encounters documentary film festival

Encounters South African International Documentary Festival is recognized for its celebration of thought-provoking and impactful documentaries, is happy to announce an amazing international film lineup that will fascinate audiences in Cape Town and Johannesburg from June 22 to July 2, 2023.

This year’s festival, with an emphasis on varied voices and viewpoints, highlights amazing films from talented female directors; follows some hard-hitting illuminating themes that go beyond typical “news,” while throwing a light on people’s limitless ability for creation.

The Oscar-nominated masterwork All That Breathes, directed by Shaunak Sen, is among the films being exhibited. This wonderful story of two brothers who fall in love with a bird and nurse it back to health in their poor basement bird hospital is set amid the smoggy skies of Delhi.

The Sundance award-winning film 20 Days in Mariupol, directed by Mstyslav Chernov (Ukraine/US), is also making waves. This dramatic documentary follows a group of Ukrainian journalists who are imprisoned in the besieged city and are valiantly reporting war horrors. They shine light on the human tales hidden behind the headlines, bringing the grim reality of conflict to the surface.

encounters film

Seven Winters in Tehran, directed by Steffie Niederzoll (Germany/France/Iran), is a remarkable film that examines the fate of a young student who stabs a rapist in self-defense, examining the repercussions and complex societal dynamics that follow.

Merkel is a portrait of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the most prominent and influential world leader in the last 50 years, directed by Eva Weber. This is an uplifting account of her upbringing and path to being an unapologetic strategic and determined leader.

A Story of Bones, filmed by Joseph Curran and Dominic de Vere, delves into the forgotten history of enslaved Africans in St Helena. This extremely moving film recounts Namibian Annina van Neel’s efforts to excavate their remains in order to tell their stories and restore their dignity.

Subject, directed by Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall, investigates the tremendous influence of well-known documentaries from the last decade on their on-screen “subjects” to highlight the extraordinary impact of documentaries on actual life.

Violet Du Feng’s Hidden Letters highlights the struggle of Chinese women as they traverse the challenges of modernity and traditional identity.

We see a designer’s pursuit of ethical and ecological fashion in Fashion Reimagined, directed by Becky Hutner. This film takes us on a fascinating trip through an artistic perspective as the designer seeks to produce a collection that symbolizes social responsibility at every level.

Dancing Pina, directed by Florian Heinzen-Ziob, celebrates dance as a universal language. This breathtakingly spectacular documentary takes us on a magical journey as young dancers from two continents rediscover iconic choreographer and performer Pina Bausch’s ageless choreography, transcending cultures and recreating her work for a new generation.

Daniel Raim’s film Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen brings us behind the scenes of one of the most beloved musicals of all time, Fiddler on the Roof. The audience is given an up-close look at the love, dedication, and artistic vision that went into producing this timeless musical a cinematic masterpiece.

“The celebration of Encounters’ 25th edition ushers in an occasion to delight and reflect on the impact of documentaries in our society through the perspective of recognisable directors and new voices from the continent and abroad,” said Festival Director Mandisa Zitha.

It has been our pleasure to curate a program of significant films that reflect the current status of our planet, and we are delighted to present it to local people.