15 South African Premieres Among Special 10th Edition of Tri Continental Film Festival Screening at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau
Festival’s Opening Night Film is Big Boys Gone Bananas
The Tri Continental Film Festival (TCFF) today launched its 10th program, announcing Fredrik Gertten’s critically acclaimed documentary Big Boys Gone Bananas will open the Festival on Thursday 6 September. The festival, the largest festival of human rights cinema in Africa, will take place from 7-23 September in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Soweto at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau.
Festival-goers will be treated to an exciting programming lineup of diverse human rights focused titles and genres from around the globe, including works from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Finland, Greenland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
South African audiences can expect to view remarkable pieces of documentary cinema by directors such as Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Paul Taylor, Pirjo Honkasalo, Jihan El-Tahri, Francois Verster, Micha X Peled, Jon Shenk, Santiago Zannou, Petr Lom, Delphine de Blic, Alison Klayman, Fredrik Gertten and Laura Gamse.
The festival will screen 42 films, 37 narratives and five shorts that demonstrate the breadth of global documentary films. Ten films make up a special “best of” section, hailing from past TCFF catalougues. A total of 32 titles have received awards on the international festival circuit, and five films in the African selection will have their South African premiere.
“The best of selection are the films that resonated with our audiences, films that shook the festival, not just because they are some of the best examples of the craft of documentary filmmaking, but because they show that when a filmmaker knows how to tell their story, the effect can stay with viewers long after the credits have rolled,” says, Rehad Desai, the Festival Director (title?). “With our main film section freedom of expression has emerged as a strong theme in the hundreds of films we chose from, highlighting the crucial role of the artist in social change at a time when our freedoms are increasingly being threatened.”
The freedom of expression selection includes the world premiere of Suffering Grasses, a brave new film that seeks to draw attention to the peaceful wishes of Syrian people.
“It was important that we close TCFF’s first decade highlighting projects that were attuned to the pulse of South African social issues,” said TCFF Director of Programming Anita Khanna. “We are eager to introduce our audiences to a group of films that provide a window into the world, as well as reworking genres and testing traditional modes of storytelling.”
The 10th annual TCFF, founded to broaden the audience for human rights documentary film and encourage a social justice society, will include two retrospectives – an anti-globalisation slate to mark the completion of Micha X Peled’s anti-globalisation trilogy and a focus on Palestine that includes Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s stunning film, 5 Broken Cameras and Roadmap to Apartheid by South African and Israeli director’s Ana Nogueira and Eron Davidson.
TCFF will take place at Johannesburg Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau Theatres from September 7th to September 16th, Soweto from September 7th to September 14th, Pretoria from September 14th to September 23rd and Cape Town from September 14th to September 18th.
The Film Guide and schedule is live on www.tcff.org.za
The complete list of films:
Freedom of Expression
Ai Weiwei – Never Sorry: Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist and most outspoken domestic critic. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its more compelling public figures.
Murundak – Song of Freedom: Music is a weapon and under repressive regimes, song is not just a medium of expression - it is a galvanising force. This film journeys into the heart of Aboriginal protest music following The Black Arm Band, a gathering of some of Australia’s finest Indigenous musicians as they take to the road with their songs of resistance and freedom.
Cointelpro 101: In 1971, an American leftist activist group broke into the offices of the FBI in Media, Pennsylvania. They discovered more than 1000 classified documents and amongst them proof of some of the most disturbing covert operations carried out by the FBI as part of the Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO. This is the story.
The Creators: Directed by Laura Gamse and Jacques de Villiers, this is the story of some of South Africa’s most accomplished artists who re-craft history and the impacts of apartheid in their own creative languages.
Big Boys Gone Bananas: What is a big corporation capable of doing in order to protect its brand? Filmmaker Fredrik Gertten finds out first hand. This is the true story about a Swedish filmmaker, and one of the world’s largest food corporations, dirty trick, lawsuits, manipulation and the price of free speech.
The Suffering Grasses: Directed by Iara Lee, this brave new films provides a look at Syria and the ongoing conflict where thousands have been left dead.
Door Of No Return: Santiago Zannou’s film is a journey from north to south and south to north, from the present to the past, from here to beyond. It’s about a son’s honest and moving testament of his father’s story.
The Problem, Testimony of the Saharawi People: Through forbidden testimonies and material, this film brings to the world stories from Western Sahara never before documented: of torture, rape, unjust imprisonment and disappearances at the hands of Moroccan authorities. This is the struggle of the Saharawi people, living in Africa’s last colony.
Back To The Square: Petr Lom looks at Tahrir Square, Egypt, and how more than a year after the euphoria, the demonstrators’ goals have not even come close to being reached.
Finding Mercy: Filmmaker Robyn Paterson’s personal journey to find her friend Mercy in Zimbabwe, after their Matabele people were massacred by Mugabe’s special forces.
Meanwhile in Mamelodi: Set against the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the film spends time with the Mtswensis, a father headed household living in the poorest part of Mamelodi Township. Directed by Benjamin Kahlmeyer.
