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1st Sithengi Film Festival 9-14 November 2002 Cape Town: Programme & highlights

The 1st Sithengi Film Festival (featuring the Encounters at Sithengi) is set to take Cape Town on a grand tour of World Cinema with fabulous features and shorts, dazzling documentaries and amazing South African animation.

On offer are thrillers, comedy, drama, intrigue, fact and fiction galore!

Highlights include:

  • 15 visiting filmmakers from home and abroad who will introduce their work;
  • 49 titles from around the globe;
  • Four African premières: A Drink in the Passage (Dir: Zola Maseko); Waiting for Valdez (Dir: Dumisani Phakathi); Promised Land (Dir: Jason Xenopoulos); Ubuntu’s Wounds (Dir: Sechaba Morojele).

  • Three documentary World premières: Death by Myth (Dir: John Marshall); The Day I’ll Never Forget (Dir: Kim Longinotto); The Man Who Knows Too Much (Dir: Liza Key).

 Booking information

 VISITING Directors / Producers / Presenters







Lerago la moeng le beya ke mong kae. (Put your buttocks down and be comfortable; feel at home, welcome.) Sepedi Proverb. 

2002 sees Sithengi’s 1st Film Festival on Diaspora and southern hemisphere films with an emphasis on imagery from our wonderful African continent. We are honoured and grateful to the filmmakers giving us a feast for the eyes. The films portray a cinematically beautiful and honest delivery of stories that are fresh, current, and show an appealing approach in storytelling that represent images from our part of the world. It is important for Sithengi to showcase these images and a great pleasure to be able to share them with you. We hope the griot in all of us will be inspired to tell more of our stories. Let our parting be the beginning of a journey that will see us meeting again at the Sithengi (market place) Film Festival, same place, same time, next year. Enjoy the screenings! 


Letebele Masemola-Jones


Booking Information

Saturday 9th – Thursday 14th November 2002

All shows R20. No discounts apply.

Screening Venues:

Cinema Nouveau screened by Nedbank, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Tel: +27 (21) 425 8223

Computicket telephone bookings for Cinema Nouveau screened by Nedbank only: +27 (11) 340 8000 or +27 83 915 8000

Ster-Kinekor Call Centre: 0860 300 222

Labia Cinema

68 Orange St., Cape Town Te: +27 (21) 424 5927

Bookings through the Labia box office only.

Closing Night Screening Thursday 14th November 8pm: Rabbit-Proof Fence at Cinema Starz GrandWest, Goodwood Tel: +27 (21) 534 0250

Bookings through the Cinema

Sithengi Film Festival Office

+27 (21) 448 0608
+27 (21) 465 1927


VISITING Directors / Producers / Presenters

We welcome the following who will introduce screenings of their films.


Jan-Hendrik Beetge completed a year studying film at Pretoria Technikon and spent four years at AFDA. He wrote the screenplay and directed the short film, Triomfeer. It has since won many awards: Best Director; Best Screen Play; Best Film; Best Producer; the M-Net Student of the Year Award; Best Student Film at the IBDA'A Awards in Dubai . His first commercials, the appealing Isuzu ads in which numerous characters bemoan the arrival of that 'blerrie' new bakkie, were followed by a commercial for BSA. He will commence shooting for Mazda this month in Johannesburg. 

Death By Myth

Megan Choritz is an actor, director, and writer who has worked mainly in theatre. She runs an improvisation theatre company and an industrial theatre company. She cast and directed the English voice-overs for A Kalahari Family.

Pitchy Rommelaere is a musician, sound engineer, and composer. He has worked with John Marshall for almost 15 years on A Kalahari Family. Pitchy created and compiled almost all of the music for the project and recorded all the voice-overs.

!oma Tsamgao is the grandson of !oma who named John Marshall "Long Face". His involvement in A Kalahari Family began as a young boy when he was camera assistant. He also is a translator from the Ju/'oan language into English.

JEREMY DE KOCK / The Whale Induna

Jeremy de Kock graduated from the London International Film School. Since then he has explored various styles of filmmaking and has settled on reality-based documentaries with first person narrative. His vision is to inspire and entertain people by transporting them into an unfamiliar world. His next film is about an extraordinary man - a white sangoma -with unsurpassed healing ability. 

LIZA KEY / The Man Who Knows Too Much

Liza Key directed the Mail & Guardian Film Festival from 1987 - 1994. She founded the Mail & Guardian Short Film Competition, and Limits of Liberty Festival. In 1997, she formed Key Films and was associate producer on Songs From The Golden City for Channel 4 (UK). In 1999 she directed and produced A Question of Madness, a documentary about the life of Dimitri Tsafendas - the man who assassinated South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd. She is currently the director of SCRAWL - a laboratory for South African screenwriters held annually in Cape Town in association with the Sundance Institute. The Man Who Knows Too Much is funded by the Jan Vrijman Fund.


