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The Freedom to Create Documentary Film Week November 2, 2011

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The Freedom to Create Documentary Week showcases some of the best international documentary films entered in the 2011 Freedom to Create Prize and will take place at The Labia Cinema on Orange Street in Cape Town, South Africa from the 14th to the 20th of November 2011.

Established in 2006, Freedom to Create is an international organisation that supports programmes and projects around the world that unleash people’s creativity and The Freedom to Create Prize celebrates the courage and creativity of artists who use their talents to build social foundations and inspire the human spirit. This year’s prize winners will be announced at an awards ceremony and concert at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens on 19 November 2011. As part of the celebrations, we will be screening a selection of films to celebrate this year’s best film entries.

Tickets can be reserved by calling The Labia at 021 424 5927. We strongly recommended that you reserve tickets to avoid disappointment.

 

The programme:

 

Son of Babylon

Monday 14 November
8.15pm

Northern Iraq, 2003. Two weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Ahmed, a 12-year-old boy begrudgingly follows in the shadow of his grandmother. On hearing news that prisoners of war have been found alive in the South, she is determined to discover the fate of her missing son, Ahmed’s father, who never returned from the Gulf war. From the mountains of Kurdistan to the sands of Babylon, they hitch rides from strangers and cross paths with fellow pilgrims on all too similar journeys. Struggling to understand his grandmother’s search, Ahmed follows in the forgotten footsteps of a father he never knew. This journey will lead the boy to come of age. Son of Babylon raises awareness about Iraq’s one million and more missing people who, having faced death at the hands of a murderous regime, were at risk of being forgotten by history. This film also carries deep and hopeful messages asking us to think about how to deal with our unresolved issues from the past in order to move forward towards true peace and reconciliation.

 

Strangers No More and Teta, Alf Marra

Tuesday 15 November
8.15pm

Strangers No More, winner of the 2011 Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar, tells the story of the remarkable Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, where the pupils include 750 immigrants and refugees from 48 countries and every known religion. The film follows three children who fled their homelands in Darfur, South Africa and Eritrea. Over the course of 15 months, the film portrays their struggle to forget the past and rebuild their lives in this very rare community, where truly no one is a ‘stranger no more’.

Teta, Al Marra is a poetic documentary about a feisty Beiruti grandmother, bringing together a grandfather, grandmother and grandson in a playful magic-realist film that aims to defy both a past death and a future one. It documents the larger-than-life character of Teta Kaabour, her tales of the Beirut of her past and her imaginings about what awaits her after death. The film documents this very personal and cultural heritage and presents a unique view of Lebanon’s norms, sensitivities and aspirations.

 

Enemies of the People

Wednesday 16 November
6.15pm

The Khmer Rouge ran what is regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most brutal regimes. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain unexplained. Until now. In Enemies of the People the men and women who perpetrated the massacres – from the foot-soldiers who slit throats to the party’s ideological leader, Nuon Chea aka Brother Number Two – break a 30-year silence to give testimony never before heard or seen. Unprecedented access from the top to the bottom of the Khmer Rouge has been achieved through a decade of work by one of Cambodia’s best investigative journalists, Thet Sambath. Sambath is on a personal quest: he lost his own family in the Killing Fields. The film is his journey to discover not how but why they died. In doing so, he hears and understands for the first time the real story of his country’s tragedy. After years of visits and trust-building, Sambath finally persuades Brother Number Two to admit (again, for the first time) in detail how he and Pol Pot (the two supreme powers in the Khmer Rouge state) decided to kill party members whom they considered ‘Enemies of the People’.

 

The Lost Girls of South Africa

Thursday 17 November
6.15pm

A child is raped in South Africa every three minutes. The Lost Girls of South Africa is a timely and revealing feature-length documentary that offers a privileged glimpse into what life is really like for young girls growing up in South Africa. It follows the stories of four girls, aged 11-13, who become victims of child rape, looking at the experience and its aftermath through their eyes and in their words. The girls involved in this film, along with their mothers, were all extensively consulted about the implications of taking part in this film, and being identified. It was explained to them that while the film would not be sold to South African television, it was still likely that their pictures would be accessible on the internet in SA. We were very clear about this, but they were equally clear that they had a right to tell their story, and wanted to, in order to try to reduce the likelihood of it happening to other girls.

