Thursday, February 01, 2007

AlT FilM - February 2007

Hi everyone,

First of all, please take note that THERE WILL BE NO alt film SHOW ON SUNDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2007. Don’t ask why. Full details of the other three weeks appear a bit lower down in this newsletter.

We are honoured to provide you the opportunity to see 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 (18 February 2007)

Another highlight in February is the animated short film “The Tale of How” by the BlackHeartGang, who raised the stake in South African animation by quite a few bars with this fascinatingly strange and strangely fascinating masterpiece (25 February 2006)

If you’re reading this you probably enjoy nice images entering your eyes. Moving images, most likely. So I’d like to mention that apart from the moving images at alt film this month, there will also be a large number of photographers’ work on display from 14 February to 14 March all over Cape Town, as part of the annual Month of Peoples Photography exhibition (MOPP) –more info at

For this reason, alt film will be screening a number of photography-related doccies in the next few weeks. Moving and still imagery combined!

A big Thank You to our contributors:

Zula Sound Bar at 194 Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa
7-9 pm (nearly) every Sunday
No cover charge
Cold and warm drinks provided by the bar, and food by 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 or someone you know would want to receive these newsletters via email, send us an email at with “YES PLEASE!” in the subject line.


4 February 2007

NO SHOW. Sorry.


11 February 2007

Terminal Bar

Dir: Stefan Nadelman
Duration: 23min
USA 2003

A fascinating pictorial history of a New York City bar whose customers, from the hard-drinking working class Irish to the coiffed African American gay male, continually transform its focus during its 10-year reign

Winner: Aspen Shortsfest 2003 – Best editing
Winner: Atlanta Film Festival 2003 – Grand Jury Award for Best Short film
Winner: Sundance Film Festival 2003 – Short filmmaking award

Healing Power of Nature

Title: Bonding with the Beast
Dir: Clifford Bestall
Duration: 24 minutes

Craig Bovim is a well-balanced guy. But he has a big chip on his shoulder. Four years ago he was almost killed and eaten by a Great White shark. Now he is the sharks’ greatest supporter, challenging the multi-million Rand shark cage-diving industry, which he sees as having a negative impact on the Great Whites.

Craig thinks the shark cage-diving industry is run by a bunch of macho businessmen. They certainly don’t take kindly to anyone, like Craig, threatening their livelihood. But Craig is intrigued by why people are compelled to get close to Great White sharks, even to touch them. It seems to him that cage-diving is nothing more than the meddling of men and he wants to protect the sharks from it.

As the film progresses, Craig begins to understand the seemingly unconscious human need to be reminded that our true home is amongst the creatures big and small that share the earth with us. Humans need to find ways of understanding that we too are part of the food chain. And Craig, given his experience, understands this better than most.

‘Bonding with the Beasts’ throws light on the extraordinary and unexpected process known as biophilia: the uncanny ability special encounters with nature have to heal us.

Freedom Days

Dir: Quinton Lavery
Duration: 12min

Paul’s girlfriend gets killed during an attempted hi-jacking. He is haunted by the memories of the night that it happened. Keenan, a young coloured medical student, is having doubts about his multi-cultural relationship with Carla, a young white artist who works in a curio shop. All their lives collide when Paul goes on a race-based killing spree.

Critic's Choice film, 2nd Annual AFDA Cape Town Film Festival.
Nominated for 11 AFDA awards 2005.
Won Best 3rd Year Film Production, 2nd Annual AFDA Cape Town Awards.
Official Selection 6th Apollo Film Festival 2006, Victoria West, South Africa.
Official Selection 14th Chilean International Short Film Festival 2006, Chile.
Special Mention Jury Award – 14th Chilean International Short Film Festival.
Official Selection 5th Annual Kingdom Film Festival 2007, Durban .
Nominated for Best Student Film - 5th Annual Kingdom Film Festival 2007, Durban.

The Making of “The Tale of How”

Dir: The BlackHeartGang
Duration: 10min

The Tale of How

Dir: The BlackHeartGang
Duration: 4.5min

“Otto is deaf
Otto means eight
Otto means death
To the Dodo's he ate”

“The tale of how” tells the story of the Piranha birds (or Dodo’s as they would be known to you). The piranhas are born from the blossoms of a tree growing on Otto the monsters head (Otto is a giant octopus with a broken heart.) Otto is insane and eats the piranhas. They're not happy and decide to escape. A very clever, wise and magical being then appears to them… Eddy the Engineer! Eddy is a white mouse, with flowers for a tail and he sails around the ocean on a bunch of bananas. Together they trick Otto, and the piranhas escape.

If Hieronymus Bosch and Terry Gilliam had a lovechild, maybe it would resemble this film. The visuals are a lush and organic pastiche of 2D and 3D elements, with a hand-crafted attention to detail that makes every still a joy to behold.

Equally impressive is the soundtrack. Composed and recorded by The Blackheart Gang, the music was written especially for this piece, and its lyrics tell the story in an operatic style that is refreshingly original.

Best Independent Film at the Bradford Animation Festival Awards 2006
Named in the top ten at Nicktoons Network Animation Festival 2006
Received an honorary mention at the Woodstock Film Festival 2006
Won Best Animation at the Right Eye Short Film Festival 2006
Selected as the opening flagship piece for Resfest 10’s world tour

Music video for "Running With Scissors" – Womb

Dir: Quinton Lavery
Duration: 4min

Manga, animation, shorts, music


18 February 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
SA 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


25 February 2007

Naked States

Dir: Arlene Donnelly Nelson
Duration: 80 mins
USA 2000

Photographer Spencer Tunick travels the U.S. in search of volunteers to pose nude for his outlaw photo-shoots, all of them done out in public and often without legal permits. This documentary chronicles Tunick's logistic nightmares, his brushes with the law, and the free-spirit-volunteers who discard their inhibitions for his artistic vision, and their own personal concepts of self-gratification

There are moments of undeniable beauty and grace in witnessing some of the transformative tales of those who freely posed nude for photographer Spencer Tunick during his five-month trek across the United States. One man communicates his own epiphany post photo shoot by noticing that being naked doesn't really reveal who a person is - it's the clothes, rather, by which a person defines himself.

In elevating his work above porn, Tunick often photographs the nude in large numbers. Placing the subjects against the background of daily life, amid urban streets or modern architecture, and in glorious black and white, some moving and timeless images have been created. The body of work Tunick has produced through this documented project alone will serve as noteworthy in the timeline of 21st century artisans.

Overlooking pacing and editing, the film (which oftentimes resembles an episode of MTV's "Road Rules") stands as a testament to artistic integrity and persistence of vision.

Winner: AFI Fest 2000 – Documentary Award
Winner: Florida Film Festival 2000 – Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature


Dir: Quinton Lavery

Duration: 24min

“Barren” is a murder/mystery in which three characters, a Cop, a Security guard and his Wife, come together to find out if they are suspects, or victims, in the serial murder of three pregnant women. In 24 minutes of tension-filled South African life that shows the hardships of living in a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world and at least three serial killers active today, “Barren” takes a step back to examine this in a way that brings mystery and suspense to the audience in the most emotionally entertaining way possible!

Nominated for 2 AFDA awards 2006.

Won Best 4th Year Film Production, 3rd Annual AFDA Cape Town Awards.

Official Selection 5th Annual Kingdom Film Festival 2007, Durban .

Manga, animation, shorts, music

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