Film Festivals

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Julian CleophasMarch 16, 20163min40

BIFF, Beirut International Film Festival, Middle East Film Festivals, Africa's 1st Film Blog, Zoom-in, African Film, Lebanese film festivals, Film Festivals, Beirut,

Lebanon’s oldest and most prestigious film festival, the Beirut International Film Festival takes place on the 5 – 13 October 2016. The annual festival celebrating its 16th edition has become known as a “Directors festival”, providing local and international filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their work to the world. With a vision to promote young Lebanese filmmakers, the festival has grown into a platform for the promotion of human rights and freedom of expression. The festival concludes with a glamorous awards ceremony presenting festival winners with Gold, Silver and Bronze “Aleph” awards in the respective categories of Feature film, Short film, Documentary and Special Jury Prize.

BIFF, Beirut International Film Festival, Middle East Film Festivals, Africa's 1st Film Blog, Zoom-in, African Film, Lebanese film festivals, Film Festivals, Beirut,

The Beirut International Film Festival calls on local and international filmmakers to submit their feature, short and documentary films for the 2016 festival. International filmmakers with feature and documentary films are the only films eligible for submission. As for the Middle East, Iran and Turkey are included in the Middle Eastern short and documentary film categories. Check out the official Beirut International Film Festival 2015 promo video below…

For more info on the film festival check out the links below:

Submissions Deadline: June 2016

Film Submissions





Julian CleophasFebruary 24, 20164min40

Pearl International Film Festival, PIFF, Uganda Film Festival, Africa's first film blog, African film

The Pearl International Film Festival (PIFF) founded by local film distributors Moses Magezi and Usama Mukwaya in 2011, is an annual film festival held in Kampala, Uganda, touted as one of the biggest events on the Ugandan film calendar. The Pearl International Film Festival runs over 1 week taking place at the National Theatre, concluding with a glamorous awards evening at the end of the festival.

“The main reason that inspired the founding of PIFF was to get a platform that would finally grant   local filmmakers (usually low end, third grade films) the opportunity to have their work seen by the public” says J.B Busuulwa, filmmaker and close associate of PIFF organisers.

The Pearl International Film Festival attended by various film stakeholders concludes with an awards evening offering filmmakers 14 award categories that include:

Lifetime Achievement Award

Best Producer

Best Young Actor

Best Young Actress

Best Editor

Best Actor/supporting role

Best Actress/ supporting role

Best Short Film

Best Screenwriter

Best Director of Photography

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Feature Film

Pearl International Film Festival, PIFF, Uganda Film Festival, Africa's first film blog, African film

PIFF aims to raise the profile of films by local filmmakers, contribute towards local cinema development and celebrate Ugandan cinema on a national level. In addition to the film festival, scheduled programs taking place include:

  • Film Awards
  • Film Workshops
  • Opening and Closing Night
  • Student Programs
  • Exhibitions

Submission deadline for the 2016 Pearl International Film Festival is 18 March 2016 and must be submitted at the locations listed below:

For more information on dates and submitting at PIFF click here


Thiru NFebruary 18, 20163min40

MZANSI WOMEN FILM FESTIVAL has opened its call for film submissions of its 3rd edition, closing date 31 May 2016. Festival will be hosted in Johannesburg in August as part of Women’s Month celebration. Festival’s focus is to screen films by and about Women.

Submit your: Features, Short Films, Documentaries, and Animations to

Mzansi Women Film Festival

In partnership with…







Thiru NFebruary 9, 20165min30

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, will once again host and facilitate South African film industry presence at the Cannes International Film Festival. This year’s festival has been scheduled to run from 11th until the 22nd May 2016.

Cannes 2016 - 69th Festival

The NFVF is putting together a festival catalogue of projects from the 2015/16 period seeking either completion, finance or sales agents for publication. Along with other activities, the NFVF will also host a Sales Event aimed at presenting projects to international buyers and agents.

Through the catalogue, sales event and screening to industry experts, some of South African films showcased at last year’s festival have travelled around the globe, signed by international distributors as well as won various awards. These films include Ayanda produced by Terry Pheto’s Leading Lady Productions and Real Eyes Films, which was picked up for distribution in the US by American director, screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor Ava DuVernay; a film by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, Necktie Youth which premiered at festivals including Berlinale, Tribeca, Sydney and won Best director and Best Feature at the Durban International Film Festival; and Bordering on Bad Behaviour by ZenHQ Films which also scooped various international awards.

