Foreign film festivals a must for movie buffs

The 2009 Tri-Continental Film Festival, which runs from 11 September - 12 October 2009 at selected Ster-Kinekor and all Cinema Nouveau Theatres, aims to offer an outstanding selection of films from across the globe, including six world premieres, 19 African first showings and 22 South African films.

Many of the films have gained international recognition by winning accolades at major international film festivals.

"We are also pleased to confirm a number of screenings with filmmakers in attendance, which means that audiences will be offered the opportunity to engage award-winning international and local filmmakers in discussion about their respective films," says Rehad Desai, festival co-director, who adds that the festival kicks off with a bang at Soweto's Maponya Mall.

A collaborative effort, between Tri Continental Film Festival, Encounters South African International Documentary Festival and the Southern Africa Communications for Development (SACOD), the 2nd Biennial People to People Documentary Conference will be held in conjunction with the festival. The conference will run from 10-12 September in Johannesburg.

This year's festival will focus on a variety of human interest issues, which range from local and national revolutions in Mexico, Iran, Nepal and Burma to environmental disasters including Hurricane Katrina, lawsuits brought against Texaco in Ecuador, the global pollution of water and the impact of humanity's addiction to fossil fuels. The determination and stamina of women activists is also profiled in a number of films.

As 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the most recent turning point in world history, The Fall of the Wall- 20yrs later is a collection of films about the GDR presented in conjunction with The Goethe-Institut.
The local film industry's inspiring ascent is apparent in the crop of critically-acclaimed South African films that have been selected for the Festival.

Sea Point Days from Francois Verster, Akin Omotoso's Wole Soyinka: Child of the Forest and Lloyd Ross's The Silver Fez are highlights for documentary lovers.

For those in need of a dose of drama, the festival will host city wide premieres of Shirley Adams, a film by 25-year old Oliver Hermanus, which has just scooped three awards at Durban International Film Festival, including Best South African Feature and Best First Feature and which will only receive commercial theatrical release in 2010.

Also on offer is My Secret Sky, a whimsical journey film that features an accomplished cast of child actors, as well as Skin, an award- winning SA/UK co-production that tells the true story of a black woman born to a white family during the height of Apartheid and features Sam Neill and Sophia Okenedo in the leading roles. (see Festival & Award Watch in this newsletter for a list of cinemas and dates)

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