All films at Encounters 2022 will be shown in selected cinemas in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 23 June to 3 July, 2022. Here’s a heads-up on the first four South African films to be screened at this 24th edition of the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival.

The opening night movie will be a homage to Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Music is My Life. This will be its world premiere.

Directed by emerging young filmmaker Mpumi “Supa” Ngcuka, a graduate of the Chelsea Arts School, New York Film Academy and the AAA, who has worked predominantly in commercials, Music is My Life is the ‘official story’ of the unique isicathamiya (a capella) sound.

Encounters 2022Archival footage

Music is My Life tells how Shabalala overcame adversity to follow his dream and spread his  vocal style, rooted in the Zulu Nation, to the rest of the world – creating an inimitable cultural legacy. It includes unseen archival footage and exclusive interviews with Joseph and the Shabalala family and stars like Paul Simon, Oprah Winfrey and Dolly Parton.

Two of South Africa’s premier documentary filmmakers, Emmy Award nominated Simon Wood (Container; Scenes from a Dry City) and Emmy Award winner Francois Vester (The Lions Trail and Shahrazad) tackle a story that has gripped South Africa from the late ‘90’s until today. Girl Taken reveals the story of parents whose baby was stolen at birth, miraculously found 17 years later and then “lost” again in the messy aftermath of the discovery. The much-covered story is about the disappearance of 3-day old Zephany Nurse, who later, in an unbelievable coincidence, meets her sister at school, ultimately revealing what had transpired. The film tells a tale of hope and loss, of a broken family battling their way towards finding togetherness again, and explores the concept of nature and nurture.

Filmmaker Jane Lipman brings us an intimate portrait of George Bizos. The film documents his journey to becoming a human rights and constitutional lawyer through the brutality of the apartheid years.

Director Lipman was given unprecedented access to previously unseen national audio and video archive material with his family and at the Rivonia Trial. The importance of the rule of law is highlighted with interviews with ex Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi.

African Moot
African Moot

African Moot

Shameela Seedat, whose award winning film about Thuli Madonsela entitled Whispering Truth to Power opened Encounters in 2018, returns to the festival with African Moot, straight from  Canadian documentary festival, Hot Docs. African Moot delves into the complexities of the global legal world, as aspiring lawyers gather for the annual African Human Rights Moot Court Competition.

More films will be announced in the upcoming weeks. The following cinemas will be screening the 2022 Encounters’ line-up: In Cape Town – The Labia Theatre, The Bertha House Mowbray, and The Bertha Movie House Isivivana Community Centre Khayelitsha. In Johannesburg – The Bioscope Independent Cinema and CineCentre Killarney.

What: Encounters South African International Documentary Festival 2022
When: 23 June – 3 July 2022