Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, renowned for its celebration of thought-provoking and impactful documentaries, is thrilled to announce some of its exceptional international films screening in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 22 June to 2 July 2023. With its focus on diverse voices and perspectives, this year’s festival showcases a remarkable selection of films from talented directors; follows some hard-hitting revealing narratives that go beyond ordinary “news”, while also shining a light on people’s endless capacity for creativity.
Among the highly anticipated films being screened is the Oscar-nominated masterpiece, All That Breathes, directed by Shaunak Sen (India/US). Set in the smog-choked skies of Delhi, India, this film intimately explores the heart-warming story of two brothers who fall in love with a bird, nurturing it back to health in their humble basement bird hospital.
Also making waves is the Sundance award-winning film 20 Days in Mariupol, directed by Mstyslav Chernov (Ukraine/US). This powerful documentary follows a team of Ukrainian journalists trapped in the besieged city, bravely documenting the atrocities of war. Through their unwavering commitment, they shed light on the human stories behind the headlines, bringing the harsh realities of conflict to the forefront.
The power of conviction and resilience lies at the core of Seven Winters in Tehran, directed by Steffie Niederzoll (Germany/France/Iran), a remarkable film that explores the fate of a young student who stabs a rapist in self-defence, examining the repercussions and complex societal dynamics that follow.
Merkel, directed by Eva Weber (UK/Denmark/Germany), is an illuminating portrait of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the most prominent and impactful world leader in the past 50 years. This is an inspiring revelation of her background and journey to becoming the unapologetically strategic and determined leader she was in the complicated world of local and international politics.
A Story of Bones, directed by Joseph Curran and Dominic de Vere (UK/St Helena) uncovers the neglected history of enslaved Africans on the island of St Helena. This deeply moving film follows Namibian Annina van Neel’s efforts to unearth their remains, ensuring their stories are told and their dignity is restored.
Highlighting the extraordinary impact of documentaries on real lives, Subject, directed by Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall (US), examines the profound influence, both positive and negative, of well-known documentaries from the past decade on their on-screen “subjects”.
Hidden Letters, directed by Violet Du Feng (China/Norway/US), poignantly explores the struggle of Chinese women as they navigate the complexities of modernity and traditional identity.
In Fashion Reimagined, directed by Becky Hutner (UK), we witness a designer’s pursuit of ethical and sustainable fashion. Through an artistic lens, this film takes us on a fascinating journey as the designer strives to create a collection that reflects social responsibility at every level.
Dancing Pina, directed by Florian Heinzen-Ziob (Germany/Senegal), showcases the universal language of dance. This visually stunning documentary takes us on a transcendent voyage as young dancers on two continents rediscover the timeless choreography of legendary choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch, bridging cultures and reimagining her work for a new generation.
Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen, directed by Daniel Raim (US), takes us behind the scenes of one of the most beloved musicals of all time, Fiddler on the Roof. Audiences are treated to an intimate look at the passion, dedication and artistic vision that went into making this timeless musical a cinematic masterpiece.
Encounters South African International Documentary Festival continues to be a vital platform for celebrating the power of documentary filmmaking. With a rich line-up of films, the festival not only showcases diverse voices but also underscores the importance of female perspectives in shaping the cinematic landscape.
Encounters South African International Documentary Festival runs from 22 June until 2 July 2023.