Eddie Edwards retired from his first profession as a physiotherapist in 1991. On the way home from his new job at an inner city nightclub, he came across a group of street-kids who had found the costumes from a school play. This became his first film, King for a Knight. He has since been videographer, stage manager, location scout and has directed short films and documentaries. Extracts from The Black won Silver at the Avanti (South Africa's National Television Awards) in the Best Documentary Category, as well as four craft awards. The Fight won a Silver award for documentary as well as four craft awards at the Avantis and five craft awards, and Gold at the Cape Town Stone awards. Eddie is developing his next project, The Birth Zamelekhaya, about a German national who is undergoing training to become a traditional healer (sangoma).

DESIRÉE MARKGRAAF / Amandla! A Revolution In Four Part Harmony

Desirée Markgraaf is one of South Africa's premier producers with over 20 years experience in TV and feature film production. She is the Managing Director of Bomb, an established South African production company that has garnered acclaim throughout the world for their projects - including two Sundance awards; A Silver Lion, and an Academy nomination. Desirée has extensive television experience including co-productions with European and American partners.

ZOLA MASEKO / Children of the Revolution / A Drink in the Passage

With several international and local awards to his credit, Zola Maseko is currently a commercial director with Freshwater films. His film credits include The Foreigner, and a one-hour documentary The Life and Times of Sara Baartman. His five-minute pilot for Sophiatown Stories won the Millennium Award at Sithengi 1999 and screened on CNN during their millennium special. He recently directed an eleven part series for SABC 2 -- a rough guide to the language groups of South Africa. Zola has completed a full-length feature film script, Mr. Drum, based on the life of Henry Nxumalo, one of South Africa's greatest, yet least celebrated Black journalists. Zola has a degree in documentary film production from the National Film School, U.K.

SECHABA MOROJELE / Ubuntu's Wounds

Sechaba Morojele lived and grew up in Ethiopia, Italy, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa, and England where he earned a BSc degree in Statistics from the University of Manchester. He worked for four years as a Statistician before a career in the film industry. Sechaba worked consistently as an actor and screenwriter in South Africa before he enrolled at the American Film Institute for a MFA in film directing. His script for Ubuntu's Wounds was a quarter finalist in the New Century Writer's competition and was awarded the $10,000 Martin Ritt award that went towards the production of the film. Ubuntu's Wounds later won Best Short at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, and was a finalist in the HBO short film competition at the American Black Film Festival. HBO acquiring the rights to distribute Ubuntu's Wounds. Ubuntu's Wounds has received critical acclaim in numerous festivals around the world including Cannes and The Toronto International Film Festival. Sechaba is currently working on two feature scripts and is in post-production on a PSA about depression. He is married with one child and they are expecting another this December.

DUMISANI PHAKATHI / Waiting For Valdez

Dumisani Emmanuel Phakathi was born in Soweto in 1975 and educated at Phafogang High School in Rockville. His first job at the paper Beeld was as an office messenger. He approached then editor, Tim Du Plessis, for a chance to write for the paper. Later he moved on to television, then theatre and back to television. He has several film and TV programmes in a broad range of genres including documentary, magazine, health / education. His work has received awards including the Mannie van Rensburg Excellence Avanti; for theatre at Grahamstown Arts Festival - Best Student Play (Bunju); and his films have been awarded citations at the Montreal Film Festival, Montecasini Film Festival, SA London Film Festival, and Fespaco. 

XOLISWA SITHOLE / Shouting Silent

Xoliswa Sithole, producer, holds a BA English Honours from the University of Zimbabwe and has taught English. She acted in Cry Freedom, Mandela, and A Dry White Season. Xoliswa has produced several documentaries for TV in South Africa and for CNN. In March 2002 Shouting Silent won the Grand Jury prize for Best Documentary at the Washington DC Film Festival. Currently she is executive producing The First South African, a feature film written by re-known South African playwright Fatima Dike; and a documentary about the effects of poverty on disabled black women. 

VICKUS STRIJDOM / Angels 'n Boereoorloë

Vickus Strijdom completed an honours degree in film at AFDA in 2001 and is currently working as a freelance director. He has short films in progress for 2003 and says "We have the potential for great films, lets get out there and film them!"

MANSOUR SORA WADE / The Price of Forgiveness

Mansour Sora Wade was born in Senegal in 1952. He earned a Film Masters degree from the Université de Paris VIII, and has been busy in the cultural field. From 1977 - 1985 he was in charge of the audiovisual archive of the Senegalese Ministry of Culture. His first short-length film, Contraste, was in 1983. His next films were Fary l'ânesse (1989); Taal Peex (1991); and Picc Mi in 1992. In 1994, he dedicated a documentary to the singer Ismaël Lo, and has produced more than 20 institutional and reporting films. The Price of Forgiveness, adapted from the novel by Mbissane Ngom, is his first feature film and produced by his Senegalese company Kaany Productions. 


Jason Xenopoulos is a 32-year-old filmmaker and entrepreneur whose media ventures are in film, television, music and the internet. Jason's first feature film as writer-director, Promised Land, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. Promised Land has been selected as one of fifteen films worldwide to compete in main competition at the Tokyo International Film Festival; it will screen at the Rotterdam Film Festival next year. Promised Land will be released at Cinema Nouveau Theatres across South Africa beginning in January next year. Jason is currently in post-production on his second feature, provisionally titled The African Story, which is due for release in the first quarter of 2003.



The 1st Sithengi Film Festival is pleased to forge ties with renowned Film Festivals on the African continent. We are delighted to present a selection of their 2002 award winning films.

