INTRODUCTION FILMS FILM MAKERS CLOSE ENCOUNTERS


Akiedah Mohamed

Akiedah Mohamed was born in Cape Town and studied Religious Traditions.She started working at Community Video Education Trust (CVET), later joining Face 2 Face Films, working in production and directing numerous television documentaries, She continues to write and direct. Her acclaimed films include The Second Wife, selected for an Avanti Award and Malawian Kiss which won the Special Merit Jury Award at the Sithengi Festival in 1999.


Andrea Spitz

Andy is a filmmaker and social/ environmental consultant. Her work has focused on making development-related information available to communities affected by planned expansion or threatened with forced migration. In 2000, she won a VUKA Award for her public service announcement called Xenophobia. Voices Across the Fence was her first documentary for broadcast, developed through the Close Encounters Documentary Laboratory. It has been shown at local and international film festivals.


Beverley Mitchell

Beverley Mitchell is a respected independent filmmaker. Through her company, Ancestral Visions, she has produced and directed both documentary and television dramas. As a political activist in the 80's, Mitchell shared a police cell with MK operative, Coline Williams, and in the film Winter is July, she tells the story of her fallen comrade. Mitchell is passionate about history and identity recurring themes in her films.


Brian Tilley 

Brian Tilley was a founder member of the Afravision Video Collective with Laurence Dworkin and Nyana Molete. 

Born and raised in greater Joburg he went on to make a couple of films and now specialises in developing projects that seldom get made.


Charles Najman 

Charles was born in 1956 in Paris. He obtained a Philosophy degree at Tobian University in Paris. In the 1980's he spent most of his time working as a journalist for French cinema publication such as Cinematographe, L'Autre Journal and Le Nouvelles Litteraires. His book Haiti: Dieu seul me voit on the cultural history of Haiti, earned him the Villa Medicis Hors le Murs (Italy).Charles has also worked extensively in French television and has produced a number of documentaries. His acclaimed film, La Memoire Est - Elle Soluble dans L'eau? was screened at international festivals and won a number of awards. In 2002 he completed Royal Bonbon in Haiti for which he received the Jean Vigo Prize. Charles is sponsored by the French Embassy.


Cliff Bestall

Clifford Bestall's film career started in response to the emerging political activism of the late 70's, was invigorated by the 80's and early 90's to be followed by the calmer years when he could re-evaluate why he became a film maker in the first instance. Since 1994 he has made a number of documentaries that have attracted international acclaim and awards.


Gillian Schutte

Gillian Schutte is a writer, filmmaker, poet and healer. She has worked as a consultant with universities and organisations developing multi-media educational material. Part of this education methodology is based on incorporating 'storytelling' into academic learning environments. Recently she directed a series of documentaries, with husband Sipho Singiswa, on human rights issues, which have shown at local and international Human Rights film festivals.


Jack Lewis

Jack Lewis lectured in political economy before founding Idol Pictures in 1993 and the Out in Africa South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 1994. He has directed and produced numerous South African documentaries. He co-directed his first feature film, Proteus, with Canadian John Greyson in 2002 and produced Casa de la Musica, winner of the Encounters Jameson Best SA documentary Audience Award 2003. 


Jane Kennedy

Beginning with photography in the early 1980's, Jane Kennedy has worked in a variety of communication mediums through audio-visual, video and radio production and directing. She currently works as a documentary and corporate video producer/director and marketing consultant. The focus of her film and video production is in community development and transformation. Cinderella of the Cape Flats is her first broadcaster commissioned documentary.


Jihan El-Tahri 

Jihan was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and is a French and Egyptian national. In 1984, she received her BA (Honours) in Political Science, and in 1986 her MA in Political Science from the American University of Cairo. She worked as a news agency correspondent, TV researcher, and associate producer in Tunisia and Egypt between the years of 1984 to 1990. As a correspondent, Jihan covered politics in the Middle East. In 1990, Jihan started directing and producing documentaries for French television, and for the BBC since 1995. Jihan also offered professional support on four of the Steps for the Future films in 2001. The House of Saud is her latest documentary, which will screen at Encounters 2004. 

