More exciting feature documentaries announced for Encounters 2020

The latest documentaries from the Encounters 2020 Documentary Festival have been announced, and there’s a lot to look forward to.

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The documentary features coming to the Encounters 2020 Documentary Film Festival have been announced, and they promise audiences some of the freshest content from the world’s great, as well as local up-and-coming, documentary filmmakers. Best of all, the 2020 festival program will be making almost all films on the program free-of-charge to view on virtual platforms from 20 -30 August.

 

Africa is in the spotlight again at Encounters as unique perspectives from the continent are offered up across the program in this year’s line-up. In Sakawa, directed by Ben Asamoah, we’re given an eye-opening look inside the world of Ghana’s great internet scam industry through the eyes of the scammers themselves; The Letter, by producer-director duo Christopher King and Maia Lekow, gives insight into a young man’s journey to his grandmother’s rural home when he learns she’s been accused of witchcraft. Director Chris van der Vorm heads to the fascinating area of Makoko in Lagos to meet one of its most colourful characters in Mrs. F; and in Beyond my Steps by director Kamy Lara we get a look into the performance of and the rehearsals leading up to a dance piece from an Angolan dance troupe. The film focuses on five dancers who explore the concepts of tradition, culture, memory and identity. 

Viewers have a number of exciting South African political documentaries to look forward to as well. In Underground to the Corridors of Power by director Teddy Mattera we get a critical look into the formation of the National Union of Miners (NUM), centering on the miners’ struggle for a living wage and better working conditions. Two very different views of  South Africa since 1994 also emerge from Sifiso Khanyile’s  A New Country that argues that the dream of the rainbow nation is a fallacy and that the legacy of apartheid is still in place, while Good Hope directed by Anthony Fabian is an optimistic film that looks at 36 dynamic South Africans working to grapple with these changes. Rehad Desai’s How to Steal a Country goes in-depth to uncover the alleged corruption scandal surrounding former President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta Family. 

 

South African culture, history and sport also get unpacked at this year’s festival across a diverse mix of new films. I’m still in love with Kwaito by Enzo Slaghuis follows Hip-Hop Pioneer ‘Enzo’ Tema on a nostalgic look at his love for Kwaito. Listen to My Song by Glenn Ujebe Masokoane is the first tribute to supremely talented jazz musician and composer Gideon Nxumalo (1929-1970). Two new documentaries go into the story of South African dance with San Dance going to the heart of San dance culture, directed by Richard Wicksteed and Rumba in the Jungle directed by Yolanda Keabetswe Mogatusi taking a look into the highly competitive Sun City dance competition. On the sport front, Blindside takes a look at the 1974 boycott-breaking British Lions tour of South Africa against the Springbok rugby team. South Africa’s health also gets an intriguing treatment in Tin Soldiers by director Odette  Schwegler, about people living with one of the world’s rarest and most debilitating diseases. And the historical look at the old railway town of Hutchinson and its subsequent deterioration and abandonment in Hutchinson: Shunted is a fascinating snapshot of very small-town life during apartheid. 

 

The best documentaries from around the globe bring the rest of the world into focus in the following films 

 

Bellingcat: Truth in a Post Truth World  director Hans Pool follows a small group of self-appointed citizen investigators who uncover the key about recent news events; i.e. Shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and the poisoning of the former Russian Military officer in Salisbury, England

 

King of Cruise centres on the larger than life, insecure Baron Ronald Busch Reisinger as he tries to get the attention of romantic couples, wealthy families, and ship’s crews with stories that may or may not be true.

 

Pioneering filmmaker Agnes Varda tells her own story in Varda by Agnes made last year just before her death at 90. 

 

Displaced is a master class in personal documentary filmmaking! The film explores the experience of a third generation Holocaust survivor in Berlin. 

 

The Swiss Focus includes Il Mio Corpo that tells the stories of Oscar, a young working class Sicilian boy and Stanley, a Nigerian refugee; Kombinat is the account of three families who live in the polluted Russian City of Magnitogorsk 

home of Kombinat, one of the largest  iron and steel factories in the country: 

and Madame –that explores the powerful relationship between Caroline, a 90 year old grandmother and her gay filmmaker grandson Stephane as they engage in an intimate conversation 

Other South African films to look forward to include Help or Hinderance? The Sullivan Principles in Apartheid South Africa by directors Sharon Farr and Lee Otten; Women Hold Up the Sky: African women rise for climate justice by Yaba Badoe, Sharon Farr and Nelson Makengo; Waking Stellenbosch by director Sarah Marecek; And A Feast in the Time of Plague, examines the artistic responses by state-funded theatre-makers to the apartheid state, focusing on those who worked in the Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB) between 1970 and 1990. 

But these are just a few of the films to add to your watching calendar. Stay up-to-date with the exciting developments happening at Encounters 2020, and get the full program by heading to encounters.co.za.

The 22nd Encounters South African International Documentary Festival is funded by:

The National Film and Video Foundation, Gauteng Film Commission, WESGRO, Western Cape Dept of Cultural Affairs & Sports, Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa Consulate General of Switzerland in Cape Town Sundance Institute 

Film Sponsors & Partners:  

Swiss Films,  IFAS – The French Institute of South Africa, DOK.fest Munich

Media Partner:  

Kaya FM

Festival partners: 

RefineryDocumentary Filmmakers AssociationSouth African Guild of Editors, Electric South, UCT Centre for Film & Media Studies