The 2014 edition of Encounters: South African International Documentary Festival celebrates its sweet sixteen beginning tomorrow, Thursday, June 5, screening in Cape Town and Johannesburg through Sunday, June 15. Its line-up of more than 30 feature docs includes a selection of well-traveled recent international films as well as a large number of recent local and greater African productions, as noted below:
Among the South African projects addressing current affairs are: Rehad Desai’s MINERS SHOT DOWN (pictured), an exposé of a police-led massacre of striking miners in 2012; Dante Greeff and Richard Finn Gregory’s CRUMBS – TOPPLING THE BREAD CARTEL, about the continued impact of a corporate price-fixing scandal on small businessmen; and Jolynn Minnaar’s UNEARTHED, a South African GASLAND, as the director investigates the truth behind the fracking that threatens her community.
Local work taking a look back at South Africa’s past includes: Meg Rickards and Bert Haitsma’s 1994 – THE BLOODY MIRACLE, a look back at the perilous early days of South Africa’s democracy; Marion Edmunds’ THE VULA CONNECTION, revealing how a London-based student orchestrated clandestine communication with an imprisoned Mandela; Annalet Steenkamp’s I, AFRIKANER (pictured), an intergenerational portrait of the director’s family as their country continues to change around them; Angus Gibson’s 28UP, a continuation of the South African UP series, which began before the end of apartheid; Liz Fish’s BEHIND THE LENS, focused on photojournalists who documented the democracy movement of the 1980s at personal risk; and Abby Ginzberg’s SOFT VENGEANCE: ALBIE SACHS AND THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA, a US co-production revealing the story of a key figure in the democracy struggle, a target of South African Military Intelligence.
International selections focused on the continent include: Dieudo Hamadi’s NATIONAL DIPLOMA, following a group of Congolese students preparing for critical school exams; Grace Kinya and Je’se Salem Ng’ang’a’s JUMPING INTO LIFE, a portrait of a Nairobi performing arts school for street children; Mário Patrocínio’s I LOVE KUDURO, about the popular Angolan music genre; and Sam Benstead’s COACH ZORAN AND HIS AFRICAN TIGERS (pictured), on South Sudan’s quest to develop its own national soccer team.