THE ADIAHA AWARD
For the fourth year running Encounters in partnership with the Ladima Foundation, presents the Adiaha Award, rewarding excellence in documentary filmmaking by African women. This year, the award welcomes a new partner, DOK.fest München, one of Germany’s largest documentary film festival. DOK.fest will invite the winner of the Award to the next edition of the festival and support with festival accreditation, participation in the Market, special meetings and conferences.
The award was inaugurated at the Zanzibar International Film Festival in 2018. Last year’s winner, Akuol De Mabior’s No Simple Way Home from South Sudan has gone on to be screened and awarded at festivals around the world. Previous Adiaha Award winners include; Zinder from Aicha Maky (Niger) and Tamara Dawitt’s Finding Sally (Ethiopia).
The Nominees: 1001 Days by directors Kethiwe Ngcobo and Chloe White, Beyond the Light Barrier by director Uga Carlini, Eat Bitter by director Pascale Appora-Gnekindy, The Last Seed by director Andrea Gema, Le Spectre de Boko Haram by director Cyrielle Raingou, Milisuthando by director Milisuthando Bongela and Money, Freedom, a Story of the CFA by director Katy Lena Ndiaye.
1st place: Le Spectre de Boko Haram – “Against the backdrop of the constant threat of attack by Boko Haram, this film intimately focuses on a group of children who reveal how war manifests, even in banal everyday interactions. The jury were struck by the beauty of the Cameroonian landscape juxtaposed with the memories of violence casually shared by the children in conversations and songs. Raingou’s powerful debut feature is both an indictment of war and a stark visual reminder of what is at stake if children continue to be the vessels of national trauma.” – Rumbi Katedza
2nd place: MILISUTHANDO – “Milisuthando bursts onto the scene with stunning command and confidence. Her self-titled, deeply personal film radiates with heart. It boldly examines post-apartheid expectations, offers resonant insights on identity, belonging and friendship, and in doing so, breaks new ground. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Milisuthando and for this impressive debut. It is a beacon that demonstrates the impact of trusting the voice of an African woman.” – Akuol de Mabior
Special Mention: EAT BITTER – “Compelling profound fearless story telling done with so much heart.” – Xolisa Sithole
The Jury: Akuol de Mabior director No Simple Way Home (2022 Adiaha Award Winner), Rumbi Katedza director Transactions (2022 Adiaha Award Nominee), Xoliswa Sithole director Standing on their Shoulders
THE ENCOUNTERS / AL JAZEERA BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD
Encounters is proud to present the Encounters / Al Jazeera Best Documentary Award for the Best African and Best International Documentary, adjudicated by the programming team. The Awards, supported for the first time by Al Jazeera, reward films that embrace excellence and fresh perspective in documentary filmmaking.
The winners in each category will receive $625, 1st runner-ups $250 and 2nd runner ups $125.
Encounters’ long-standing relationship with Al Jazeera has played a critical role in the African documentary landscape, acting as an important and necessary platform for Al Jazeera commissioning editors to identify new & innovative content ideas and filmmakers from the African region.
Best African Feature : 1st Prize – Milisuthando, 2nd Prize – Money, Freedom, a Story of the CFA Franc, 3rd Prize/Special Mention – Beyond the Light Bar
Best International Feature : 1st Prize – Seven Winters in Tehran, 2nd Prize – Theatre of Violence, 3rd Prize/Special Mention – Dorpie
Mandisa Zitha , Festival Director says “The Encounters /Al Jazeera Best Documentary Award recognises exceptional films in our programme that embody new perspectives and push the boundaries of documentary, through their elevated storytelling, stylistic virtues, and thematic interest. The award winners and nominees appeal to our diverse audiences and successfully provide a transformative space of meaning, mediation, and re-awakening of our awareness. The programmers of Encounters congratulate the filmmakers for courageously tackling challenging subjects and offering excellence in the art form of documentary while entertaining, educating and inspiring us.”
STER – KINEKOR ENCOUNTERS YOUTH EXPERIENCE (EYE) AWARDS
The Festival welcomes the return of the Ster-Kinekor Encounters Youth Experience (EYE) Awards for the Best South African Short under 20 minutes. The EYE Award recognises performances of both emerging and established filmmakers and gives them a platform to demonstrate their talents. The winning filmmakers will be awarded cash prizes to assist with their future projects. The first prize winner will receive R10,000 and the second will receive R5,000. Both films will be screened at the awards ceremony over the closing weekend of the Festival (1st and 2nd July).
The Nominees are Coach by director Damian Samuel, Let’s Go to the Mines by director Advik Beni, Our Land by director Peter Goldsmid, A Performance on Femininity by director Okuhle Dyosopu, Push Comes to Shove by director Kamvelihle Stemela and The Reclaimers by director Sifiso Khanyile.
The Jury were Alessia Collazuol from SAE Institute, Ara Bhabha from University of Cape Town and Gontse Mmekwa from Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Free Film School.
First place: The Reclaimers “From the first frame we were immediately captivated by this story. It made us care for the protagonists and we now feel heavily invested after watching this compelling film. The Reclaimers opened our eyes to individuals striving to make the world and its environment a better place through a beautifully cinematic and captivating story.” – Alessia Collazuol
Second place: Our Land “Our Land examines the exploitation of communities and the environment by mining companies. The film acts as a catalyst for socio-economic discourse and understanding of the broader narrative. Overall, we felt the film had a strong and immersive subject-line and displayed excellence through its raw cinematic style.” – Gontse Mmekwa
Special Mention: Push comes to Shove “We would like to give a special mention to Push Comes to Shove, a documentary shedding light on Obstetric violence and on the right to sufficient care during birth. The film gives hope by sharing the story of Bongi and the organisation Embrace. We felt deeply moved throughout the film for Bongi her journey.” – Ara Bhabha