All proceeds from the screening of The Lost Girls of South Africa will be donated to The Lost Girls Fund, set up by the makers of the film to provide viewers an opportunity to directly help the girls in the film. Find out more at http://www.lostgirlssa.org

 

I was Worth 50 Sheep

Friday 18 November
6.15pm

I Was Worth 50 Sheep is the story of a brave girl Sabere, and her struggle for life. When she was just ten years old she was sold to a man forty years her senior. After seven years of confinement and abuse, she escaped to find temporary refuge in a
women’s sanctuary. The camera picks up Sabere at the point where she has re-made contact with her family. This is the story of a courageous young Afghan girl, fighting hard for her fundamental rights. The film gives a voice to the voiceless – women who continue to suffer from violence, poverty and illiteracy in their country.

 

Kinshasa Symphony

Saturday 19 November
1.45pm

Kinshasa Symphony is a study of people in one of the world’s most chaotic cities, doing their best to maintain one of the most complex human endeavours – a symphony orchestra. It is a film about the Congo, the people of Kinshasa and the power of music. The film documents the story of people achieving great things under the most difficult of circumstances. It is a measured, funny and lyrical film which portrays issues in the DRC such as poverty, poor housing and healthcare, while reminding us that the problems in the country are certainly not caused by deficiencies in its people. The film’s portrayal of Africans as heroes rather than victims has had a hugely powerful impact on many.

 

War Don Don

Sunday 20 November
6.15pm

In the heart of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, United Nations soldiers guard a heavily fortified building known as the “special court.” Inside, Issa Sesay awaits his trial. Prosecutors say Sesay is a war criminal, guilty of heinous crimes against humanity. His defenders say he is a reluctant fighter who protected civilians and played a crucial role in bringing peace to Sierra Leone. With unprecedented access to prosecutors, defence attorneys, victims, and, from behind bars, Sesay himself, War Don Don puts international justice on trial for the world to see – finding that in some cases the past is not just painful, it is also opaque. The international court in Sierra Leone will be the first major war crimes tribunal to conclude cases since the Nuremberg trials. This film gives us an insight into the court, allows the opportunity for a dialogue to emerge, assessing the ways in which the system is currently run, and asks us to find ways to improve it.

 

All screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion.

 

Tickets can be reserved by calling The Labia at 021 424 5927. We strongly recommended that you reserve tickets to avoid disappointment.

 

This event is presented by Freedom to Create, the Labia and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social, political and environmental messages to South African audiences.

 

Contacts:

Freedom to Create:
www.freedomtocreate.com

The Labia:
021 424 5927

While You Were Sleeping:
Andreas Späth
084 749 9470
Andreas_Spath@yahoo.com
www.ftcdocumentaryweek.wordpress.com

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Where Do I Stand? September 8, 2010

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New documentary about youth and xenophobia to be shown in Cape Town

Where Do I Stand? – a documentary film that explores the experiences of seven young Capetonians during the xenophobic violence in South Africa in 2008 – will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 19 September at 6.15pm, on Monday 20 September at 8:30pm and on Tuesday 21 September at 8:30pm.

When xenophobic attacks broke out across South Africa in May 2008, many found themselves caught off guard, shocked by violence that felt like a violation of the principles of their newly democratic nation. Over two months, 62 people were killed, hundreds wounded and over a hundred thousand displaced. In the midst of this violence, many young people, clad in the bright greens and maroons of their school uniforms, looted neighborhood shops while some of their classmates, refugees themselves, fled to safer ground. Some youth tried to find a way to help, but still more stood by, watching from their windows or on television.

Where Do I Stand? is a window into the lives of seven young people who are thinking deeply about their actions during and after the violence, their communities, and the state of their country. They include a Rwandan refugee, a girl wrestling with the reality of foreigners in her township, a boy facing calls of cowardice by friends for not looting, and a suburban girl whose family sheltered their Malawian gardener.

This violence was yet another challenge to a growing country still struggling with the legacy of apartheid – extended poverty, unemployment, and racial and economic divisions. Where Do I Stand? captures the optimistic voices of youth trying to make sense of what they experienced and how they carve out their own places in this complex and divided nation.

Where Do I Stand? Is a 37-minute-long documentary by director Molly Blank produced in partnership with Shikaya. For more information consult the official website.

The screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion. Tickets are R20 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at (021) 424 5927. Reserving tickets is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.

This event is presented by the Labia, Shikaya, an organisation that works with teachers to inspire and support young South Africans to become responsible democratic citizens and future leaders who value diversity, human rights and peace, Molly Blank, the film’s director, and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social and environmental messages to South African audiences.

Contacts:

The Labia:

021 424 5927

Molly Blank:

021 448 9642

molly@wheredoistandfilm.com

Shikaya:

Dylan Wray

021 448 9642

dylan@shikaya.org

www.shikaya.org

While You Were Sleeping:

Andreas Späth

084 772 1056

Andreas_Spath@yahoo.com

Nuclear expansion for South Africa? March 31, 2010

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What are the issues around nuclear power?
Is it the only solution to the energy crisis?
What are the possible environmental impacts?
Are there health risks?

