INTRODUCTIONFILMSFILM MAKERSCLOSE ENCOUNTERS

We have the pleasure of offering you over 60 films, everything from a 6 minute short to a 145 minute feature. Each year South African filmmaking becomes more diverse, in depth and challenging. Together with more training initiatives, more funding sources and more broadcaster slots for documentaries, we look forward to increased activity in the genre for many years to come. 

This year we present a record number of South African films, 26 recently produced films, three of which are World Premieres, and another 17 films from the vaults of the National Film and Sound Archives. As the industry grows so does the Festival. Last year almost 10 000 people attended the Festival and now we see documentaries entering the mainstream. 

Of the films in our line up three will have theatrical releases in South Africa. During the Festival Farenheit 9/11 will be released in South Africa. At the time of writing this, the film has opened in about 1000 theatres in the USA- a record for a documentary. Audiences want a real experience, documentaries are delivering this, and providing as entertaining as any feature film out there.

This year we celebrate a Decade of Democracy by screening 8 films from the SABC / NFVF / Binger series - Project 10; two of Afravision’s History Uncut; and a collection from the National Film and Sound Archives.

We are pleased to welcome a number of International guests (see pages 49-51), some of whom will be giving workshop seminars on documentary filmmaking. Please see page 6 of this programme to see where and when these will take place. 

We are very proud to welcome the Best of INPUT at Encounters brought to you by SABC. INPUT will bring the best of public broadcasting from around the world to our cinemas and provide the space for important discussions and debates. We look forward to a long a fruitful relationship with SABC and INPUT.

Close Encounters runs concurrently with the Festival in Cape Town. We are pleased to welcome 6 filmmakers who will be taking part in the Black on White series that will be produced in conjunction with SABC 1. 

In addition there will be the Preliminary sessions of the 2nd Documentary Co-production Forum. Here a large number of filmmakers will be pitching to a panel of commissioning editors, producers and distributors. Some projects will be selected to go forward to the DCF held at Sithengi in November.

Without funders we would not be able to host this special event. We heartily thank the National Film and Video Foundation and CEO Eddie Mbalo for supporting the Festival for the next three years. It is this kind of stability which will encourage other funders to support us. Thank you to both Jean September and the British Council, and Margriet Leemhuis and the Royal Netherlands Embassy who have been supporting the Festival for five years. A very special thanks to Mirjam Asmal and Pro Helvetia - Swiss Arts Council. They co-founded this Festival as the Swiss South African Festival in 1999 and are funding us this year. We welcome the support of Laurent Allary and the French Embassy, BASA and Holland Film. Thanks also to our commercial sponsors: Kate Harrison and Jameson Whiskey who, for the third year running, are supporting the Audience Award; Tempest/ Sixt Car Hire for providing cars; and TNT for moving our freight. A big thank you to Nico van der Merwe and Cinema Nouveau screened by Nedbank, our cinema partners, and Ronald Henry at Spectrum VNS for supplying the digital screening systems.

Steven Markovitz and Nodi Murphy
Festival Directors