals the death of nature and destruction of all human cultures. The film explores how innovative ways have been found to harmonise the demands of modern life with a respect for the earth.

  • A Lion's Trail (SA 2002 video 55 mins), Dir: Francois Verster. The story of a tune composed by Zulu herdboy Solomon Linda which became one of the most recorded songs in history, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, but left its originator penniless after a US songwriter stole the rights.

  • Little Miss Tiny (World Premiere) Dirs: Emily McKay, Tamsyn Reynolds & Tamara Rothbart. The pain, the glory, the tears: it's all there at Miss Junior SA 2001 D or Miss Barbie, Miss Island Princess and Little Miss Summer Magic. The film takes viewers behind the scenes at one such contest at Sun City.

  • Property of the State: Gay Men in the Apartheid Military (SA 2003 Video 52 mins), Dir: Gerald Kraak. Boys in the army, gay or straight, is a sensitive subject. Kraak's film explores the complex space that was the South African military for gay men, at once erotic and hostile.

  • Sharp Sharp! (SA 2003 video 26 mins), Dir: Aryan Kaganof. An analysis in film of a musical genre which serves as a compendium of world dance music and a South African contribution to global dance culture.

  • The Tap (SA 2002 video 51 mins), Dir: Toni Strasburg. In Sicambeni village, near Port St Johns, villagers have to walk miles to a contaminated water source, and disease is rife. Then a bakkie with pipes arrives, and their lives are changed forever.


  • 4 Little Girls (US 1997 video 102 mins), Dir: Spike Lee; Producer editor: Sam Pollard. On 15 September 1963 a bomb was tossed into an Alabama church, killing four girls. This is Lee's homage to the children and surviving family and friends.

  • And Along Came a Spider (Iran 2002 video 52 mins), Dir: Maziar Bahari. Saeed Hanaei murdered 16 prostitutes in the belief he was ridding Iran of "corrupt elements". The press dubbed them "spider killings" because of Hanaei's habit of luring his victims to his home.

  • Autopsy of an Erotic Film (Canada 2000 video 52 mins), Dir: Sylvie Peltier. A woman knocks out a script for an erotic B movie and sells it to Tinseltown, only to see it flop. Six years later she decides to find out what went wrong.

  • Belovy (Russia 1992 video 58 mins), Dir: Victor Kossakovsky. Two siblings on a smallholding in post-glastnost Russia squander their days digging up potatoes and chopping wood. A look at the fierce longings and homicidal frustrations of people relegated to the dustbin of history.

  • Bodysong (UK 2002 35mm 83 minutes), Dir: Simon Pummell. A visual essay celebrating archetypal forces of creation and destruction in a display culled from a century of cinematic record from around the globe.

  • Buitenkans (The Netherlands 2001 video 100 mins), Dir: Lisanne Faddegon. For 33 South African nurses fresh from college, this was meant to be the chance of a lifetime: a two-year contract in the Netherlands, the chance to live in Europe, and employment guaranteed upon their return. For many, however, it all went horribly wrong.

  • Chavez: Inside the Coup (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised) (Ireland 2002 video 74 mins), Dirs: Kim Bartley & Donnacha O'Briain. Bartley and O'Briain went to Venezuela expecting to make an intimate profile of Hugo Chavez, the maverick president who's become a new icon of the left. They get more than they bargained for.

  • Comandante (Spain/US 2002 35mm 96 mins), Dir: Oliver Stone. This film traces the trajectory of the Cuban revolution and the nation it shaped.

  • Death by Myth (US/Namibia 2002 video 84 minutes), Dir: John Marshall. An exposé of how aid and wildlife agencies have bought, and exploited, the myth of the Kalahari san as happy children of nature, content to collect berries and track game.

  • Detained (Israel 2001 video 73 minutes), Dir: Anat Evan & Ada Ushpiz. An intimate look at the lives of three widows who live in Hebron, in a building which straddles two worlds: the front controlled by Israel, the back by the Palestinian Authority.

  • The Education of Gore Vidal (US 2002 video 90 mins) Dir: Deborah Dickson. Few authors have been as steeped in the culture of America's ruling elite as Gore Vidal. His grandfather was a senator, his father Roosevelt's aviation secretary and he himself ran for Congress in 1960. This lends unique authority to his elegant disgust with what he calls "a sanctimonious society of hustlers", or more recently, "the largest rogue state of all".

  • From Dachau with Love (Germany 2003 video 77 mins), Dir: Bernd Fischer. Fischer's introduction to his home town Dachau explores the conflicting emotions Nazi atrocities still evoke among Germans.

  • Grey Gardens (US 1976 35mm 94 mins), Dirs: Albert & David Maysles. This film catalogues in excruciating detail the world inhabited by Edie and her mother, Jacqueline Onassis's aunt Edith Bouvier Beale.

