Wednesday, February 28, 2007


ALt FILm – March 2007

Hallo everyone

This month alt film will finally bring you the much-acclaimed “And There in the Dust”, which recently also won the award for Best Short Film at the 2006 South African Film and Television Awards. Unforeseen events in February caused a cancellation of the planned screening, so we moved it to the second week of March. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused by this confusion.

But the opening act for March is the ICEBOX 02 film screenings. This portion of ICEBOX will feature a number of short films from home and abroad. Read more about this visual arts feast and the full program for ICEBOX at (alt film is only involved with one aspect of the bigger picture)

alt film will be screening two more photography-related doccies this month, to link up with Month of Peoples Photography exhibition (MOPP) which concludes in March (MOPP info at

For those of you who missed the doccie about Long Street a few weeks ago, there’s another chance to see this film at the end of the month at alt film, along with two short student films.

March is also the start of the X-CAPE exhibition, which runs until May all over Cape Town. alt film will be hosting the film screening aspect of this extended exhibition in April – more news about the films in the next newsletter, and more info on X-CAPE at

A big Thank You to our contributors:

* Lara Foot Newton
* Nicky Newman J
* Hein Bekker from ICEBOX and The Liquid Fridge, as well as all the ICEBOX participants
* Sonja du Plessis
* Terry Westby-Nunn

…and a special greeting to our friends in Denmark :-)

Zula Sound Bar at 194 Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa
7-9 pm every Sunday
Free entry
Cold and warm drinks provided by the bar, and food by the restaurant

see you there!
alt film

alt film was established to collect and screen* film being made by creative South Africans today, as well as work that most powerfully incorporates and describes the inevitable evolution of the medium.

· ps if you know someone who wants to receive the alt film newsletters once a month, let them send us an email to with “YES PLEASE!” in the subject line.


4 March 2007

ICEBOX 02 Cape Town

Liquid Fridge in conjunction with the CAPE AFRICA PLATFORM and the Multimediations CAPE Lab space presents a festival of contemporary creativity in audio/visual art. With the focus on the electronic, open and South African, ICEBOX combines music, film, video and interactive media through a programme of screenings, performances, club nights, workshops and an exhibition.

ICEBOX 02 Cape Town features music-makers, free thinkers and electronic tinkerers Bernhard Loibner (Austria), Brendon Bussy,, CY Cowboys, Garth Erasmus, Heather Ford (Johannesburg), Dean Henning (Durban), Julian Jonker, Rebecca Kahn (Johannesburg), Microstripe, MTKidu (Johannesburg), Radioboy, Story Boy, and many other proponents of eclectic sounds and plush pixels.

Films to be screened at alt film:

Breyani and The Councillors

Dir: Sally Giles
Duration: 22 min
SA 2006

Social movements are grassroots organisations that have no access to popular media. This documentary tells their story.


Dir: Daniel van der Merwe
Duration: 15 min
RSA 2006

André is a 17-year-old trolleyboy who pushes trolleys in a shopping mall in Mitchells Plain.

Candomblé - The Dance of the Gods

Dir: Frédérique Zepter
Duration: 43 min
FRA 2006

It is one of the world’s oldest religions. Known as candomblé in Brazil, voodoo in Haiti and santeria in Cuba. It came to the New World with the slaves.
Candomblé uses music as a call to the other world that forces the gods to come down to earth. And these gradually moved from the sacred to the profane: a lot of South American music today still uses the gods’ favourite rhythms.
This film takes the music as a starting point to enter the secret world of the religion, taking its farthest imprint, samba, to get to the traditional candomblé houses of Rio de Janeiro, where we will discover how man communicates with the gods through music, trance, dance and divination.

El Canto Del Grillo – The Song of the Cricket

Dir: Dany Campos
Duration: 18 min
ESP 2006

Joseba Perurena wants to start a new life together with his girlfriend. However, cutting ties with the past is never an easy thing to do especially when the consequences have not been fully considered.

Between You and Me

Dir: Patryk Rebisz
Duration: 5 min
USA 2005

The film captured an international audience and prestigious awards for its innovative approach to still photography. The technique utilised the burst mode - a photo camera’s ability to record a rapid succession of images - in telling a chance encounter. A young woman, snapping photographs in a big city, is attacked and loses her camera. The assault sparks the attention of a young man whose attempts to save her are in vain. In the end, her lost camera becomes his only clue to finding her.

SeNef Mobile Grand Prix at Seoul Film Festival 2006
Best Experimental Film at the Tiburon International Film Festival 2006
Best Cinematography at the Gotham City International Film Festival 2005
Best Short Film at the Vilnius Independent Film & Video Festival 2005
Best Short Film in the Experimental Film category at Big Apple Film Festival 2005

Animations by Tessa Comrie (RSA)


11 March 2007

The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia

Dir: Jennifer Baichwal
Duration: 75min
Canada 2002

The meaning of art itself comes into question in this documentary about Shelby Lee Adams' controversial photos of families in Appalachia. This film considers aspects of artist, subject and critical response. It also brings to light the imprint that art photography and film create in our conscious

Like many photographers, Shelby Lee Adams has a favoured subject, and in his case he prefers to turn the lens of his camera on the poor Appalachian families of Eastern Kentucky. As a fellow Kentuckian, the Appalachians are an area and a people Adams knows well, but while his subjects usually live in devastating poverty, Adams was the son of a wealthy and privileged family, and as his work began to attract a worldwide audience, many began to question if Adams was attempting an honest portrayal of lives lived under near-tragic circumstances, or if the photographer was exploiting the naiveté of subjects and playing on stereotypes of the poor in the Deep South. The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia is a documentary which offers an in-depth look at Adams and his work, as well as the people he documents and the perspectives of other photographers

And There in the Dust

Dirs: Lara Foot Newton & Gerhard Marx
Duration: 8 minutes
RSA 2006

A highly creative animated film that combines various techniques such as stop motion, 3-D animation and live performance, for a small film denouncing the terrible story of Baby Tshepang, a baby girl of only nine months old who died in 2001 after being raped. The case brought to light hundreds of other just as horrible cases. South Africa was deeply shocked. A narrator’s voice tells us how people were upset and the impossibility of explaining such an act. Animation helps to deal with such an atrocious issue with great delicacy.

