About the Festival

An outstanding annual event since 1999

The Encounters South African International Documentary Festival is the country’s formative documentary event, screening contemporary South African and
International features and short documentaries.

African titles

International titles

Total screenings

Total Attendance

Open Virtually Everywhere

We are breaking boundaries and responding in real-time to the world’s new reality by making the Festival available to everyone, everywhere in South Africa .

In celebrating our 22nd year, we’re making most of the films free-of-charge to view on virtual platforms from 20–30 August.

The Close Encounters Laboratory

The Close Encounters Laboratory, in partnership with SABC and ETV has been phenomenally successful and in 10 Labs has produced 48 films. It has launched the careers of a number of South Africa’s innovative young filmmakers. Alumni of the Lab include Khalo Matabane, Bev Ditsie, Omelga Mthiyane, Andy Spitz, Pule Diphare, Mandilakhe Mjekula, Riaan Hendricks, Vincent Moloi and Portia Rankoane. All these immensely skilled filmmakers have benefited from the Lab and their films have done well locally and abroad.

Films produced

Laboratories run

Lab participants

Industry sessions

Making an Impact with Industry Events

We’ve planned an oh-so-useful industry programme to equip filmmakers with business skills in partnership with Wesgro, City of Cape Town and FNB, and a series of workshops and presentations to help filmmakers go global with the Documentary Filmmakers Association.

Live Q&As, Panel Discussions and Industry Events

Join our live virtual Q&As, Panel Discussions and Industry Events with acclaimed and emerging filmmakers discussing their latest films, or watch the pre-recorded Q&As.

Available in our Virtual Cinema, stream the film beforehand then join us for a conversation on our Facebook and YouTube channels. Come with questions! Stream films from 20 to 30 Aug in our Virtual Cinema: http://virtual.encounters.co.za.

Help keep the festival alive for the price of a ticket, popcorn and coke (not to forget the parking and petrol): https://www.encounters.co.za/support-the-festival/

Don’t forget to set a YouTube reminder for the Q&As, Panel Discussions and Industry Events!

South African guests

International guests

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