  • Hephzibah (Australia 1998 video 75 mins), Dir: Curtis Levy, The conflicting passions of Hephzibah Menuhin's life are laid bare in this insightful portrayal of an unacknowledged musical genius.

  • I was the King of Porn (Germany 2002 video 59 mins), Dir: Thorsten Schötte. Lasse Braun was once Europe's most famous pornographer. When he set up a commune with his actors in The Netherlands he became a self-styled sex guru, touting porn as a weapon in the fight for personal and political freedom.

  • In My Father's House (The Netherlands 1997 video 55 mins), Dir: Fatima Jebli Quazzani. In Moroccan society, youth, virginity and submission are highly prized commodities. This is the story of Quazzani's stormy relationship with her father, her mother's suicide, her grandparents' unhappy union, and the joyful preparations for a traditional Moroccan wedding.

  • Journeys with George (US 2002 video 76 mins), Dir: Alexandra Pelosi. When NBC news assigned Alexandra Pelosi to cover Texas governor George W Bush's presidential campaign, she decided to take her video camera along. She is led from one photo opportunity to another to feed the media's insatiable appetite for US election trivia.

  • The Last Just Man (Canada 2001 video 70 minutes), Dir: Steven Silver. The massacre of 800 000 Rwandans in 100 days was the worst instance of genocide since World War 2.

    Yet the world stood by and did nothing. This shameful episode is narrated through the eyes of Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, head of a UN mission.

  • Motherland: a Genetic Journey (UK 2003 video 89 mins), Dir: Archie Baron. Three black Britons taking part in a genetic study into the ancestry of the UK's African Caribbean community embark on an epic journey to the Motherland.

  • My Body (Norway 2002 video 26 mins), Dir: Margreth Olin. An interactive adventure of awareness that reveals how a society, obsessed with the physical attributes of women, breeds fears and anxieties that can cause crippling ailments.

  • My Flesh and Blood (US 2003 video 84 mins), Dir: Jonathan Karsh. Raising one disabled child is too onerous for many parents, which must make Susan Tom something of a Mother Teresa. This single mum cares for nine special-needs children.

  • My One Legged Dream Lover (Australia 1998 video 52 mins), Dirs: Penny Fowler-Smith & Christine Olsen. Kath Duncan was born with one arm and one leg. While trawling the internet she stumbles on a curious breed - people, mostly men, who are turned on by stumps.

  • My Terrorist (Israel 2002 video 58 mins), Dir: Yulie Cohen Gerstel. Gerstel grew up in Ariel Sharon's neighbourhood and served as an Israeli army officer. Two decades later she is a disillusioned patriot who blames her government for fuelling Palestinian hatred.

  • Naked and Wind (Sweden/ Iran 2002 video 35 mins) Dir: Nima Sarvestani. A glimpse of Iranian heroin addicts living in a cemetery.

  • News From a Personal War (Brazil 1999 video 57 mins), Dir: Katia Lund. An account of the war between Brazil's drug runners and police which exposes the explosive forces underlying this deeply divided society.

  • Our Friend Saddam (France 2003 video 52 mins), Dir: Antonia Rados. An investigation into the role of Western democracies in arming Iraq's Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction.

  • Sacrificio: Who Betrayed Che Guevara? (Sweden 2002 video 58 mins), Dirs: Erik Gandini & Tarik Saleh. In 1967 Che Guevara was shot dead. History books have held his former lieutenant, Ciro Bustos, responsible. Now, Bustos tells his story.

  • The Search for Sandra Laing (UK 1977 video 52 mins), Dir: Antony Thomas. Thomas made films for the apartheid government's department of information before emigrating to the UK. He had to sneak back to make this film, which was banned on release. It tells the tale of Sandra Laing, who was born black to white Afrikaner parents.

  • Seeing is Believing (Canada 2002 video 59 mins), Dirs: Peter Wintonick & Katerina Cizek. The story of how handicams have evolved into political weapons.

  • Shanda (Zimbabwe 2002 video 54 minutes), Dir: Nathan Dodzo. Oliver Mtukudzi's musical career comes to life in this joyous celebration of the power of song to transform people's lives.

  • Surplus (Sweden 2002 video 52 minutes), Dir: Erik Gandini. A visual spectacle that offers an intelligent analysis of the ravages of consumerism and the people violently opposed to it.

  • Vacations in November (Russia 2002 35mm 20 mins), Dir: Pavel Medvedev. Earning a pittance for dangerous work, the miners of Inta, Russia, supplement their income by killing and skinning reindeer.

  • Women Under the Royal Thumb (The Netherlands 2002 video 50 minutes), Dir: Remy Vlek. An eye-opening account of the women of Swaziland struggling for their rights under the crushing burden of tradition.

  • Zulu Love Affairs (France 2002 video 52 mins), Dir: Emmanuelle Bidou. A revealing glimpse into the milieu inhabited by migrant labourer's wives in the hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

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