2nd Apollo Film Festival (Victoria West South Africa)


Apollo Award for Best Student Film: Triomfeer by J.H. Beetge.

Apollo Award for Best Documentary: Judgment Day by Kevin Harris.

Adjudicators' Special Mention Best Documentary: Children of the Revolution by Zola Maseko.

Adjudicators' Documentary Special Mention: The Whale Induna by Jeremy de Kock.

The 23rd Durban International Film Festival


Audience Prize for Best Film: Rabbit-Proof Fence by Phillip Noyce.

4th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival


Jameson Audience Award Best South African Documentary:

Amandla! A Revolution In Four Part Harmony by Lee Hirsch.

5th Zanzibar International Film Festival, The Festival Of The Dhow Countries


Golden Dhow Feature Film: The Price of Forgiveness by Mansour Sora Wade.




(Our Father)
Chad / France 2002 81min 35mm
Dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

This intimate and evocative tale recounts the plight of two brothers in search of their father in an unnamed city in Francophone Africa. One day they go to the local cinema and there, much to their surprise, they see him on screen. They steal the film reel in order to get closer to him. All this
becomes too much for their stressed-out mother and she packs them off to a remote Muslim school in the semi-arid hinterland. They don't adjust and make various attempts to flee. A simple tale, beautifully shot, Abouna is infused with subtle irony, sadness and simple delights while poignantly evoking the sense of abandonment experienced by the two brothers.

  • Tues 12 Nov / 8pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Thurs 14 Nov / 6pm Cinema Nouveau V&A

Atanarjuat - The Fast Runner

Canada 2001 172min 35mm
Dir: Zacharias Kunuk

Canada's first feature film written, produced, directed and acted by Inuit. Atanarjuat is the most intimate and detailed screen depiction to date of the daily travails and epic adventures of the Inuit as recorded in an oral tradition stretching back countless generations. The legend of Atanarjuat recounts the struggle between powerful natural and supernatural characters in a community living on a small island in the northern Arctic -- an ancient action thriller filled with power struggles, jealousy and bitter betrayal. But it also goes further. Like an Aeschylean tragedy, the action moves inexorably toward bloody retribution; instead it is justice, and an end to the vicious cycle of revenge, that prevails. A mesmerising and gripping reflection -- and imaginative record -- of an important shift in Inuit outlook.

  • Sat 9 Nov / 8.30pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Wed 13 / 8pm Cinema Nouveau V&A  

The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo)

Mexico / Spain 2001 106min 35mm
Dir: Guillermo del Toro

A superbly-crafted horror in the vein of The Others and Sixth Sense, set during the Spanish Civil War. Carlos arrives at a school that shelters orphans of the Republican militia, a place seething with sinister undertones -- including a ghostly sighing in the corridors rumoured to be a
boy who disappeared mysteriously on the night the fascists dropped an unexploded bomb in the courtyard. Against the backdrop of impending catastrophe for the Republicans, Carlos uncovers a diabolical secret that leads to a bone-chilling climax. Eerily atmospheric and replete with horrific images infused with lyrical beauty, The Devil's Backbone also serves as an allegorical fable exploring the loss of innocence and how demons within can drive men to cruel and desperate acts during times of war.

  • Sat 9 Nov / 8.30pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Tues 12 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A   

Francisca… what side are you on? (Francisca…de que lado estás?)

Germany / Mexico 2001 83min 35mm

Dir: Eva López-Sánchez

Disillusioned with life as a police informer in East Germany, Helmuth Busch flees to Mexico under a false identity. There he is immediately sucked into the political turbulence engulfing the country in the 1970s, when student leaders and unionists were being harassed and even assassinated for
agitating for change in a repressive and unjust system. Forced to live a double life, Helmuth is eventually ensnared in his own web of deceit and betrayal. A gripping political thriller, Francisca brings to life the personalities of the Mexican student movement and vividly evokes the pervading atmosphere of fear, paranoia, and suspicion as the secret police infiltrated their ranks. It is also as a complex portrait of a man buckling under the weight of impossible choices.

  • Sun 10 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Wed 13 Nov / 6pm Cinema Nouveau V&A  

Judgement Day

South Africa 2001 60min Video

Dir: Kevin Harris

South Africa past, Israel present: people brutalised by situations of conflict resulting in a loss of essential humanity and moral compass. Drawing parallels about the role white South African conscripts found themselves playing defending Apartheid, and the situation in which young Israeli soldiers find themselves today -- maintaining the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories -- Judgement Day is as much a film about the post-apartheid search for healing in South African society as it is a prophetic reflection on the steady loss of humanity on both sides of the political spectrum of those bathed in bloodied conflict in Israel / Palestine today. It’s a universal statement about war and the consequences of protracted violent conflict on each generation of youth.

