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CAPE TOWN WORLD CINEMA FESTIVAL (article first published : 2005-10-20)

The 4th Cape Town World Cinema Festival (CTWCF) takes place in and around Cape Town from November 11 to 20 and marks the 10th Anniversary of its business component, the Sithengi Film and TV Market, November15 to18. The CTWCF is the only film and television event of its kind in Africa.

This year the CTWCF is bigger than ever before and will showcase over 110 feature films, shorts and documentaries and will be screened at a variety of venues from Artscape Theatre Centre, Cinema Nouveau at the V&A Waterfront; V&A Amphitheatre and the Labia Theatre on Orange to Cinemax in Mitchell’s Plain, the Kismet in Athlone and the FAWU Hall in Gugulethu and the Zolani Multi-purpose Hall in Nyanga.

“The 2005 Festival will be completely different to last year,” says CEO & Festival Director Michael Auret. “It is my objective to increase audience participation in the Festival and grow audiences for film. For instance we have included Leon Schuster’s latest slapstick comedy Mama Jack. If by doing this more people look at the programme and go to other films, then we will have achieved something.”

This year’s festival will cater for the entire international spectrum of taste and culture that is encapsulated in Cape Town. Latest films by iconic directors such as Lars von Trier, Ousmane Sembene, Wong Kar-Wai and David Cronenberg complement an African Retrospective to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sithengi Film & TV Market as well as 50 years of African Cinema. There is even more, with focuses on Cuba and also Argentina. South African highlights include Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, Khalo Matabane’s Conversations of a Sunday Afternoon, Kevin de Toit’s Tau ya Soweto and Darrel Roodt’s much anticipated Faith’s Corner.

“The bling and glamour of the Oscars is reflected in the two daily Red Carpet Screenings of the movies that are in contention for the Annual Awards,” says Michael Auret. “These are held at 18h00 and 20h00 at Artscape and, yes there actually is a red carpet, and flashing cameras and screaming fans! This culminates in the Gala Awards night on November 19. So, if high-fashion and celebrity is your thing, Artscape is where you want to be on the evenings of November 12 to 20th (except November 19 - Awards Night – which is by invite only).

Cape Town will emulate the traditions of the Cannes Film Festival and the FESPACO Film Festival in Ouagadougou, the oldest film festival in Africa, in not only honouring the best from Africa but also the whole world. Indeed the wide range of films will include movies from Angola, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Japan, China, even Vietnam, and many more.

Equally exciting is the 10th anniversary incarnation of the Sithengi Film and Television Market, the business component that runs concurrent to the CTWCF. Once again top international co-producers, film financiers and sale agents will participate with their local counterparts and interface with aspiring young producers and new talent. This is where the buying and selling of movies, pitching of ideas for funding, workshops and master classes are the focus. This is where producers, directors, broadcasters, distributors and actors come from all over the world to network and make deals.

The list of high profile participants in this year’s Sithengi Film Market is phenomenal. Visiting the Conference Programme, Feature Film Co-Production Forum (FFCF) and Documentary Co-Production Forum (DCF) will, amongst many others be Joy Wong – Head of International Sales, The Works TSC Ltd, UK; Hal Sadoff – Head of International and Independent Film, International Creative Management Inc., USA and Zola Mashariki – Director of Production, Fox Searchlight Pictures, the independent arm of Twentieth Century Fox. This truly represents but a fraction of the industry luminaries who have confirmed their attendance.

It is agreed by all the major stakeholders that the annual Sithengi Film & TV Market has, since its inception been instrumental in building the international credentials of South African and African films. It is a dynamic platform for the exchange of ideas and forging new relationships between directors, writers and producers in the industry. This year there is great excitement in the South African film industry because of the international acclaim received by films such as u-Carmen eKhayelitsha, Drum, Yesterday and lately Tsotsi.

From November 12 to 18 at Artscape, 50 talents comprising registered film students and aspirant filmmakers from South Africa and Africa have been selected to participate in the second annual Sithengi Talent Campus, presented in partnership with the Berlin Film Festival. The highlight of the campus will be a Master Class led by acclaimed Argentinean New Wave filmmaker Lita Stantic. Most definitely the scale and spectrum of participation at Sithengi 2005 represents an emphatic show of confidence by the major international stakeholders in the potential of the budding South African and African film industry.

All the details of the Cape Town World Cinema Festival including screening dates and venues, plus information on the Sithengi Film and Television Market can be found on the Sithengi website: www.sithengi.co.za

Why not become a ‘Festival Friend’, and receive all the Festival updates plus the opportunity to attend sneak previews, by sending your contact details to friends@sithengi.co.za




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