Winner: Best South African Short Film (Durban International Film Festival 2005)
Winner: Best Short Film (The South African Film and Television Awards 2006)

Manga, animation, shorts, music


18 March 2007

Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids

Dirs: Zana Briski & Ross Kauffman
Duration: 85 mins
India/USA 2004

In India, red light districts are booming in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Calcutta where millions of transient men live and work far away from their homes and wives. The oldest and the largest of these is Sonagachi in Calcutta where the women have organized into a sex trade union of more than 5,000 active workers and have spread awareness about AIDS and HIV, making Sonagachi one of the few red light districts in the country that does not accept clients without condoms. Subject to a class system that puts them on the lowest rung of Indian society, the mostly illegitimate children of the sex workers are also expected to "join the line" when they reach a certain age. Minor girls are the most sought after in the brothels and secure the highest price, making it very difficult for the parents to let them leave, especially when the only other alternative may be the starvation of their entire family.

In 1997, photographer Zana Briski was assigned to capture images of Sonagachi. While the women were reluctant to let her into their lives, the children quickly responded and Briski became a resident of the brothel for five years. During that time, she provided the children with point and shoot cameras, set up classes in photography, and trained them to document the harsh reality of their daily lives. The result is the Oscar nominated documentary Born Into Brothels, a film that takes us inside the squalid brothels and allows us to see the world through the eyes of some of its most vulnerable residents, five girls and three boys, ages ten to fourteen. Shot in dazzling color using a digital camera, we get to know the children through their photos.

There is Kochi, age 10, who is strong, resilient, tough, and sensitive. Avijit, age 12, seems to be the most talented of the group. He draws, paints, takes pictures and, through Briski's patient efforts, was able to obtain a passport to be a part of a photo-editing panel in Amsterdam. Shanti, age 11, is most eager to learn but is troubled and often feuds with her brother Manik. The others: Gour, Puja, Tapasi, and Suchitra all show a unique ability to find beauty in their ugly environment. The film documents Briski's uphill efforts to place the children in boarding schools to escape the cycle of poverty and exploitation. Some manage to find places in the schools but the biggest obstacle is shown to be the children's own mothers and guardians, often protective out of the sheer necessity for survival.

Born Into Brothels is a testimony to the transforming power of art and of one individual's ability to make a difference. Showing the children's art to Western audiences has helped to raise money for the Sonagachi children's education. It may also serve to make people more aware of the potential talent of millions of other third world children who struggle daily for existence on the streets, the orphanages, and the refugee camps of our teeming world.

Winner: Best Documentary Feature (Academy Awards 2005)
The list of other awards won is too long to fit in here.

Manga, animation, shorts, music


25 March 2007


Duration: 10 minutes
Dir: Sonja T. du Plessis
Genre: Short Documentary (Student Film)
RSA 1999

“Goema/Kaaps/Afrikaans” explores the musical and poetical language of performance-poet Loit Sols. The documentary investigates the formation and transformation of Cape Flats Afrikaans and displays Sols’ strong views about Afrikaans in the past & present political climate.
Interview in Afrikaans, currently no subtitles.
Filmed in 1999 as a student initiative -a 10 minute extract will be shown of this visual thesis.

Dawning Light

Dir: Sonja T. du Plessis
Duration: 10 minutes
Genre: Short Film/Psychological Drama (Student Film)
RSA 1999

Dawn is plagued by a memory of her past. In a dream she journeys into the basement of her childhood. She rediscovers an old letter and confronts the fear that haunts her most. A story of forgiveness, created as a product of an Xperimental Digital Video Production Workshop.
“She her self was not the light, she only came as a witness to the light.”

Tripping Down Long Street

Dir: Terry Westby-Nunn
Duration: 48min
Genre: Documentary

Spliced Knees Pictures is delighted to release Tripping Down Long Street, a 48-minute documentary, which was broadcast on SABC2 on 18 January 2007.

Long Street is the New South Africa. It flows through the centre of Cape Town and contains within its current (surging between the young and the old, the black and white, the African immigrants and the locals) all the hope, fear, sadness and small triumphs of a country coming to terms with its past and its fragmented present.

The documentary takes a haphazard trip up (and down) Long Street, Cape Town. We explore the Long Street lives of various characters who find themselves living, working or partying on the street. It’s a snapshot into where Long Street is now

Legendary tailor, Mr Price, who owns a chaotic shoe-box sized shop on Long Street and has been on Long Street for 32 years, is the thread that holds the film together: “Things are always changing on Long Street,” he says, “everything changes”

For the last half century, Long Street has been a bohemian hang out, where the artisans of Cape Town congregated. There were electricians, a dairy, a boerewors factory... Only a handful of artisans remain, such as the affable Italian barber, Carmine Mosca, Mr Price the tailor with his quiet ways, and Marge, the scatty masseuse from the Long Street Baths. Significantly the film documents the last of the Long Street artisans, and looks at the urbane new culture that is taking root on Long Street.

Manga, animation, shorts, music


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