Peter Becker of the Koeberg Alert Alliance will address these questions during lunchtime at

Idasa’s new Democracy Centre and bookshop 6 Spin Street, Cape Town.

Wednesday 31st March 1pm -1:30pm
and
Wednesday 7th April 1pm-1:30pm

Following on from this there will be evening screenings
of
Uranium Road
Wednesday 31st March 5:30 for 6pm
and
Buried in Earthskin
Wednesday 7th April 5:30 for 6pm

RSVP: Andreas at 021 467 7606/084 772 1056/aspath@idasa.org.za

The Cove March 17, 2010

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This year’s Oscar-winning feature documentary, The Cove, an astonishing film that exposes the bloody truth behind the worldwide trade in dolphins will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 28 March at 8:30pm, on Monday 29 March at 6:15pm and on Tuesday 30 March at 6:15pm.

The Cove is a remarkable documentary that follows the brave exploits of American activist Richard O’Barry as he tries to blow the lid of the bloody international trade in dolphins by exposing what happens in a tiny cove near the Japanese town of Taiji. O’Barry himself was once a prominent figure in the very industry he now fights. He captured and trained the five dolphins involved in the making of the popular TV series Flipper.

Using a crack team of freedivers, surveillance experts, scientists and special effects wizards, The Cove, which has been described as an “eco-thriller”, will entertain you as much as it’s guaranteed to shock and infuriate you. The film was beautifully shot and directed by renowned photographer Louie Psihoyos. It has caused an uproar around the globe, including in Japan itself, and has already made an invaluable contribution to putting an end to the barbaric practices it unveils. A must-see!

The screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion. Tickets are R20 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at 021 424 5927. Reserving tickets is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.

This event is presented by The Labia and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive documentaries with important social, political and environmental messages to South African audiences.

Contacts:

The Labia:

021 424 5927

www.labia.co.za

While You Were Sleeping:

Andreas Späth

084 772 1056

Andreas_Spath@yahoo.com

Real Life Aliens: The Not-So-Secret-Seven February 9, 2009

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I wrote this for obrigado:

Real Life Aliens: The Not-So-Secret-Seven

If you’ve ever looked at certain celebrities and thought “you can’t be for real!!”, you may not have been too far off the mark. We have it on good authority that the following stars are not just off their heads, but literally from off the planet.

Riaan Cruywagen: He used to channel a news reading bunny, his hair piece is the latest in extraterrestrial hi-tech fashion and his cultivated death-warmed-up look is beyond the ken of earthly medicine.

Keith Richards: Schnarfing your own father’s ashes is just not the done thing in this part of the solar system.

Patricia Lewis: It’s a known fact that producers of German erotic thrillers don’t cast Earthlings on principle.

Michael Jackson: Unlike Jared Leto, who’s trying very hard to appear alien, Michael has managed to fool millions into believing that he is humanoid for decades.

John Voigt: One look at the man should make it patently obvious that there is no way for him to have fathered Angelina Jolie without very substantial assistance from an unthinkably advanced civilisation.

Ozzy Osbourne: He bites the heads off doves and bats and converses in an incomprehensible language, recently identified as closely related to a dialect spoken in the neighbourhood of Lupus Major.

Donatella Versace: The lips, the nose, the cellulite, the skimpy bikinis – you’ve always known there’s something seriously odd about her… now you know why.

Steve Buscemi: Used his freaky alien eyes to hypnotise the Coen Brothers into casting him in more of their movies than John Turturro.

Mickey Rourke: Oh, Mickey used to be so fine, but after 9 1/2 weeks, no hair implant or face lift on Earth had the power to stem his otherworldly rate of bodily decay.

Helena Bonham Carter: Her dress sense is a clue, but it’s the state of her hair that’s the dead give-away: she’s permanently primed for transmissions from her home planet.

Susan Shabangu: She graduated with honours from the Judge Dredd “Shoot-First-Ask-Questions-After-The-Autopsy” Police Academy in a galaxy far, far away.

Uncounted October 23, 2008

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Another documentary screening by While You Were Sleeping:

Uncounted, a spine-chilling, feature-length film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt about how Americans were cheated during the 2004 and 2006 elections will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 2 November at 6.15pm, on Monday 3 November at 8:15pm and on Tuesday 4 November at 8:15pm.