  • Wed 13 Nov / 8.45pm Cinema Nouveau V&A

Killing Rabids (Sagkoshi)

Iran 2001 142min DVD
Dir: Bahram Beyzaie

A writer, who left her husband believing he had an affair with his secretary, returns to Iran after a year's absence, determined to make amends. Discovering he's bankrupt and going to prison for fraud, she sets out to secure his release by raising the capital to pay his debts. To do so she
must delve into the seedy underbelly of Tehran's business community, where corruption and double-dealing are rife. Forced to contend with every conceivable misogynist villain, she's brushed off, sexually harassed, insulted and assaulted -- but nothing can make her back down. A gripping thriller that offers intriguing insights into a little known part of modern Iranian society and deals with love, deception, and betrayal in human relationships with a startling twist.

  • Sat 9 Nov / 8.30pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Sun 10 Nov / 7.30pm Cinema Nouveau V&A

Life and Debt

USA 2001 86min 35mm

Dir: Stephanie Black

This award winning documentary takes a penetrating look at globalisation and some of its instruments from the perspective of Jamaican farmers. Rendering some of the most beautifully captured picturesque images, the subject matter of Life and Debt is ironic in it’s contrast to the information it gives on the effects on the "Third World" of the structural adjustment and monetary austerity programs of the IMF and World Bank. Spine chilling interviews juxtaposed with Jamaican scenery of land of sea, sand and sun, with Western tourists enjoying a land that is not easy for it’s own people to enjoy, is a prime example of economic globalisation on the world’s developing countries.

  • Sun 10 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A

Maangamizi - The Ancient One
Tanzania / USA 2001 112min 35mm
Dir: Martin Mhando & Ron Mulvihill

A rich, layered tale of healing and renewal centred on an African-American doctor and her patient at a Tanzanian mental hospital. Both women, though from different cultures and backgrounds, are united by the gruesome memories that haunt them. Brought together by a mysterious ancestor, they embark on a spiritual and emotional journey to release their burden of a terrible secret and recover their individual and collective selves, conveyed through dense symbolism, ritual, surreal dreamscapes shot on location in East Africa and savage images of death, destruction and pain. A powerful meditation on the forces which have shaped and deformed the human psyche, and the painful passage through compassion and forgiveness to reach an understanding of the spiritual dimension which underpins existence.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 6.15pm Cinema Nouveau V&A. Director Martin Mhando will introduce the screening.


The M-Net New Directions film initiative is the longest running developmental film project of its kind in Africa. Since its inception in 1994, emerging filmmakers from Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa have produced 29 short films and two feature-length films. New Directions is founded upon the principle of skills development through interaction with established African filmmakers. The New Directions slate of films is a veritable collection of a new wave of filmmakers in Africa. Through New Directions, M-Net is the most consistent producer of African films in Africa over the past decade.

A Drink in the Passage

South Africa 2002 29min 35mm
Dir: Zola Maseko

A screen adaptation of an Alan Paton story, this short gem tells of a celebrated black sculptor who recalls the curious events which led him to share a drink of brandy with a white family during the height of apartheid. A complex meditation on the personal dimensions of enforced segregation and the power of art to transcend the divide.

  • Wed 13 Nov / 6pm – By invitation only
  • Wed 13 Nov / 7.30pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Director Zola Maseko will introduce screenings of the film. 

Waiting for Valdez

South Africa 2002 27min Video
Dir: Dumisani Phakathi

Poignant tale of a young boy torn between his love for his dying grandmother and the desire to sneak out for nightly street recitals around a drum fire of movies his friends have seen at the local cinema. Set against the backdrop of forced removals in the 1970s, the film is also a visually eloquent evocation of a twisted society seen through a child's eyes.

  • Wed 13 Nov / 6pm – By invitation only
  • Wed 13 Nov / 7.30pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Director Dumisani Phakathi will introduce screenings of his film.


The Price of Forgiveness
Senegal / France 2001 90min Video
Dir: Mansour Sora Wade

This beautifully shot, allegorical fable rooted in the West African griot storytelling tradition recounts the mysterious events which befell a fishing village on the south coast of Senegal. An unearthly fog sets in motion a chain of events which lead a man driven insane by jealousy to murder his love rival and boyhood friend. Although he wins the object of his desire he is racked by guilt, shunned by his community and despised by his beautiful wife. The one thing he longs for now is forgiveness, something only the sea can bestow -- at a terrible price. A gripping, timeless story combining a swirl of symbolism and imagery with a rich blend of ancient and modern musical styles. A truly sumptuous cinematic feast.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 8pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Thurs 14 Nov / 8pm Labia, Orange St.

Director Mansour Sora Wade will introduce screenings of his film. 

Promised Land

South Africa 2002 102min 35mm
Dir: Jason Xenopoulos

Based on a novel by Karel Schoeman, this disturbing film centres around the failing fortunes of a platteland family and a distant relative who returns from England after his mother's death to settle her affairs. He soon discovers beneath the family's convivial hospitality lies deep and bitter resentment at their loss of status in post-apartheid South Africa. Excluded from a past that no longer yields to his archeological efforts, he is nevertheless forced to confront a nightmare world of hatred and intolerance. A savage, haunted vision -- suffused with eerily evocative imagery and
stylised characterisation reminiscent of David Lynch’s films -- of a people violently at odds with a world that has banished them from their Promised Land forever.

  • Sat 9 Nov / 6pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Thurs 14 Nov / 8pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Director Jason Xenopoulos will introduce screenings of his film. 

