Black student filmmakers from Cape Town to debut short films at Encounters doccie fest
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Cape Town - Eighteen black student filmmakers from Cape Town are expected to see the world premiere of their films at Encounters SA International Documentary Film Festival this month.
The students have produced three short films that bring into sharp focus critical human rights issues in townships around Cape Town, and are looking forward to the festival which will take place virtually from June 10 to 20.
One of the students, Mona-Lisa Msime, the director of Toilets To Let, said when she started filming she knew she wanted to tell stories about injustice and dehumanisation in the townships, but what she did not expect was how it would lead her to appreciate the smallest things in life, like walking to the bathroom under the same roof of her house and the privilege of flushing a toilet after using it.
“Shooting Toilets To Let was really emotional, because the documentary participants let me into their lives and told me about stuff that was not comfortable to speak about,” said Msime.
Another student, Sivenathi Ntshwanti, the director of Street Dogs, said with their documentary they wanted to raise the profile of waste reclaimers.
"People have this preconception that waste reclaimers are drug addicts and lowlifes, but the waste reclaimer in our film is a normal guy. He goes to school, he is part of a church, he is clean," he said.
Ntshwanti said they wanted to show that people could respect waste reclaimers and the role they played in keeping communities clean, especially in the areas that the government did not service.
American producer Michael Murphey, known for global blockbusters District 9 and Judge Dredd, joined South African filmmaker and former head of AFDA, Malcolm Kohll, to co-found DOCi in 2017 with the aim of providing practical, employable skills to black filmmakers.
Murphey said that when he started making films in South Africa 17 years ago he was struck by how many filmmakers came from privileged, well-resourced backgrounds.
Kohll said their hope was that these new young filmmakers would find a place in the industry and allow their vision to be seen by a wider global audience.