Call for projects- Guidelines:

Independent filmmakers with projects that have fully developed projects (final polished scripts) or completed projects that are ready for sale are invited to submit synopses of projects for NFVF to consider for inclusion in the catalogue and/or pitch at the sales event.

Filmmakers must email the following information (application form is not required):

  • Full synopsis of the project
  • Tagline
  • Two high resolution digital film posters (2000mmx2000mm and 610mmx 910mm)
  • Trailer/Promo (where available)
  • High resolution production stills (where available)
  • Requirements (Funding/Sales Agent/Distribution)

Failure to submit all the requirements will result in application not being considered.
The NFVF reserves the right to select qualifying films for the Sales Event or catalogue.

Deadline for submissions is Friday, 26 February 2016. For project submissions email Thandeka Zwana



Julian CleophasDecember 22, 20153min70

Zoom-In, Machakos Film Festival, Africa's 1st film blog, Dr Alfred Mutua

The Machakos Entertainment Centre for Film, Media, Music and Arts (MACHAWOOD), celebrated the success of Kenya’s first short film festival, the Machakos Film Festival that took place on the 12 December 2015. The entertainment centre started by Dr Alfred Mutua, Governor of Machakos County, was established to harness and create world class entertainment from Kenya.  After submissions, the top ten films were shortlisted for screening at the Machakos People’s Park, where the best four films were selected. All the films selected were published into DVD and circulated by Machawood, along with the top films being aired on local TV stations. The winner of the first Kenyan short film festival was “Indulge Me” by Ian Kithinji, taking home 1 million Kenyan shillings. Watch all the selected Machakos Film Festival films below.

Indulge Me by Ian Kithinji (Winner)


Mwikali by Mwangi Anthony (1st runner up)


My Ndia Nduku by Aleks Kamau (2nd runner up)


Get Some Money by Koi Ngunjirin (3rd runner up)


Beyond by Sahil Dhirajlal Gada


Poison Lily by Charles Kuria


Best Man by Michael M. Njeri


A Summer’s Tale by Brian K Whitney


Home by Mark Maina


Kanini The Oracle of Masaku by Ronald Mwarogo


Julian CleophasOctober 26, 20154min50

12138389_514455935388038_7980746237258208899_oThe Flats Festival of Film celebrated its debut film festival on the 22 October 2015, transforming public spaces into screening venues on the Cape Flats, which also included a screening at Cape Town City Central Library.

The festival running from the  22 – 25 October 2015, focused on films that highlighted serious social issues, screening “Luister”, “Tik time bomb” , “Stukkend”, “Southern Delivery”, “Indians can’t fly”, “As I am” and “Cinderella of the Cape Flats”.

Free film workshops accompanied by panel discussions after every screening, provided festival goers and emerging filmmakers the opportunity to interact with artists, filmmakers and industry professionals.

“I want to create a platform that showcases the work of emerging black filmmakers from the Cape Flats and beyond, allowing audiences to critically engage with the work of filmmakers. I want to develop and mentor new filmmaker’s of colour into the Cape Town Film Industry, which is still very white and exclusionary,” says “Flats Festival of Film” founder Denver Breda.

Zoom-in, Flats Festival Of Film, Africa's 1st Film Blog,

The films screened at the festival was a call to action for audiences, community leaders and community members to collectively handle and change the social issues that currently affect society. Festival founder Denver Breda, believes that film plays an important role in being a catalyst for change, by using video as a form of activism.

Flats Festival Of Film Workshop

If you are interested in contributing financially or providing sponsorship to the Film Fest you can assist by supporting their crowd funding campaign “Friends of the Flats Festival”.