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Australia / UK 2002 100min 35mm
Dir: Phillip Noyce

Australia, 1931. Molly, Gracie and Daisy are taken by force from their families simply because they are of mixed parentage -- Aboriginals, and white labourers working on the rabbit fence that once bisected the country. And "half-castes", according to contemporary thinking, should be raised in white homes and have Aboriginal blood bred out of them for their own good. The film tells the true story of the girls' remarkable journey across the Outback along the fence, pursued by troops and trackers, to be united with their parents. Shot in long, moody takes, the film succeeds in conveying a triumphant emotional journey too, an inner refusal to submit to an absurd political orthodoxy that presumed to decide their identity and their fate.

  • Thurs 14 Nov / 8pm Cinema Starz GrandWest Goodwood / CLOSING NIGHT FEATURE! 

South African Short Films:

Ubuntu's Wounds

South Africa 2002 33min 35mm

Dir: Sechaba Morojele

An angry denunciation of the flawed TRC process that saw many apartheid killers lie about the atrocities they committed and get off scot-free. An ex-activist, unhinged and living in Los Angeles, watches the hearings on TV. When he runs into the security cop who killed his wife, granted amnesty and now living freely in America, he starts plotting to avenge her death -- until he realises retribution wonąt bring her back, or set him free.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Wed 13 Nov / 6pm Labia, Orange St.,


AFDA is one of the leading and most prolific outcomes-based institutions of its kind in the world today. AFDA currently has 17 departments all geared to the students attaining SAQA credited degrees and honours degrees in Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance. AFDA has a rich entrepreneurial history, formalised strategic relationships with the industry and an international reputation of excellence. www.filmdramaschool.co.za 


South Africa 2001 18min Video

Dir: Jan-Hendrik Beebge

A retired policeman living with his son in Triomf is forced to confront his demons when a man arrives to dig a hole in his garden, unearthing a terrible secret. His son is horrified, but grateful for the chance to lay old hatreds to rest. Superbly acted and well-crafted, the film offers a heart-wrenching yet inspiring vision of reconciliation flowering on the bones of the dead.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Wed 13 Nov / 6pm Labia 

Angels en Boereoorloë

South Africa 2001 17min Video

Dir: Vickus Strijdom

In the back room of a porn shop, where criminals stash the tools of their trade while doing time, the Boer War is still being fought -- fuelled, as before, by South Africa’s mineral wealth. Except these days it’s harder to tell friend from foe. A heady mix of love, porn, diamonds death and betrayal, with tight, edgy camerawork and a thumping soundtrack provided by Battery 9.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Wed 13 Nov / 6pm Labia


Taxi for 3 (Taxi Para 3)

Chile 2001 90min 35mm
Dir: Orlando Lübbert

Ulises hasn't got much going for him. He's overweight, balding, and his wife and kids treat him like a loser for barely bringing home enough money as a cab driver to make ends meet. His only remaining passion in life is his Lada, and he's prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to protect it. But when two favela thugs hijack him they unwittingly offer him a new lease on life – through crime. What follows is an hilarious cops-and-robbers story peppered with snappy outrageous dialogue and ludicrous though just believable scenarios. A highly entertaining ghetto adventure and a darkly humorous vision of moral decay and corruption at the fringes of Chilean society.

  • Sun 10 Nov / 6pm Cinema Nouveau V&A (screen 4)
  • Thurs 14 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A (screen 4) 

That’s My Face (É Minha Cara)

USA / Brazil / Tanzania 2001 56min Video

Dir: Thomas Allen Harris 

A poetic and visually stunning personal quest for spiritual and physical identity. African-American filmmaker, Thomas Allen Harris, takes us on his deeply intense journey that concludes with a sense of comfort and acceptance: that multiple identities, travels and experiences combine to make up his singular self. Shot on Super 8mm film, with trance-like layers of innovatively rich sounds that weave their way throughout, Thomas traverses three decades, three continents and three generations, drawing you into his existence and his connection to the world -- especially that of the Orixas, the deities of Afro-Brazilian spirituality. The film rolls gently like clouds floating in a dream and proves a rare visual treat -- an artistic nouveau-garde approach to documentary filmmaking.

  • Tues 12 Nov / 5.30pm Cinema Nouveau (screen 6)


Welcome to Encounters! at Sithengi.

We are very happy to be invited by Sithengi to curate a season of

World Cinema documentaries. Amongst the 15 documentaries chosen, we are proud to be hosting a number of firsts: the world premieres of Death by Myth by the legendary John Marshall, which represents forty years of his work as a filmmaker; the latest by internationally renowned filmmaker Kim Longinotto, The Day I’ll Never Forget; and South African Liza Key’s film, about the infamous Wouter Basson, The Man Who Knows Too Much; and a special screening of Licinio Azevedo’s Night Stop. We are certain that both the Cape Town public and market delegates will enjoy the exciting and diverse range of films. We hope that this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with Sithengi.

Nodi Murphy & Steven Markovitz, Directors

Encounters! South African International Documentary Festival

(A flagship project of the European Union’s CWCI Fund.)


