Click here to view the latest Smart Shopper Deals

26th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival (2024)

26th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival (2024)

26th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival (2024)

20 - 30 June 2024


Now in its 26th year, Encounters is the premier Documentary Festival in Africa.

Encounters South African International Documentary Festival believes in the power of documentary film to transform, inform, challenge, support, engage both emotionally and intellectually and, ultimately, contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue.

More Info


Screen 1, Labia Theatre, 68 Orange Str, Cape Town, Western Cape  Location on Google Maps


26th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival (2024)

Wild Coast Warriors (13, World Premiere) 21 Jun 2024 18:30


Nick Chevallier, Leigh Wood & Guido Zanghi | South Africa | 2024 | 72 min

Wild Coast Warriors explores the fight against the establishment of oil exploration operations by the Shell corporation in the Wild Coast, in an effort to prevent the irreversible destruction of the environment and surrounding communities.

Please stay afterwards for the post-screening Q&A.

Al Djanat, the Original Paradise (13N) 21 Jun 2024 20:00


Chloé Aïcha Boro| France/Burkina Faso/Benin/Germany | 2023 | 84 min

Upon the passing of her Uncle Ousmane during his pilgrimage to Mecca, director Chloé Aïcha Boro returns to her home country of Burkina Faso to document the familial disputes surrounding land ownership and the inheritance of his Coulibaly estate. The passing of Ousmane, who was a respected elder in the community and a figure of Mandingo Islam, becomes a catalyst for exploring the conflicts between traditional Islamic values and imported European law. Filmed within a period of five years, the Al Djanat follows the lives of Ousmane’s family members as they navigate the conflict of deciding the fate of his legacy.

Soundtrack to a Coup d'État (P,V) 21 Jun 2024 20:30


Soundtrack to a Coup d`État [150 min]

This densely hyperactive masterpiece of documentary filmmaking tells the story of how the CIA weaponised African American musicians during the Cold War without their knowledge, using them and their music to extend American dominance around the world, particularly in the resource-rich Belgian Congo, where Patrice Lumumba had just been assassinated. Featuring many of the era’s key musical and cultural talents – from Miles Davis to Miriam Makeba to Nina Simone – the film is remarkable on many levels, providing a unique perspective on the 20th century and a scorching reproach to US foreign policy.

Rollaball (L, World Premiere) 22 Jun 2024 15:00


Rollaball [72 min] W/P + Q&A [10/15 min]

Rollaball documents Ghana`s ‘Skate Soccer’, played by a team of paraplegic men who maneuver on skateboards. It focuses on `Smallee` and `Dungu`, delving into their relationship as teammates, the struggles they face on the streets of Ghana and the pivotal role skate soccer plays in their lives.

Please join us for the post-screening Q&A.

The Friendship Bench (A, World Premiere) 22 Jun 2024 16:30


Rea Moeti-Vogt | South Africa | 2024 | 76 min

The Friendship Bench is a grassroots mental health initiative in Zimbabwe led by determined psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda. Through raw and powerful interviews, it delves into local struggles and cultural perceptions of mental health, highlighting the organisation`s role in providing non-judgmental support and destigmatising mental health issues in rural communities.

The Return (A, World Premiere) 22 Jun 2024 17:00


Mark Kaplan | South Africa/Germany | 2024 | 100 min
In The Return, South African writer Heidi Grunebaum returns to the German city of Hungen, from where her grandmother was forced to flee eight decades earlier to escape the holocaust. But the ‘return’ of the film title also refers to the return of violent racism to Germany – and beyond – except that it is now most predominantly directed at people of colour. While The Return is devastatingly candid about the current status of global politics, its deeply compassionate perspective also shows a way forward, one based on a simple recognition of the fact that we are all in this together.

Bye Bye Tiberias (A) 22 Jun 2024 19:30


Lina Soualem | France/Palestine/Belgium/Qatar | 2023 | 83 min + Panel 30min

This intimately made film chronicles the life and family history of the great Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas, most familiar to mainstream Western audiences for her role as Marcia Roy in the TV series Succession. Abbas has French and Israeli citizenship and was born to a family of Muslim Arabs in Nazareth, so her very existence is deeply rooted in historical complexity. Directed and narrated by Abbas’ daughter, Lina Soualem, this timely documentary is bathed in the empathy of the personal, even as it cannot escape the fact that the place that birthed so many of Abbas’ memories is under existential threat.