For any further information connect with Flats Festival of Film on the details listed below:




Julian CleophasAugust 14, 20154min30
 Melbourne Documentary Film Fest, Film Festivals, Film, Documentary Film Festivals
The inaugural Melbourne Documentary Film Festival (MDFF), Melbourne’s only distinct documentary film festival, with a mission to discover and promote independent Australian documentaries, runs from the  9 – 11 July 2016. The MDFF will feature independent and innovative documentaries from around the world, from short to feature length, award winning films. To add to the excitement, the documentary film festival has 12 award categories called the “Ozstars”, listed below:
  • Supreme Jury Prize Winner
  • Best International Documentary
  • Best Australian Documentary
  • Best Australian Short Documentary
  • Best International Short Documentary
  • Best Music / Art Documentary
  • Wildcard Award
  • Best Comedy / Best Mockumentary
  • Best Health / Environmental Documentary
  • Best Avante Garde / Innovation Award
  • Best High School Feature / Short Documentary
  • Best Indigenous Feature / Short Documentary
  • Audience Choice Award
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Editing
For film enthusiasts, the festival promises a screening of films that will intrigue, enlighten and inspire audiences, so much that it leaves you longing for next year. Film Screenings will take place  from the 9 – 11 July 2016 at the Howler Art Space, 7 Dawson Street, Brunswick, which is the official screening venue.  Filmmakers are urged to submit their documentary films for official selection at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2016. Film submissions are open until the 31st December 2015, with a final deadline on the 1st March 2016. Documentary films can be submitted via the portals listed below:
For more information on the festival click here


Thiru NJuly 1, 20155min20

The NFVF, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, hereby invites South African filmmakers to apply for the South Africa-Brazil Co-production Forum to be held at the Durban Film Mart during the Durban International Film Festival which takes place from the 16th until the 26th July 2015.

This initiative is in recognition of the pending signing of the South Africa – Brazil Co-production Treaty. The meeting will take place side by side five (5) Brazilian and five (5) South African producers with specific projects that represent job opportunities between the two countries, enhance the real possibilities of co-productions between them. 

This is the second session hosted by the NFVF and Agencia Nacional do Cinema (ANCINE), having previously collaborated at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. The first meeting was a general introduction of the Brazilian and South African markets and inform producers about film possibilities in the two countries.

The Producers must be experienced and satisfy the following criteria:

  • Have a registered production company.
  • Have a firm and informed understanding of finance structures and incentives
  • Understanding of legal processes (contracts/co-production agreements)
  • Knowledge of international markets (festivals, markets, sales)
  • Synopsis of the project(s) in mind for a co-production with Brazil.

The closing date for applications is 5th July 2015. Selections will be made according to the above criteria and successful applicants will be notified by 8th July 2015.

To apply for participation at the NFVF-ANCINE Forum email:


Contact Person:

 Naomi Mokhele
Manager: Communications
Tel: +27 11 483 0880
Twitter: @IamNaomiM


Sean Bracegirdle
Communications Coordinator
Tel: +27 11 483 0880


Thiru NJune 23, 201510min10

The Shore Break has won the Backsberg Audience Choice Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival for Best South African Film, while Virunga was voted Best International Film. 

Best South African Film: The Shore Break

Directed by Ryley Grunenwald, The Shore Break is the disturbing story of two Pondo cousins on opposing sides of the Xolobeni Wild Coast mining conflict.

Australian mining company MRC Ltd and their BEE partners Xolco want to mine for titanium, while the South African government is pushing forwards with a plan to create a N2 Toll Road through the Wild Coast.

But as The Mail and Guardian asked in their review, “Why should Australian mining interests be allowed to despoil pristine Wild Coast dunes and the communities attached to the land?”

Many in the local community want to rather preserve their traditional Pondo lifestyle, with eco-tourism seen as an alternative route to economic growth. Many are also worried about disturbing the graves of their relatives.

But opposition comes at a price: some who speak up have allegedly been assassinated, while the late Pondo king was dethroned by government and replaced by a pro-mining relative.

The Shore Break sold out shows, had extra screenings added in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and sparked numerous conversations.

“It is incredibly rewarding that The Shore Break has been so well received by South African audiences,” says Ryley. “Though the film is busy being shown around the world, it is the local audience who truly understands all the layers, nuances and the gravity of the story – because the Wild Coast is part of our lives and part of our natural heritage as South Africans. The screenings at Encounters have been fantastic and we’re really grateful to the festival and the audiences for making years of hard work well worth it.”

The Backsberg Audience Choice Award is the second festival prize for The Shore Break, which was also named Best Documentary at the 2015 International Environmental Film Festival (FIFE) in Paris.

The Mail and Guardian hailed it as “eloquent, persuasive, forcible: advocacy documentary-making at its ethical best,” while City Press called it both “alarming” and “inspiring.” 