Encounters Alumni

The Black

South Africa 2002 45min Video
Dir: Eddie Edwards

A fresh take on the geography of apartheid in Cape Town that focuses on the musicians who live on either side of one of SA’s most polluted rivers. Using the Black River as both metaphor and embodiment of separation and displacement, Edwards  constructs poetic tableaux of water and sound to convey how the city’s musical traditions, often markers of ethnic identity, reinforce the ghettoisation of culture or serve to bring people together. Includes interviews, backstage banter and live concert footage of musicians ranging from kwaito stars and Brenda Fassie to right-wing Christian punk rockers. A beautifully shot, intelligent and compelling visual essay exploring the crosscurrents of history, culture and religion that gave rise to this fabulous city.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 6pm Labia, Orange St. (screens with My Son The Bride)

My Son the Bride

South Africa 2001 24min Video
Dir: Mpumi Njinge

This charming film tells the story of Humpi and Charles, two men who want to marry each other. A tribute to the South African constitution which outlaws discrimination, also in terms of sexual orientation, My Son the Bride makes it clear that however liberal our constitution, prejudices aren’t easily overcome, especially when family is involved. Amusing and heart-warming, this film takes us through the wedding preparations while giving us valuable and indeed surprising insights into contemporary views on same-sex relationships, making nonsense of any notion that tolerance is the exclusive preserve of the well-heeled chattering classes.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 6pm Labia, Orange St. (screens with The Black)

Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony

South Africa / USA 2001 108min 35mm
Dir: Lee Hirsch

An inspiring celebration of music as a weapon of the struggle, Amandla! chronicles how changes in the lyrics, rhythms and melodies of liberation songs reflected the radicalisation of black resistance in response to ever harsher crackdowns by the apartheid state. In the context of the defiance campaign era of the 1950s, jaunty ditties warned "watch out Verwoerd, the black man will get you"; the Sharpeville massacre prompted a series of dirges, and the 1976 riots saw the emergence of songs full of youthful dynamism and energy expressing anarchic anger and disaffection. Interviews with SA music greats interspersed with disturbing footage of key events make for a compelling and novel retelling of this significant chapter of our past.

  • Sat 9 Nov / 6pm – Opening Night - By invitation only Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Mon 11 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A 

Ayurveda - The Art of Being

India / Germany / Switzerland 102min 35mm
Dir: Pan Nalin

Ayurveda, a Hindu medical system dating back more than two-and-a-half thousand years, is undergoing a revival both in India and the West. Its basic principle is that the body consists of five elements which should be in harmony for good health. The role of the Ayurvedic physician is to rectify imbalances that have developed through factors such as bad diet and stress. The film offers an impressive catalogue of this complex and highly refined system, taking viewers from Ayurvedic clinics and a medicinal plant conservation centre in India to practitioners as far afield as Athens and New York. An informative insight into an ancient art of healing that is gradually beginning to make inroads into the modern medical orthodoxies of the West.

  • Sun 10 Nov / 8pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Tue 12 Nov / 6pm Cinema Nouveau V&A  

Battu's Bioscope

Poland 1998 59min Video

Dir: Andrzej Fidyk

A colourful vehicle with an enormous inscription on the bonnet – Battu’s Bioscope – rambles along the sun scorched Indian roads. Mr Battu is the owner of one of 2 000 mobile cinemas in India. The bioscope comprises of an old Soviet projector and a few sheets of white cloth. Andrzej Fidyk’s team accompanies them from Calcutta, via fishing villages, snakes hunters’ settlements and a leprosarium, to the distant Orissa province. Mr Battu has finally received a permit, after trying for years, to show films to those who do not even know that cinema exists. Mr Battu is going to be their first introduction to "civilization".

  • Sun 10 Nov / 4pm Labia Orange St.
  • Wed 13 Nov / 8.30pm Labia Orange St. 

Children of the Revolution

South Africa 2002 52min Video

Dir: Zola Maseko

This is a documentary about how exile shaped the dreams of many people for whom South Africa has now become home after years away from their homeland. Filmmaker Zola Maseko reunites with five of his colleagues of exile. One is a bank robber, and the others a Rastafarian, an unemployed artist, a bank clerk and a female football coach. The film is a very personal story in which Zola walks down memory lane sharing how the experience of exile inform who and what he is today, with the same applying to the five colleagues. Living a spiritual life, "at one with Rasta", Pinnie the Rastafarian, in piercing terms, concludes that the basic tenets of the freedom charter have not been met. Post-apartheid South Africa: "a dream deferred?"

  • Tues 12 Nov / 7pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Thurs 14 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Director Zola Maseko will introduce the screening.

