For its 14th year the Encounters Documentary Film Festival will once again be showcasing thought-provoking movies from local and international film makers.

Our small team of reviewers scoured through 487 entries to compile a programme of 29 international and 22 SA films. We are proud to present the 2012 line up of the last year’s most compelling documentaries; award-winners, festival darlings, SA world premières and fresh student films.

The programme looks very interesting and varied, and many of the viewings are followed by a Q&A session, offering an opportunity to discuss the films and their messages. Alongside the films, a number of master classes, panel discussions, workshops and talks are also scheduled.

These are the films and shorts that caught my eye in particular:


Connected: an autoblogography about love, Death and technology
Tiffany Shlain | Usa | 82min | 2011
Seat belts on for a fast tempo, upbeat, witty film about what it means to be connected in the 21st Century. Starting with our technology addictions, Shlain expands the definition and explores how increased connectedness is changing our world in the wider sense. Visually rich and snappy, the film ranges far and wide into nature, metaphysics, politics and sociology and then heads back home to the filmmaker’s own family connections as crisis hits. Part memoir, part homage, it’s the film we should all see to understand our heightened state of interdependence.

Thomas Barry | South Africa | 60min | 2012
This is the feel-good story of how a doctor and a matron at a rural South African hospital started a groundbreaking scholarship programme to enable local youth to qualify as healthcare professionals. When Dr Andrew Ross and Elda Nsimbini were faced with the crisis of losing five doctors, they established a mentorship programme that identified the best students in the district. Years on, they are reaping the fruits of their efforts. Rather than the usual sad tale of neglect and deterioration, Barry’s film offers a realistic solution – local people for local problems – that pioneers a path many rural hospitals should follow.

Port Nolloth: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Felix Seuffert | South Africa | 32min | 2012
The declining diamond fields of the West Coast mean different things to the different inhabitants of Port Nolloth. Rich and poor battle overseas conglomerates, environmental challenges and poverty to harvest ‘God’s greatest gift’. Seuffert finds an intriguing mix of
rich farmers, determined taxi drivers, hard-edged divers and smooth politicians to tell the tale of a small community, beautiful but complex, hiding in the dunes and the desert.


River of Stones
Wiseman Mabusela | South Africa | 14min | 2012
The Klip River running through Soweto is more than just a waterway – it represents the dreams, frustrations, future and past of the myriad communities living along its course.

Sea Skeletons
Tamsyn Reynolds | South Africa | 11min | 2011
The inspirational story of Junkanew artist Monique Fagan, who’s fascination for converting flotsam and jetsam into art leads to a project with unemployed women to manufacture recycled art.

View the full programme.

The film festival will run concurrently in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 7-24 June 2012, showing in selected Nu Metro cinemas and at The Fugard (Cape Town) and The Bioscope (Johannesburg).

Encounters Documentary Film Festival – Event Details:

Cape Town
Where: Numetro 2 & 8 V&A Waterfront; The Fugard
When: 7-24 June 2012. Various times (evenings).
Cost: From R40. > Ticket prices and booking info.

Where: Numetro 8 Hyde Park, The Bioscope
When: 7-24 June 2012. Various times (evenings).
Cost: From R40 > Ticket prices and booking info.

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