The 26th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival (June 20-30) brings a captivating program of films from across the globe. Prepare for thought-provoking discussions and fresh perspectives on controversial topics.

Global Stories, Local Screenings (Cape Town & Johannesburg)

A rich tapestry of documentaries awaits, spanning continents and themes. From resilience in the face of hardship to explorations of modern issues, these films celebrate the power of documentary cinema. Nearly 50 films will be screened, including:

Soundtrack to a Coup d’État (Belgium/France/Netherlands): This award-winning masterpiece delves into the connection between music and political upheaval. Jazz and Cold War politics intertwine in the story of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first democratically elected leader, and the forces that led to his assassination.

Our Land, Our Freedom (Kenya): A powerful story of one woman’s fight to reclaim her ancestral land stolen during British colonialism. This film confronts past injustices and the struggle for true freedom.

Black Box Diaries (Japan/USA/UK): Shiori Itō, a Japanese journalist, bravely investigates a case of sexual assault against her. This raw and personal documentary exposes the challenges women face in seeking justice and exposes Japan’s patriarchal structures.

Johatsu – Into Thin Air (Japan/Germany): Explore the phenomenon of “Johatsu,” the disappearance of thousands of people in Japan each year. This beautifully shot film delves into the lives of those who choose to vanish and those searching for them.

Hollywoodgate (Germany/USA): Egyptian director Ibrahim Nash’at gets unprecedented access to document the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in 2021. Witness the rapid rise of the Taliban from the inside as they take control of a former US base.

Don’t Miss These Gems

Encounters highlights two audience favorites:

Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano (Germany/Lebanon): A heartwarming story of resilience. After a devastating explosion in Beirut, filmmakers find solace and purpose through the power of cinema.

The Mother of All Lies (Morocco/Egypt): A poetic exploration of family memories surrounding the Casablanca Bread Riots of 1981. This film uses handcrafted figurines to tell a story of trauma, love, and a period of repression in Morocco.