Little Heaven: The heart felt story of an Ethiopian orphan, Lydia, and her journey after discovering at the age of 13 that she is HIV positive.
Healers: Directed by Thomas Barry, this is a look at how Dr Andrew Ross and matron Elda Nsimbini try to turn a crisis into something positive with an inspiring mentorship programme at their hospital in rural KZN.
Gangster Project: A young white filmmaker who self-consciously epitomises the Capetonian bourgeoisie leaves the comfort of the suburbs in search of ‘real’ gangsters, finding himself in the heart of a world of fast-paced criminality where he has to work hard to keep his head above water. Directed by Teboho Edkins.
Bigger than Life: Prior to the World Cup in South Africa, many planned to participate in the celebratory atmosphere of the soccer extravaganza. Follow one unusual puppetry troupe that touched hearts across the Rainbow Nation.
Call Me Kuchu: This film allows viewers into the lives of a set of LGBTI activists in Uganda as they take Rolling Stone to court for inciting hatred. Directed by Malika Zouhali-Worral and Katherine Fairfax.
Man on Ground: Directed by Akin Omotoso, this is an undercover look at xenophobia in South Africa through the story of a successful London broker who visits Johannesburg only to find that his brother has disappeared.
Ten of the Best
Bastardy: Bastardy is a delicately drawn revealing portrait of a man with many faces. Aborigine actor Jack Charles is one of Australia’s high regarded actors – a pioneer of the country’s first Black Theatre Company. He is also homeless and addicted to heroin.
Darwins: Nightmare: A booming multinational industry of fish and weapons, this film uncovers what ungodly globalised alliances can do. Directed by Hubert Sauper.
Riot On!: With cynical wit, biting sarcasm and an in-your-face investigative style, Kim Finn’s film follows the young executives of Finnish mobile entertainment company, RIOT-E, in their two-year attempt to become insanely rich.
We Are Together: Follows the heart warming story of 12-year-old S’lindile at an AIDS orphanage in South Africa, where the children come together to sing in an unforgettable way. Directed by Paul Taylor.
Cuba, An African Odyssey: For more than twenty years, during a time when most African countries were still under the yoke of colonialism, Cuban revolutionaries were actively involved in liberation wars across Africa. Director Jihan El-Tahri chronicles the crucial role that Cuba played in securing the independence of nations throughout Africa.
3 Rooms of Melancholia: Set against the devastating second Chechen War, this is poetic film that documents the impact of this on-going conflict on the children of Russia and Chechnya. Directed by Pirjo Honkasalo.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Inside the Coup: Directed by Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’Brian, this is a documentary about the April 2002 Venezuelan coup attempt which briefly deposed Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez shot by an Irish television crew that found themselves in the centre of it.
The Mothers’ House: Francois Verster’s film is a record of four years in the life of Miché, a charming, precocious yet troubled teenage girl growing into womanhood in post-Apartheid South Africa.
Bus 174: Sometime during the afternoon of June 12, Sandro di Nascimento, a disenfranchised young man who had survived a harsh and brutal childhood in the favelas of Rio boarded a bus on route 174 and took its passengers hostage to draw attention to the struggles of his people.
Born into Struggle: Son of well-known South African political activist Barney Desai, director Rehad Desai interweaves many storylines into a personal investigation of his performance as a father and the repercussions on all family members who lived their lives in exile.
Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town: Directed by Micha X. Peled, this one-hour documentary follows the conflict that polarises a small town when Wal-Mart wants to build a mega-store there.
China Blue: The film takes audiences inside a blue-jeans factory in China, and is a deep-access account of what both China and international retail companies don’t want us to see – how the clothes we buy are actually made. Directed by Micha X. Peled.
Bitter Seeds: The third film in the trilogy by Micha X. Peled, this is the story of India and its farmers facing a crises unprecedented in human history. Every 30 minutes a farmer in India kills himself in despair. Bitter Seeds raises questions about the human cost of genetically-modified agriculture and the future of how we grow things.
Palestine Special Focus
5 Broken Cameras: Directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, this personal story from Palestine takes an international tragedy and reframes it in light of its impact on the life of one family.
Roadmap to Apartheid: Ana Nogueira is a white South African and Eron Davidson a Jewish Israeli. Drawing on their first-hand knowledge of the issues, the producers take a close look at the apartheid comparison often used to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Island President: A stunning portrayal of the first year in office of President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldives, a dedicated man confronting the impending submersion of his country beneath the ocean’s surface. Directed by Jon Shenk.
Weather Gods: Global temperatures are rising and nowhere is this being more intensely felt than on the African continent. This hard-hitting documentary brings the true face of the problem to light through the eyes of rural communities in Mali, Kenya and South Africa.
Silent Snow: A disturbing preview of the consequences of structural pollution of the environmental system worldwide, following a young Greenlandic woman around the world to find the local causes of contamination that are quietly poisoning her people.
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