FILM FEST IS on track

THE Encounters Documentary Film Festival, the future of which hung in the balance just a few weeks ago, is back on track.

THE Encounters Documentary Film Festival, the future of which hung in the balance just a few weeks ago, is back on track.

A number of agencies as well as individuals have heeded the call for help and have offered financial relief to save the festival.

The SABC withdrew its support for the documentary festival after saying that the public broadcaster was insolvent and R800million in the red.

For starters, the festival had to move from its Johannesburg base to Cape Town following financial commitment from the Cape Film Office.

Then, when the SABC said at the 11th hour that it would no longer be able to fund the event, festival director Mandisa Zitha sent out an SOS.

Now the festival is going ahead as originally planned from July 2 to 19 at the Nu Metro cinemas at the V&A Waterfront in the Mother City.

The programme of 40 films includes 15 world premieres, 14 multiple international-award winning films, Q&A sessions with 21 guests and three panel discussions. In addition, there will be two master classes.

The festival's new financial supporters include Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Jan Vrijman Fund/ IDFA, the Africa Centre and individuals such as Carrol Boyes, Mfundi Vundla, William Kentridge and many others who have joined the Friends of the Festival club.

"We are grateful for the support shown to the festival by the industry, our funders and the press. It has added relevance to what we are doing," said Zitha.

She is making a last-minute appeal to the public for donations and to join the Friends of the Festival club. Encounters is asking for donations of R1000 or more by next Thursday.

In return for their help, Encounters will offer tickets to friends for the opening night of the filmRewind, which is directed by Liza Key.

It is about the creation of Philip Miller's acclaimed cantata - Rewind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony. Both Key and Miller will attend the screening.

In addition, Encounters will give friends 10 complimentary tickets for festival screenings.

"Friends will be acknowledged on the Encounters website, unless of course they wish to remain anonymous," said Zitha.

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