New York City's highly acclaimed PictureStart Film Festival will soon be seen locally, on its first tour to South Africa, when it will bring its top-notch films to local audiences. South Africa is an emerging market, and the art of filmmaking is no exception.


The PictureStart Film Festival will have screenings in Johannesburg and Potchefstroom of some its top films. It will also work with and help support Kasi Movie Nights.

Starting this year, NYC PictureStart Film Festival (NYCPSFF) begins its visiting series, and first up is South Africa. In each new region, efforts will be made not only to screen the top quality short films New York audiences get to see every June, but also to present to local audiences the films being created in their own backyard.

PictureStart's first tour to South Africa will run from 22 to 28 April, with two nights in Potchefstroom at The Snowflake Building, and two nights in Johannesburg at The Bioscope in Maboneng Precinct. A roll-on effect is that one entire evening will be dedicated to the top four South African films being shown at the New York event, which runs from 2 to 6 June.

Founded in 2002 by Greg Segal, the annual NYCPSFF showcases short films from all over the world from emerging filmmakers as well as from those already established in the industry. Ben Arredondo, the executive director of NYCPSFF, says: "When people asked me, 'Why South Africa for a film festival?' my best answer was because I was approached, and there is interest and support there for the event. This is a great opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to get their work recognised and hopefully achieve their filmmaking dreams."

Each year, the festival receives about 250 to 300 short films submitted for competition. Arredondo says one of the reasons he decided to bring NYCPSFF to South Africa stemmed from his visit to a townships. "Most of these people have never seen a film. There are no cinemas available at all in these rural townships – I found another reason to host the film festival in South Africa."

NYCPSFF will also work with and help support Kasi Movie Nights, the mobile cinema initiative operating out of Joburg that brings locally produced films to townships, rural communities and places of need.

Tickets for PictureStart are R40 each and are available at the door in Potchefstroom, and at the door and online at in Johannesburg. Each night, half the programme will be South African short films and half international short films.

Festival times:

•22 April – Press screening night, six films; Johannesburg; 7-9pm (invitation only; free)

•24 April – Opening night and screenings, six films; Potchefstroom; 7-9pm; tickets R40

•25 April – Screenings and audience voting, six films; Potchefstroom; 7-9pm; tickets R40

•27 April – Screenings and audience voting, six films; Johannesburg; 7-9pm; tickets R40

•28 April – Closing night and screenings, six films; Johannesburg; 7-9pm; tickets R40