Eco-Cultural - Shorts Block 4 [45 min] 23 Jun 2024 10:30


Includes the below shorts:

Of Bread and Water
Dead Lagoon
Fading Footprints"

Beyond the Norm - Shorts Block 3 [53 min] 23 Jun 2024 12:00


Includes the below shorts:

An is the inspirational story of a visually-impaired music producer, Mxshi Molity.

Love Me True (S, N, IAT)
A groundbreaking documentary that uses animation to portray a weekend in the dating life of Laurence.

We are on the map (A)
A narrative documentary in which Santiago Rodriguez Cardenas uses Google Earth to tell the story of his neighbourhood

Love, Your Neighbour (PG)
A tongue-in-cheek love letter to the South African suburbia.

Echoes of Earth - Shorts Block 2 [66 min] 23 Jun 2024 13:30


Includes the below shorts:

Illusion of Distance (PG 10-12)
This film delves into the life of Boeta Allie, an 80-year-old coloured man who grew up in District 6.

Lobi Ekosimba (A)
A snapshot of daily life in DR Congo’s Goma, where people try to thrive despite the civil war raging in the background.

My Land is Burning (A)

Masiphumelele (PG 10-12)
Masiphumelele explores the history of an informal settlement established in the early 1980s.

Murmurs of Tragedy - Shorts Block 1 [65 min] 23 Jun 2024 15:00


Includes the below shorts:

Ek wil haar nie verloor nie (PG)
A heartfelt documentary which portrays Carol de Swardt’s voluntary death in Switzerland.

Oor my dooie liggaam (Over my dead body) (PG10)
Explores how children perceive and understand death.

I Did Not Ask for This! (V, SV, L, D, CT)
Tells the story of Tsakane Motshweni, who experienced sexual violence in a juvenile detention centre

Cape-Helena (A, World Premiere) 23 Jun 2024 17:30


Damian Samuels | South Africa | 2023 | 70 min

Cape-Helena explores the lesser known history of St Helena Island, a place where our narrator looks to for answers on his Ancestor’s past, but instead learns of the many other stories that lie there concerning colonialism, slavery and war.

Please join us for the post-screening Q&A.

Johatsu – Into Thin Air (A) 23 Jun 2024 19:30


Johatsu – Into Thin Air [86 min]

In Japan, around 80,000 people disappear every year. Most of them are eventually found or return home but thousands of others simply vanish. They are known as Johatsu, which means “the evaporated”. This beautifully photographed film explores the phenomenon, talking to people who have chosen to disappear and those looking for them, as well as the ‘night movers’ who help people to disappear and reset their lives in places where no one knows them. Johatsu provides an intimate window into the lives of those who have decided, for one desperate reason or another, that they need to start anew.

Please join us for the post-screening Q&A.

My Mercury (13NVL) 25 Jun 2024 18:30


Joëlle Chesselet & Piper Erlich | United Kingdom/South Africa | 2024 | 98 min

Set on the remote Mercury Island, off the coast of Namibia, My Mercury explores the life of Yves, a conservationist whose purpose is to protect the endangered gannet and penguin colonies on the island from the threat of invasive seals.

Please join us for a post-screening panel.

Our Land, Our Freedom (13V,SV,IAT) 26 Jun 2024 18:30


Meena Nanji & Zippy Kimundu | Kenya/United States/Portugal/Germany | 2024 | 100 min

A quest for answers results in so much more in the film Our Land, Our Freedom. We follow a Kenyan woman looking for her fathers’ remains, but finds herself swept up by the struggles of her people and their desire to reclaim their ancestral land.

Please join us for a post-screening Q&A.

Samar..Before the Final Picture (13V - World Premiere) 26 Jun 2024 20:30


Aya Ellboudy | Egypt | 2024 | 83 min

Set between Cairo and Dubai, Samar..Before the Final Picture explores a story of resilience and healing through Samar, a victim of an acid attack who devotes herself to helping another woman that has suffered the same fate.

London Recruits (13P) 27 Jun 2024 19:00


Gordon Main | South Africa | 2024 | 104 min

London Recruits seamlessly fuses dramatic reenactments with contemporary interviews and a rich pool of archive footage to tell the story of more than 60 young white people who were recruited by the ANC in London in the late 60s and early 70s to help revitalise the ANC Underground in South Africa through covert operations. This riveting and smartly edited film provides a visceral sense of what it must have been like for the young men and women who made the transition from swinging Londoners to undercover agents working for the African National Congress on the Southern tip of Africa.