Read more about the film and sign the petition to stop forced mining on the Wild Coast here!

Best International Film: Virunga

Directed by Orlando van Einsiedel, Virunga is an eco-thriller set in the DRC’s national park, a World Heritage Site that is home to the world’s last mountain gorillas. 

Only two days before the film’s world premiere, park warden Emmanuel de Merode was gunned down after delivered damning evidence that Virunga is in grave danger.

With the Congo’s fragile peace crumbling, the park and its gorillas are under threat not just from the rebel army but also from a corrupt mining company that has found oil there.

The Backsberg Audience Choice Award is just the latest for Virunga, which has won over 20 international prizes and was nominated for the Oscar.


Click here for more information on Virunga 

Festival overview

Audiences voted Nomakhomazi Dyosopu’s Ndi Vumeni: Faniswa the second most popular South African film, followed by Lebogang Rasethaba’s Prisoner 467/64. Ndi Vumeni: Faniswa screened with Jas Boude, directed by Georgina Warner and Imraan Christian. 

Virunga’s fellow Oscar nominee, Wim Wenders’ The Salt of the Earth, was voted the second favorite international documentary, followed by Joshua Oppenheimer’s multi-award-winning The Look of Silence.

The 17th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival held 85 screenings in June, made possible through the support of the National Film and Video Foundation South Africa, Al Jazeera, Bertha Foundation, WESGRO, HCI Foundation, What’s On and Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking.

Festival programmer Jenna Bass says, “Congratulations to both The Shore Break and Virunga on their well-deserved wins. Having an African-set documentary win the Backsberg Audience Choice Award for Best International Film can only be indicative of South Africans’ growing interest in the rest of our continent. We are equally proud that the three most popular South Africa films were made by young filmmakers with fresh voices, engaging with activism of both the present and the past, in what we hope is a new era of transformative South African filmmaking.”

Backsberg Estate Cellars CEO Simon Back adds, “It is a great honour for us to sponsor the Audience Choice Awards. The aim of the awards is to raise awareness around the festival and what has resonated with audiences. With sustainability being core to the way we run our winery, I am also thrilled that both winners raise awareness around critical environmental matters.”


Julian CleophasMay 16, 20155min40

Festival De Cannes, Cannes Film Festival, Film Festivals, Red carpet

About 20 emerging South African filmmakers are at the 68th Annual Cannes International Film Festival in France, where they are showcasing their expertise and potentially selling their projects to various buyers.

The filmmakers, led by Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina, are also promoting South Africa’s attractiveness as a film destination that meets international standards. They will present their projects at the annual film fair, which takes place in the coastal city of Cannes . The film festival began yesterday and ends on 24 May.

Masina said the participation of local filmmakers was part of his department’s strategy to create access to local film and video products, promote an increase in the volume of film production, and provide exposure for the emerging filmmakers to the international film and production markets, distributors, funders and producers. The intention is to transform and grow the South African film industry.

Anne-Christine Poujoulat, Cannes Film Festival, Festival De Cannes

“Through promoting South Africa as an international destination to attract further international productions and in encouraging the generation of local content production, the country will continue to enjoy the benefits of a vibrant and growing film industry,” he said, encouraging international production houses to use the country as a location for films.

South Africa had signed a co-production treaty with France, Masina said yesterday. This agreement serves as a driver from which France can contribute to the expansion of the film, television, video production and distribution industries of both countries.

“The treaty also served to enhance the development of cultural and economic exchanges. While in Cannes, Masina will hold meetings with Lions Gate, an American film studio, and Axiom, a British production, distribution and sales company. He will also meet international producers from various countries.”The 20 filmmakers were funded by the Department of Trade and Industry. They will participate in a producers’ network and workshop sessions,” said spokesperson Sidwell Medupe.

MJ Kim, Getty Images, France, Film Festivals, Festival De Cannes, Cannes Film Festival

The film and television industry has been identified as a priority sector in the Industrial Policy Action Plan because of its ability to promote increased investment, job creation and skills transfer. “This sector is an important generator of foreign earnings for the country. It contributed approximately R3.5-billion into the economy last year and created more than 25 000 jobs,” Masina said. The Cannes International Film Festival is an annual film conference where new films of all genres, including documentaries, from around the world are previewed.

Source: courtesy of South Africa News

Images by Yacht Charter Fleet, Local Nomad, Getty Images