Jihan is a guest at Encounters courtesy of the French Embassy.


Karin Slater

Karin Slater has worked as a director and director of photography for 15 years. She specialises in films that communicate the knowledge of indigenous people and Africa's wildlife. Karin, has worked for the BBC, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. 

She was the winner of four South African Avanti Craft Awards in 2001 for her documentary Animal Powers.


Kethiwe Ngcobo

Kethiwe Ngcobo grew up in London where she studied Cultural Studies, after which she returned to South Africa in 1994. She has developed and produced a number of television programmes for the SABC and e.tv, and internationally for TVE, UNESCO and London Weekend Television. 

Some of her work has received critical acclaim, including a CNN African Journalist Award.


Khalo Matabane

Matabane is an award winning filmmaker whose films about South Africa have brought him both national and international interest. He has been invited to workshops and festivals around the world. This year he has given creative writing courses at the National Electronic and Media Institute of Southern Africa

His films include Young Lions, The Waiters ,Two Decades Still and Poetic Conversations.


Lauren Groenewald

Director producer, Groenewald began her career in broadcast journalism in 1991 as a radio producer for Channel Africa. She joined SABC3 as acting executive producer of The Works, commissioning and producing arts related documentaries. 

Since 2000 she has been a partner in PLEXUS FILMS, directing and producing documentaries including O'se Distrik 6, the award winning TV series.


Laurence Dworkin 

Laurence Dworkin was a founder member of the Afravision Video Collective, which documented struggles in South Africa in the eighties. 

He came to film and politics simultaneously but always dreamt of other things. He still makes films and farms Rooibos tea in the bokkeveld.


Marijke Jongbloed

Dutch director, Marijke Jongbloed has often been referred to as an Auteur Documentary filmmaker. Her graduation project in 1980, Step by Step, portrayed the highly competitive world of ballet students striving to reach the top. The film was chosen as the official Dutch selection for the Academy Award nominations in Los Angeles in 1981. Marijke has extensive experience in television and cinema, and has covered subjects ranging from current events to reportage forms. She was awarded the first prize at the pitch forum at IDFA -1998 for FATAL REACTION - the four-part odyssey on career women and their quest for a compatible partner. 

Marijke is sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Embassy and Holland Film.


Martina della Togna

Della Togna has been producing documentaries for ten years and is based in Cape Town, South Africa. Bloodroots has been a labour of love which started in 1997 and has finally taken shape in the form of a short documentary film. She is one of Rainbow Circle Films's directors and is involved in developing co-productions both locally and internationally. Della Togna is also actively mentoring emerging producers from townships based production companies.


Minky Schlesinger

Minky Schlesinger, former actress, started her career in the field of film as a writer on documentaries. In the mid 1990's she made her debut in directing with The Works on SABC3 and Women and War. Since then she has directed a number of other films for the SABC. She also has extensive experience as a writer and producer.


Omelga Mthiyane

Omelga Mthiyane studied Video Technology at Technikon Natal. She worked for Angel Films in Johannesburg as a researcher and production assistant. Through this experience the process of making a documentary intrigued her. She moved to Cape Town where she worked at Sithengi Film and Television Market. In 2001 she was selected for the Close Encounters Documentary Laboratory and was trained in making documentaries.


Onyekachi Wambu 

Onyekachi Wambu was born in Nigeria, which he left after the Civil War. He was educated at the University of Essex, and Selwyn College, Cambridge.A journalist, he was also editor of The Voice, Britain's leading Black newspaper. He has worked extensively as a freelance commentator, broadcaster and television producer. As a documentary producer for the BBC, Channel Four, and PBS and as an independent, his credits include Ain't no black in the Union Jack; Africa Out of Darkness, Black on Europe and Hopes on the Horizon. His publications include the anthology 'Empire Windrush: 50 Years of writing about Black Britain.' He is currently information officer at the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD).  

Onyekachi is a guest of the Festival courtesy of the British Council.


