The 2014 Tri Continental Film Festival (TCFF) returns to South African cinemas at the end of September. The festival will be screened exclusively at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg (Rosebank Mall) and Cape Town (V&A Waterfront) from 26 September to 06 October.
Unlike previous festivals, where the selection criteria focused on human rights cinema of the South, the twelve films in this year’s line-up have been chosen because they are the big issue films that are currently making waves in festivals across the world. Four of the films are from South Africa. Each title represents documentary at its best, and all the films are in some way being used to push social justice agendas that go beyond viewing.
In one way or another, each film is a call to action. Its intention is to move audiences beyond passive viewing to active engagement, whether that means reading up on a particular issue, signing a petition or joining a campaign.
“Documentary film has a special role to play. It goes deeper than straightforward reporting and demands a point of view,” says TCFF Festival Co-Director, Anita Khanna.
“Good films are made by filmmakers who have thoroughly researched and thought through how best to tell a story, so that it is both compelling and convincing. This means they have to be all the more rigorous in their journalistic integrity,” adds Nhlanhla Ndaba, the festival’s Co-Director.
This year the festival organisers have implemented a different scheduling strategy, with the screenings limited to two consecutive weekends at the two venues. The festival launches at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank Mall on Friday, 26 September and runs till Monday, 29 September. It then moves to Cinema Nouveau V&A Waterfront in Cape Town from Friday, 03 to Monday, 06 October.
The festival co-directors are Nhlanhla Ndaba and Anita Khanna, who are both impact producers of the hard-hitting South African documentary, Miners Shot Down. Faced with the unwillingness of the two free-to-air broadcasters, SABC and eTV, to schedule the documentary, they have spent the past five months implementing an alternative distribution strategy for the film that has seen demand across all sectors of society, and a significant bolstering of the justice campaign associated with the film (www.marikanajustice.co.za and www.minersshotdown.co.za). As such, it has been included in this year’s Tri Con festival line-up.
The thirst for the truth, as told in the documentary format, is plentiful, not only in South Africa’s current turbulent times but further afield too. Following this year’s festival, the team will use its experience and expertise to screen some of the other titles to a wider audience, again working hand-in-hand with relevant campaigns and social justice partners.
“There is nothing wrong with a bit of controversy, we say, and we judge the success of a festival not only by the number of people filling the seats, but by the liveliness of our audiences. As any good storyteller knows, there is nothing as numbing as silent consensus,” states Ndaba.
Included in this year’s TCFF line-up are: Crumbs: Toppling the Bread Cartel; Miners Shot Down; Roadmap to Apartheid; and Unearthed: Fracking in the Karoo (produced in South Africa); Dirty Wars and God Loves Ugandafrom the USA; Judgment in Hungary (Hungary); Marmato (Colombia); Return to Homs (Syria); The Square (Egypt);Ukraine is not a Brothel (Ukraine/Australia); and Virunga (UK).
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