As the fifth edition of the Joburg Film Festival, presented by Multichoice, nears its close, the official awards ceremony was held last night at The Theatre on The Square in Sandton, Johannesburg. The international jury named the Egyptian feature film “Feathers,” directed by Omar El Zohairy, as ‘Best Film’ of the festival. This absurdist tale about a patriarch transformed into a chicken has a lot to say about Egyptian culture and the role of women.
The evocative black and white Ethiopian documentary ‘Faya Dayi’, directed, written, starring and produced by Jessica Beshir took home the ‘Best African Film’ award. The film is a spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar that is immersed in the rituals of khat
‘Best Documentary’ was awarded to the explosive film “Nous, étudiants (We, Students”) from the Central African Republic from debut director Rafiki Fariala. In it, the filmmaker turns the camera on himself and his friends, capturing their everyday life as students of Bangui University. At once clear-eyed and poetic, they share their thoughts about their future in the Central African Republic.
This year’s prestigious jury comprised an international range of esteemed and respected filmmakers and industry experts including South Africa’s multi-award winning producer Carolyn Carew, Berlin based Lesotho film maker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, published author, columnist and poet Njoko Muhoho, Sundance alumni and filmmaker Mohamed Siam, and French / Egyptian director and producer Jihan El-Tahri.
“The jury process for JFF 2023 was an amazing meeting of minds of a highly experienced and diverse African team of filmmakers. During the deliberations, the diversity of knowledge and skills in storytelling came into play. The respect for fellow filmmakers’ craft was evidenced in the discipline and attention in which we screened and watched the films. The hours were long but as intense and pleasurable. The result was unanimous agreement on the three category winners of the JFF 2023. Given the opportunity, I and fellow jurors would do this again” commented juror Njoki Muhoho.
As part of the Awards Night, event partner the Multichoice Group also awarded a number of filmmakers for their excellence. The awards presented are as follows:
The Emerging Storyteller Award: Siphosethu Tshapu, (Milton Empire
The Global Storyteller Award: Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon (Tshedza Pictures)
The Fearless Storyteller Award: Chris Q Radebe, (Match Pictures)
The Anasi Award – Connie Chiume
Rising African Star Award – Star Kganki Mphahlele (Pula Bakgaga Media)
“Our partnership with The Joburg Film Festival is one that speaks to our ethos of being Africa’s most loved storyteller” affirmed Multichoice Group Executive Corporate Affairs Collen Dlamini and added “We thank the Joburg Film Festival for partnering with us once again as we celebrate the amazing storytellers that have inspired us. Congratulations to all those who were nominated and all the winners, you have shown us all what it means to embrace the art of storytelling,”
The Awards night also saw the announcement of the 2023 winner of the Young Voices film competition, the initiative of The Joburg Film Fest Youth and Audience Development Programme. This year the programme embarked on a province-wide skills transfer initiative that reached over 300 young people via a series of workshops in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, West Rand, Sedibeng, and Johannesburg. The workshops specifically targeted youth living in townships and involved industry professionals sharing their extensive experience and knowledge on the amazing craft of cinematic storytelling with enthusiastic audiences.
Aspiring filmmakers from across South Africa, between the ages of 18 and 25 were also invited to submit a video with the theme ‘Our Stories, Our Gold, as part of the Young Voices film competition. Amongst all the entries, The Young Voices Award went to Tshwane local George Temba for his short film “Young Shepherd.”
With one day left in the Joburg Film Festival, there are still plenty of excellent local and international films and documentaries being screened at Ster-Kinekor Sandton, Ster Kinekor Maponya, Cinema Nouveau Rosebank, Nelson Mandela’s Theatre of the Square and The Bioscope at 44 Stanley.
The festival’s official closing will see the screening of the South African comedic film “The Umbrella Men” directed by John Barker who will be in attendance at Theatre of the Square at Nelson Mandela Square at 16:30 pm.
Visit www.joburgfilmfestival.co.za for details and bookings.
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These are the JFF hashtags: #JoburgFilmFestival #JFF2023 #OurStoriesOurGold