Since its inception, the Cape Winelands Film Festival (CWFF) the festival has significantly grown in size and international participation, evolving into what is now known as the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival. Taking place from October 12th – 21st at the V & A Waterfront, the CTIFM&F will be a celebration of film from across the world, with films from over 50 countries being featured in competition.
Categories of films shown include features, documentaries and short films, many of which are award-winning and critical favourites at several of the world’s major film festivals such as Cannes, San Sebastian, Berlin, Chicago, Thessaloniki, Trømsø, Warsaw, Edinburgh, Göteborg, Transilvania, Cairo, Marrakech, Tribeca and Venice. Some of the films are even on the official list for consideration for the Best Foreign Language Film for next year’s Oscars. There will be a significant number of World and South African premieres at this year’s event.
Festival Director Leon van der Merwe explains, “one of the main objective of the festival is to provide a window into world cinema and to celebrate the voices of some of South Africa’s most independent film directors – fearless artists, who are creating visionary works against all the odds such as limited funding or narrow corporate interests.”
Selected films for this year’s inaugural CTIFM & F will include the extraordinary work by Fin Manjoo (Woodwind), John Warner (Indoda), Ferdinand van Zyl (The Recce) and Andre Odendaal (Gat in die Muur).
A strong component of this year’s festival is the short film category, that includes fascinating work by young South African directors such as Liana Hassim (Gracie), Jesse Brown (Post) and Devon Delmar (Under the Static). With a total of 641 short-films from 60 countries submitted for entry, the short film competition will include 44 short films that deal with relevant subjects as seen by young filmmakers today. Fuelled by artistic expression and limited only by their runtime, short films go beyond the range or limits of traditional storytelling. They are a significant and popular way filmmakers can connect with audiences. Van der Merwe explains further, “ The CTIFMF has always been proud to treat short films with the highest regard and to give a home to new projects for audiences to discover and enjoy.”
The sheer diversity of quality films on the menu will appeal to a range of movie-lovers. The Films From the Nordic focus includes magnificent coming-of-age films such as Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s Heartstone, the winner of 31 international awards, as well as Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Sparrows, a major winner at the Göteborg, San Sebastián and Chicago International Film Festivals. Both features are lyrical dramas about growing up in Iceland with the glorious landscapes as setting. The exciting Icelandic New Wave is further represented by Dagur Kári’s Virgin Mountain, a compassionate portrait of a misfit named Fusi, who is a 43-year-old man who still lives with his mother. The film won major awards at the Cairo, Marrakech and Tribeca Film Festivals.
The Nordic focus also includes several outstanding features and short films, with Finland’s official nominee for next year’s Foreign Language Film at the Oscars as part of the festival menu. Mikko Makela’s sensitive and moving A Moment in the Reeds depicts the story of Leevi, who returns to his native Finland for the summer to help his estranged father renovate the family lake house so it can be sold. This will be the first screening of the film after its world premiere at BFI Film Festival in UK.
Nils-Erik Ekblom’s Screwed is a Finnish drama film, where Miku and Elias find themselves and each other during a summer in the Finnish countryside. And then there is an outstanding film by Estonian director Janno Jürgens, They Say Tomatoes Love Rock Music.
The Panorama 360 (World Cinema focus of the festival) provides South African audiences with a great opportunity to view some international film highlights of the past few years. Diana Galimzyanova’s gorgeous The Lightest Darkness has been labelled as the first ever female-directed Russian film noir, with Galimzyanova utilising wonderful black and white cinematography to tell her story.
Dmitriy Meskhiev’s Battalion, that has won 18 international awards, is the story of the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death, formed as part of an ill-conceived propaganda ploy by the Russian Provisional Government in late May of 1917. K?vanç Sezer’s My Father’s Wings is set against the backdrop of construction activity promising to fill in the empty spaces of the urban landscape with entirely new neighbourhoods. This amazing self-assured debut contemplates the dignity of the individual within the context of modern Turkish society and should not be missed.
Bakyt Mukul’s visually stunning A Father’s Will has already won several awards at major film festivals such as Montreal and Bengaluru. Kyrgyzstan presented the film as the country’s submission in the Best Foreign-Language film category of the Academy Awards. The story is about Azat, a man who returns to Kyrgyzstan after living in the United States for 15 years to implement his recently deceased father’s will. Marjan Gavrilovski’s Horse Riders is a story that relies on the human happiness reflected trough three homeless young people.
The Cape Town International Film Festival is also proud to offer a strong LGBT focus this year. For the first time this section will have a special jury deciding on the Best LGBT film Award at the festival. In Tom of Finland, award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski brings to screen the life and work of one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture. Apart from the brilliant Heartstone, as well as A Moment in the Reeds, several other cutting-edge features will be screened: The First Girl I Loved, Boulevard Voltaire, Bride of Frankie, Centre of My World, Johnathan and LOEV, one of the first gay films from India.
Festival Director, Leon van der Merwe is delighted to present two unusual films at this year’s event, “Reginald Hudlin’s Marshall is about a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases, and the extraordinary documentary, Notes on Blindness, that has been described as a moving, intimate documentary, a triumph of sound and image, and a poetic examination of love, loss, memory and marriage.”
A full schedule of film screenings, opportunities to meet visiting directors and premieres will be available soon on the website: www.filmfestival.capetown