Address Unknown follows the life of a postman in District Six during forced removals. Picture: Lindsey Appolis
Address Unknown follows the life of a postman in District Six during forced removals. Picture: Lindsey Appolis

Address Unknown wins Safta award for Best Short Film

By Keshia Africa Time of article published May 23, 2021

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Address Unknown, inspired by the life of a retired postman and District Six resident, won a South African Film and Television Award (Safta) for Best Short Film on Friday night.

Co-produced by Dominique Jossie and Anton Fisher, the short fiction film received the highest form of recognition that a film can get in South Africa.

The 15th Safta event kicked off festivities announcing the winners for their Craft Awards. The awards were held on YouTube.

Scriptwriter Anton Fisher said that he was anxiously awaiting the news in his dining room with his wife.

“Once it had been announced that we won, we got so excited that we jumped up and hugged each other,” he said.

Director Nadine Cloete said winning this award as a filmmaker was very surreal for her as she comes from a documentary background.

She added: “What’s so special about this award is that everyone who worked on the film can claim it. It’s a win for everyone who participated in whatever way.”

Cloete and Fisher first met when she interviewed him for the Ashley Kriel documentary, Action Kommandant. Fisher said when he had finished writing the script for Address Unknown, he knew that he wanted to work with her on the film.

Nadine Cloete and Anton Fisher enjoyed getting to work on stories of human interest together. Picture: Lindsey Appolis

The short fiction film follows the life of a postman whose job and personal life is disrupted by the forced removals in District Six. A tightly-knit community was disrupted by the apartheid government and he lost touch with one of his closest friends. He then goes on a journey in search of his friend and hoping for a reunion.

Fisher was inspired by the life of a retired postman and District Six resident Zain Young.

“Zain’s story was very central to the development of this script. His experience of what happened at the time gave me fresh insight into the forced removals of District Six,” he added.

Fisher shared Young’s account of delivering letters just to find houses being bulldozed.

He added: “In the short film the letters had to be returned to the post office and they were marked ’address unknown’. This is where the title of the film came from.”

Cloete hopes that this creative body of work can inspire many.

“We have to continue telling our stories to the world as there is a lot to say. I hope that this win can inspire filmmakers of colour and that it will make people realise that our stories matter,” Cloete said.

Fisher and Cloete are both passionate about sharing authentic stories about the people of District Six.

“This win has shown me how important it is that we do not forget the experiences of people. As people, we have a lot of healing to do, but also as a country,” Cloete said.

“The significance of the story lies in that there are so many stories to be told about our past. We can’t expect our stories to be shown in Hollywood. This story shows historically the pain and trauma that people have suffered. It is important that we help keep District Six alive,” Fisher added.

Fisher expressed immense gratitude to the District Six Museum for being a source of reference and encouragement in creating this film.

“We would not have been able to win this award or create this film without their support and approval. District Six will never die. Their pain is still our pain. Their trauma is still our trauma,” Fisher said.

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