Raw (Rou) (13) 28 Jun 2024 18:15


Adriaan de la Rey | South Africa | 2023 | 117 min

Raw (Rou) is a lamentation on the slow death of a South African rural town, Nthoroane, through an exploration of the myths, disasters, and miracles that surround the town’s history.

Please join us for a post-screening Q&A.

Death of a Saint (13LV) 28 Jun 2024 19:00


Patricia Bbaale Bandak | Denmark/Uganda | 2024 | 92 min

On Christmas Eve of 1989, a woman was killed by two intruders in her family home in Uganda. Decades later, her daughter Patricia Bbaale Bandak, returns in an attempt to heal the trauma that has followed her throughout her life.

Hollywoodgate (A) 28 Jun 2024 20:45


Sally Aitken | United States | 2024 | 94 min

When the US Army withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban immediately took over, declaring themselves the de facto government of the country. Just days later, Egyptian documentary maker Ibrahim Nash’at travelled with his camera and an interpreter to document the transition to Taliban rule. Having been granted permission to film on the condition that the image he presents of the Taliban is the one they want. Nash’at’s response is to simply film things as they are. A brave and complex work, Hollywoodgate is an indictment of both Taliban rule and the American occupation that preceded it.

Made in Ethiopia (13P) 29 Jun 2024 17:30


Xinyan Yu & Max Duncan | United States/Ethiopia | 2024 | 93 mi

“It’s just like China used to be”, says a Chinese businessman surveying a massive clothing factory in a sprawling industrial park in rural Ethiopia, where a dusty farming town finds itself on the frontier of globalisation. The park’s formidable Chinese director needs every bit of her considerable charm to push through an expansion that will deliver 30,000 new jobs but will also displace the local community. Meanwhile, Workinesh, a local farmer, and Beti, a factory worker, have staked their futures on the promise of prosperity. Filmed over four years, Made in Ethiopia explores China’s historic but misunderstood impact on Afric

Defectors (A) 29 Jun 2024 19:30


Hyun Kyung Kim | United States/South Korea | 84 min

This affectionate family portrait explores the history of a divided Korea from a deeply personal perspective. South Korean director Hyun kyung Kim, who now lives in the United States, grew up in a home where, as she says in the film, war is still being waged 70 years after peace was declared. Using her family narrative – along with contemporary footage of North Korean defectors – Kim explores how the past cascades through generations, and how imperialism and war cast long and disruptive shadows on the lives of both families and nations.

Mother City (13 LPV) - Best of the Fest 30 Jun 2024 13:30


Dir. Miki Redelinghuys & Pearlie Joubert
South Africa | 110 min | 2024

Three decades after the end of apartheid, Cape Town remains one of the world`s most unequal and racially segregated cities. Against this backdrop, the Reclaim the City movement emerged a collective of dispossessed people who are challenging the notion that urban centres are only for the rich. The film follows the activists over several years as they make one of the inner city`s abandoned spaces their home, and use it as a base from which to lobby for the needs of Cape Town`s working class. Beautifully observed, Mother City is a deeply human look at the politics of urbanism.

The Mother of All Lies (13 P) 30 Jun 2024 15:30


Asmae El Moudir | Morocco/Egypt | 2023

In this remarkable fusing of the documentary and memoir form, young Moroccan filmmaker Asmae El Moudir uses a miniature reproduction of the Casablanca neighbourhood she grew up in to reconstruct her memories of living under the iron rule of a grandmother so religiously devout that photographs were prohibited because they are haram. Inventively blending shots of the puppet stage with live footage, the film does a terrific job of evoking the viscerality of childhood. But Mother of All Lies is about more than growing up with an ultra religious grandmother. It is also about how fundamentalism – in all its forms – constrains our true selves and potential

Best of the Fest Slot 17:30 30 Jun 2024 17:30


Get ready for the highlight of the festival - the Best of the Festival Film screening slot! Stay tuned as we prepare to showcase the most acclaimed films at Encounters. The anticipation builds as we gear up to unveil the most popular film, set to be announced mid-festival. Keep an eye on this space for updates and be sure not to miss out on the cinematic magic that awaits!

 You might also like..

Purchasers of this event also bought tickets for the following…