The Day I’ll Never Forget

UK 2002 90min 35mm
Dir: Kim Longinotto

"The pain I experienced was one I will never forget." It's a line from a child's poem which, instead of recalling innocent joys, evokes a terrible nightmare of "an old lady with many blades, doing it again and again". This disturbing film records, often in harrowing detail, the suffering and indignity endured by the many Kenyan women who are forcibly circumcised. What makes Longinotto's treatment of this subject compelling is her ability to probe beyond tabloid rhetoric to reveal the underlying beliefs and attitudes that cause the practice to persist and even thrive. Nevertheless, the film ends on an upbeat note: in a landmark case, a group of village schoolgirls win a court injunction restraining their parents from having them circumcised. Perhaps future generations will be spared these painful memories.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 8.30pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Wed 13 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A

Death by Myth

USA / Namibia 2002 84min Video
Dir: John Marshall

An uncompromising exposé of how aid and wildlife agencies have bought – and exploit – the myth of the Kalahari San as happy children of nature, content to collect rotten berries and track wounded game as their forebears have done for millennia. Marshal documents repeated efforts by the Ju/’hoansi in north-eastern Namibia to convince donor and government representatives
their only hope of survival today lies in growing food and keeping cattle. Eventually, convinced they will reap enormous financial rewards from trophy hunters, tourists and film crews, the community agrees to establish a nature conservancy. Unsurprisingly, the lion's share of income goes to operational costs and staff salaries; the Ju/’hoansi receive a mere pittance, and their gardens and livestock, their livelihood, is destroyed. Committed documentary making of the highest order.

  • Tues 12 Nov / 7.30pm Labia Orange St.
  • Thurs 14 Nov / 6pm Cinema Nouveau V&A  

Georgie Girl

New Zealand 2001 70min Video
Dirs: Annie Goldson & Peter Wells

Please welcome Georgina Beyer, former sex-worker and stripper, ex-mayor and now New Zealand's first transsexual MP. Born George Bertrand, after a troubled childhood she decided George was out, Georgie was in. And Georgie never looked back. First she worked the club scene in Wellington, then became an actress, and finally moved to a small rural town. There she surprised everyone, including herself, by getting voted local councillor, later mayor, by a largely conservative electorate. Georgina's approachability, talent and commitment to helping the people who put her in office -- and her refusal to shy away from her past -- are qualities she's still valued for on the national stage. A fabulous, and touching, whirl through the life and times of one of the most remarkable women in politics today.

  • Sun 10 Nov / 5.30pm Labia, Orange St.
  • Thurs 14 Nov / 6pm Labia, Orange St.

The Man Who Knows Too Much

South Africa 2002 60min Video

Dir: Liza Key

The Man Who Knows Too Much is based on late night telephone discussions between journalist Marlene Burger, and director Liza Key, as the trial of apartheid chemical and biological warfare head Wouter Basson unfolds. Marlene’s research sends Liza on a journey through Southern Africa where she encounters murderers, torturers and their victims, spies, biological and chemical warfare experts, scientists and bereaved mothers. Via these stories the compromises of a negotiated settlement in South Africa and its effects on justice in transition are examined. This is a thoroughly thought-provoking investigation of Basson’s evil work and why the 2002 trial failed to convict him.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 8pm Labia, Orange St.
  • Tues 12 Nov / 8.30pm Cinema Nouveau  

Night Stop

Mozambique 2002 52min Video

Dir: Licinio Azevedo 

Licinio Azevedo’s intriguing documentary reveals a night in the life of long-haul truckers and the sex workers who make their living from them at Moatize Town, close to the border of northern Mozambique. The women wake in the afternoon when the trucks start arriving at Montes Namuli, a hotel-bar-restaurant. As the night unfolds, the women chat, argue and hustle. They recount their individual experiences of poverty, pregnancy, the search for a husband, of unrequited love, violence and resignation. While aware of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, sex remains a commodity they sell to survive and support their families. At dawn the trucks leave and the women wander home together… 

  • Sun 10 Nov / 6pm Cinema Nouveau V&A (screens with The Ball)

The Ball

Mozambique 2001 5min Video

Dir: Orlando Mesquita

A lighthearted take on the novel use of condoms in Mozambique.

  • Sun 10 Nov / 6pm Cinema Nouveau V&A (screens with Night Stop)  

Shouting Silent

South Africa 2001 52min Video
Dir: Renée Rosen

Film producer Xoliswa Sithole embarks on a deeply personal journey to interview young women who, like herself, have lost their mothers to Aids. She meets an adolescent who fled her abusive step-father after her mother’s death and now lives on the streets of a shantytown, exposing how HIV sufferers and their offspring are often stigmatised and abandoned by society. Next she travels to the epicentre of the epidemic in KwaZulu-Natal, where families comprising only of the very young and very old are typical. Here a teenager has sacrificed her hopes and dreams to look after eight siblings, all surviving on their grandmother’s meagre pension. A devastating account of a lost generation robbed of parental guidance and emotional support by the killer disease.

  • Mon 11 Nov / 6.15pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Wed 13 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A
  • Xoliswa Sithole will introduce the first screening of her film.  

Strange Fruit

USA 2002 58min Video
Dir: Joel Katz

The remarkable tale of a song about lynchings written in the 1930s by a Bronx schoolteacher which became the rallying cry for US protest movements for over half a century. The anger and disgust conveyed in its simple, haunting lyrics -- "black bodies swing in the Southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees" -- was immediately recognised by the authorities. After Billie Holiday recorded it in 1939 it was banned by radio stations and during the McCarthy era many associated with it fell victim to anti-communist witchhunts. But its popularity and impact have never waned and the film traces how successive generations of musicians and activists have adopted it as an anthem against racism that continues to drive its harrowing message home.

