The official awards ceremony for the 5th edition of the Joburg Film Festival, presented by Multichoice, was held last night at The Theatre on The Square in Sandton, Johannesburg. The Egyptian feature film “Feathers,” directed by Omar El Zohairy, was named the festival’s “Best Film” by the international jury. This absurdist story about a patriarch transformed into a chicken has a lot to say about Egyptian culture and women’s roles.

Jessica Beshir’s evocative black and white Ethiopian documentary “Faya Dayi,” directed, written, starred in, and produced, won the ‘Best African Film’ award. The film is a spiritual journey into the Harar highlands immersed in khat rituals.

The award for “Best Documentary” went to Rafiki Fariala’s debut film “Nous, étudiants (We, Students)” from the Central African Republic. In it, the filmmaker turns the camera on himself and his friends, capturing their daily lives as Bangui University students. They share their perspectives on their future in the Central African Republic, both clear-eyed and poetic.

This year’s prestigious jury included South Africa’s multi-award winning producer Carolyn Carew, Berlin-based Lesotho film maker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, published author, columnist, and poet Njoko Muhoho, Sundance alumni and filmmaker Mohamed Siam, and French / Egyptian director and producer Johan El Tah.

Fearless Storyteller Award Chris Q. Radebe

“The jury process for JFF 2023 was an amazing meeting of minds of a highly experienced and diverse African team of filmmakers. The diversity of knowledge and storytelling skills came into play during the deliberations. The discipline and attention with which we screened and watched the films demonstrated our respect for fellow filmmakers’ craft. The hours were long, but they were intense and enjoyable. As a result, the three JFF 2023 category winners were unanimously selected. “I and my fellow jurors would do it again if given the chance,” said juror Njoki Muhoho.

As part of the Awards Night, event partner the Multichoice Group recognized a number of outstanding filmmakers. The following awards were given out:

· The Emerging Storyteller Award: Siphosethu Tshapu, (Milton Empire)

· The Global Storyteller Award: Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon, (Tshedza Pictures)

· The Fearless Storyteller Award: Chris Q Radebe, (Match Pictures) [pictured above]

· The Anasi Award – Connie Chiume

· Rising African Star Award – Star Kganki Mphahlele (Pula Bakgaga Media)

“Our partnership with The Joburg Film Festival is one that speaks to our ethos of being Africa’s most loved storyteller. We are grateful to the Joburg Film Festival for once again joining us in celebrating the incredible storytellers who have inspired us. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and everyone who won; you have all demonstrated what it means to embrace the art of storytelling,” said Multichoice Group Executive Corporate Affairs Collen Dlamini.

The winner of the Young Voices film competition, an initiative of The Joburg Film Fest Youth and Audience Development Programme, was also announced on the Awards night. This year, the program launched a province-wide skills transfer initiative, reaching out to over 300 young people through a series of workshops in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, West Rand, Sedibeng, and Johannesburg. The workshops were designed specifically for youth living in townships, and industry professionals shared their extensive experience and knowledge on the amazing craft of cinematic storytelling with enthusiastic audiences.

As part of the Young Voices film competition, aspiring South African filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 25 were also invited to submit a video with the theme ‘Our Stories, Our Gold. The Young Voices Award was given to Tshwane resident George Temba for his short film “Young Shepherd” out of all the entries.