Fest turns Shnity into playground

By Theresa Smith Time of article published Oct 3, 2011

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The Shnit International Short Film Festival returns to Cape Town with even more films this year.

Screening 75 movies in competition plus hundreds more, the fest is Europe’s fastest growing short film festival and was originally hosted in Berne, Switzerland, and Cologne, Germany.

It expanded to Cape Town last year and the director of the local part of the festival, Sean Drummond, says it also now includes Singapore; Vienna, Austria, and San Jose in Costa Rica.

“Shnit’s great. They get 4 500 submissions to Shnit headquarters in Berne and put together a pro-gramme of 300 films. The films we’re seeing are of super-high quality and we’re spoilt for choice,” said Drummond.

The festival runs from Wednesday to Sunday at venues around Cape Town.

While the 75 films in the Open category are the best of what the world has to offer, we also get the chance to see what South African filmmakers have been doing.

“Each host country has their own local showcase. We’re showing 25 South African films in total, 16 out of competition and nine in the Made in South Africa category,” explained Drummond.

In addition to the Mzansi category we’ve also got a Kaapse Bobotie slot for local fare. There’ll be animated films, a section on Palestine and some beautiful black- and-white moments.

The jury is watching at the moment and by the time the festival starts the winners would have been selected. Moonyeen Lee, Akin Omotoso and Simon Hansen make up the local jury, while Oliver Hermanus represents South Africa on the international jury.

All jury members will be hosting Auteur Sessions at the rooftop bar of the Grand Daddy Hotel on Long Street, so you can go along to listen to Omotoso talk about taking his latest film to the Toronto Film Festival, or maybe talk to Hansen and others about funding and making South African films for a global market.

Three local filmmakers have been tasked with creating a short film – titled Cape of Storms – over three days and it will be screened on Sunday evening.

“Three young teams of filmmakers will take different directions, but they’ve got three days over the course of the festival to finish a film. On the closing night we’ll screen the three films and the audience will choose a winner, but it’s a friendly challenge.”

The three teams will be led by Benitha Vlok (from a documentary film background); Teba Shumba and Bernard Sterk, who often work together on socially conscious films; and up-and-coming avant-garde creative team Black Milk Collective.

“Between the three of them we ought to get three very interesting films,” said Drummond.

The festival doesn’t take itself too seriously – though the films are of the highest quality there’s nothing overly intellectual or stuffy about how they are presented and and each venue is called a play-ground. So think candy floss, bright lights and celebration.

“Everything about it is play. We’ll be at Rocking the Daisies and it’s going be fun. The tent is bright pink,” said Drummond.

Films will be screened at the Labia on Orange and more adventurous cinephiles will want to head to 95 on Hout (on Hout Street) for the more risque element.

“It’s the late night controversial stuff in an industrial setting. It’ll be fun, and maybe a bit dirty.

“There’ll be great djs on Friday and Saturday and if you’re in the city, Shnit’s pretty much the only place to be.

“Also, the after party after the opening is at a secret venue and the only way to find out where it will be is to follow the white rabbit on facebook,” said Drummond.

l For schedules and more info: www.shnit.org, follow links to Cape Town, film and events.

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