  • Sun 10 Nov / 7pm Labia, Orange St.
  • Thurs 14 Nov / 8.30pm Cinema Nouveau V&A  

Two Trevors Go To Washington

South Africa 2000 34min Video  
Dir: Ben Cashdan 

Trevor Manuel. Trevor Ngwane. Two men who share the same name, the same destination. But whereas South Africa's finance minister attended the World Bank summit in Washington DC as board chairperson, dissident Soweto councillor Ngwane joined protesters in the streets calling for immediate debt cancellation and the bank's closure. Footage of protest preparations and violent clashes with heavy-handed police is juxtaposed with fly-on-the-wall coverage of proceedings inside the conference halls. The result is both a searing indictment of global economic policies that perpetuate poverty and inequality while claiming to combat them, as well as providing an insider view of the machinations of the World Bank and the methods and motivations of those who oppose it. 

  • Tues 12 Nov / 4pm Cinema Nouveau V&A

The Whale Induna

SA 2002 50min Video
Dir: Jeremy de Kock

The controversial story about an ordinary man with an extraordinary passion for whales. Peter Esterhuizen's special kinship with these creatures became something of a legend in the fishing village of Witsand on the Cape Coast. He dated it back to the time he saved a Southern Right from beaching in a channel leading to the Breede River. Since then, he maintained, whales would seek out his skiboat whenever he was in the bay. Peter has been praised by some for tirelessly spreading his love for these gentle giants of the deep, and dismissed by others as a dangerous lunatic threatening a fragile whale population. A strange and moving story, with spectacular close-up footage of Southern Rights, of the man who came to be known as the Whale Induna.

  • Tues 12 Nov / 6pm Labia, Orange St.
  • Director Jeremy de Kock will introduce.  

White Farmer, Black Land

South Africa / France 2000 57min Video
Dir: Aldo Lee

Daan Fritz and his family were among the pioneers who set out in 1994 on a latter-day Great Trek to take part in an agricultural scheme in northern Mozambique. In return for being allocated land to farm they were expected to use their expertise and technology to help develop this poverty stricken corner of a war ravaged nation. But a bureaucratic mix-up sparks a land battle between the local Yao people and the Afrikaners. Despite valid grievances, they invoke repulsive doctrines of a divine civilising mission, mixed with a good dose of free market rhetoric, to justify ploughing up the Yao's lands and treating labourers as serfs. A sad, sometimes tragicomic tale of prejudice, intolerance and missed opportunities.

  • Sun 10 Nov / 8.30pm Labia, Orange St.


- these short animations will screen at random before each video screening.)

Glass Door puts SA Animation on the map! The aim: open the doors to foreign and investment into the SA industry. Raise the profile of animation and up the exposure of this dynamic industry to a broader local and foreign audience.

Alien Nursery Rhymes: London Bridge

Dir: Tim Argall 2002 3min

The pilot for a series of wacky new takes on traditional nursery rhymes. A grossly appealing alien anti-hero travels to some sites of nursery rhymes and causes mayhem.


Dir: Jason Cullen 2002 53sec

Created for Takalani Sesame with a visual style inspired by children's storybook illustrations centering on the health and well-being of a little mushroom named Mushi.


Dir: Jacquie Trowell 2002 3 x 20sec

A stop-frame animation created for Takalani Sesame featuring a delightful little bug enjoying a range of fruit.

Car Talk

Dirs: Arthur Price & Charles Walker 2002 3min

This South African-American co-production, realized by the Threshold Collective, is based on a well-known American radio show.

Signifier vs. Signified

Dir: Gerbrand Nel 2002 47sec

A somewhat disturbing graphic visual representation of the argument "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" centering around a heart and a mechanical device.

Wire Farmer and Pollution

Dir: Jacquie Trowell 2002 30sec

Created for Takalani Sesame, a wire-work farmer becomes aware of the problem of pollution created by vehicles, and opts for a cleaner form of transport.

Jasper - No Spoon

Dir: Jan Cilliers de Wet 2002 1.35min

The first of three award-winning short pieces flighted on the US cable station Noggin, featuring the character Jasper who travels on his moped and gets a flat tire.

How the Stars Were Born

Dir: Jacquie Trowell 2002 1.30min

A clay-mation traditional African tale created for Takalani Sesame, describing how the stars were born, featuring a variety of charming characters.


Dir: Jill Slabbert 2002 4.7min

Created using photo manipulation and collage-style animation, about the re-awakening of the earth and its four life-giving elements, found and brought home with the energy of sound.

The Upside Down Song

Dir: Garth Sanders 2002 1.33min

A fun educational piece, created around the lyrics of an existing original song for Takalani Sesame’s second season.

Birds Greet in Different Languages

Dir: Jacquie Trowell 2002 30sec

A stop-frame animation story for Takalani Sesame promoting the benefits of multilingualism, about a small bird that learns to say hello in different animal languages.

Termites: A Sticky Situation

Dir: Paul Meyer 2002 1.17min

A fun piece integrating stylized characters with 3D backgrounds, created for Takalani Sesame, promoting co-operation and teamwork.

Pappy (He Looks Just Like His Pappy)

Dir: Dale Best 2002 3min

A quirky, experimental piece exploring a combination of photographic-2D and 3D generated imagery in a classic American 50s / 60s style.