Peter Liechti

Born in Switzerland and educated in Art History at the University of Zurich, Peter Liechti has been working in films as a scriptwriter, director and cameraman, since 1984. He has made over 10 filmic representations, employing methods of documentary, conventional and experimental filmmaking. His films have won numerous awards, Torino Jury's Award and the Bern Film Award in for Grimsel. His documentary Singers Suitcase has won several awards including, Bern Film Award, the Viennale Public Award and the Zurich Film Prize in 1996. Lucky Jack: Three Attempts to Stop Smoking has been screened at IDFA and was short-listed for the Joris Ivens Award. 

Peter is a guest at Encounters courtesy of the Arts Council of Switzerland: Pro-Helvetia.


Riaan Hendricks

A Fisherman's Tale is his directorial debut, acclaimed as a film that "reminds me of the art of Picasso and Diego Riviera, who had used their art to animate the condition of the working people and their dignity" - Professor Ben Turok. 

At 28, Riaan's heart and eyes are set on bringing to life South African Cinema in its most evocative form.


Rudzani Dzuguda

Dzuguda grew up in the Northern Province, an area of constant cultural activity. He studied Drama and television production in Kwazulu-Natal.In Johannesburg he joined Summit television, working in production and as an editor. 

He worked on e.TV news as a cameraman and then on e-arts as a journalist. He recently formed his own film company. Mix is his first film.


Shedreck Mapasa

Mapasa joined the SABC in 2000 as a production assistant. He worked in live broadcast and in the planning and implementation of SABC projects. In this time, he established his company called Nomakhala Productions with a vision to make compelling films that will touch South Africans and the rest of the world. He left the SABC to start developing Art of Survival, which he produced and directed.


Shelley Barry 

Hailing from the Eastern Cape, Shelley Barry completed graduate studies in English and Drama at the Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape. She is currently based at Temple University in Philadelphia reading for her Masters (Fine Arts in Film) and where she has completed six short films. Her films are being screened on international film festivals in the United States and South Africa.


Sipho Singiswa 

Sipho Singiswa was actively involved in Arts, Culture and Skills Development for the government for 4 years. He has made numerous educational videos and documentaries for the SABC. He has been instrumental in the collaboration of cultural and media groups from Europe with South Africa, co-facilitating the International Film & Television Conference at SABC in 1995. His company, Hands-On Productions (with wife Gillian Schutte) specialises in making current affairs training documentaries.


Sunny Bergman

Sunny is part of a small group of Dutch filmmakers that are into experimental, non-conventional ways of making documentaries, fiction films, tv programmes and everything in between, using crossover styles.
Having studied politics and philosophy Sunny turned to journalism and then documentary. She directed Veldpost, an award-winning and shocking series about poverty in Holland. Since then she has turned her gaze and energy to films about the effect her parents divorce had on her, has been up a Spanish mountain in search of utopia and has experimented with vagina-tightening herbs in an effort to enhance her sex life. She will introduce screenings of her very amusing film Keeping it Real.


Teboho Edkins

23 year old Teboho Edkins was born in the USA, and grew up in Lesotho, Germany and South Africa. He completed a degree in Fine Arts majoring in photography at the University of Cape Town, and is currently studying French in Paris

Ask me, I am Positive is his first film.


Vaughan Giose

Vaughan Giose, independent filmmaker, grew up in Elsies River on the Cape Flats. He started up his own company, Rainbow Circle Films in 1999 and has produced and directed several documentaries, including the Ikon SA series which has featured at local and international film festivals. Giose is a hands on filmmaker, often shooting and editing his own films. He is also a founder member of Molweni, Cape Town's first township based film festival and video production facility.


Zulfah Otto-Sallies

Zulfah Otto-Sallies, a playwright, began her TV career co-directing a documentary for A&P Productions. In 1995, she worked as Director of CVET (Community Video and Education Trust) and served on the Cape Film and Video Foundation Board in 1997. 

Zulfah has written and directed numerous inserts and television documentaries. She was the director of the Cape Town World Cinema Festival in 2003.