On the eve of the 2008 US presidential elections, Uncounted is a wakeup call for everyone who has unconditional faith in election procedures in the world’s most “advanced” democracy. This controversial new documentary shows how election fraud changed the outcome of the 2004 election, led to even greater fraud in 2006 and how it now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election.

Uncounted examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journalists, and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable proof. Eyewitness accounts from whistleblowers are backed up by election experts in revealing how racist tactics, electronic voting machine security breaches, vote count manipulation, and illegal behaviour by a major voting machine manufacturer all threaten the very core of US democracy – the vote.

Looking towards our own national and provincial elections next year, Uncounted is of particular interest and relevance to South Africans. Don’t miss it!

For more information consult the official Uncounted website: www.uncountedthemovie.com.

The screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion. Tickets are R20 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at (021) 424 5927. Reserving tickets is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.

This event is presented by The Labia and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social and environmental messages to South African audiences.

Contacts:

The Labia:

021 424 5927

While You Were Sleeping:

Andreas Späth

084 772 1056

Andreas_Spath@yahoo.com

Escape From Suburbia: The End of the Age of Oil? September 18, 2008

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The very first movie While You Were Sleeping, the documentary film screening collective I’m involved in, showed was called The End of Suburbia. Now we’re doing the “sequel”. Please come and join us:

Escape From Suburbia, a sobering new documentary movie about the prospect of a future without cheap oil will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 28 September at 8:15pm, on Monday 29 September at 6:15pm and on Tuesday 30 September at 8:15pm.

Escape from Suburbia is the follow-up to the immensely influential cult-classic The End of Suburbia, one of the first documentaries to explore the concept of Peak Oil – the point in time when half of the Earth’s oil supplies will have been used up. In Escape From Suburbia director Greg Greene once again takes us “through the looking glass” on a journey of discovery – a sobering yet vital and ultimately positive exploration of what the second half of the Oil Age has in store for us.

Escape From Suburbia outlines the causes and consequences of the coming oil crisis and also offers us some possible solutions. Through personal stories and interviews, the film examines how declining world oil production has already begun to affect our lives. Expert scientific opinion is balanced with “on the street” portraits from an emerging global movement of citizen’s groups who are confronting the challenges of Peak Oil in extraordinary ways.

The clock is ticking. Escape From Suburbia asks the tough questions: Are we approaching Peak Oil now? What are the controversies surrounding our future energy options? Why are a growing number of specialists and citizens sceptical of these options? What are ordinary people doing in their own communities to prepare for Peak Oil? And what will YOU do as oil and food prices skyrocket and the Oil Age draws to a close?

For more information consult the official movie website: www.escapefromsuburbia.com.

The screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion. Tickets are R20 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at 021 424 5927. Reserving tickets is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.

This event is presented by The Labia, The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) South Africa and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social and environmental messages to South African audiences.

Contacts:

The Labia:

021 424 5927

ASPO – South Africa:

http://www.aspo.org.za

info@aspo.org.za

While You Were Sleeping:

Andreas Späth

084 772 1056

Andreas_Spath@yahoo.com

www.whileyouweresleeping.wordpress.com

Testing Hope August 24, 2008

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Please come and join While You Were Sleeping and Shikaya at the screening of a captivating new documentary film about the post-Apartheid education system in South Africa:

Testing Hope: Grade 12 in the new South Africa directed by Molly Blank.

Testing Hope tells the story of four students in Nyanga township outside Cape Town, who started school the year that Mandela was elected president, as they prepare for their crucial Matric exams which one student calls, “the decider.” The film considers what’s at stake if students pass or fail and how they envision their future in this evolving democracy.

Testing Hope will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 31 August at 8:00pm, on Monday 1 September at 8:00pm and on Tuesday 2 September at 8:00pm.

This captivating and enlightening film recently been featured in Drum Magazine, the Sunday Times, the Star, the Saturday Star, and on the American National Public Radio.

“In a brilliant new documentary…an American filmmaker traces the lives, hopes and aspirations… of black teenagers during…their Matric year. It is a heartbreaking story, and nobody who watches this hour long film will ever again interpret the Matric results with the unrestrained exuberance to which we are treated every year… Testing Hope has touched a raw nerve in our post-1994 democracy. What drives many to action upon seeing this film is that, we realize, in a very vivid way, how high the stakes are for poor students and the dramatic consequences of failure for individuals, families and ultimately society as a whole. This movie is activism in its purest form.”

Jonathan Jansen, immediate past Dean, Education Faculty, University of Pretoria

For more information on the film, visit www.testinghope.com.

The screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion. The director Molly Blank and some of the students featured in the film will be present to take part in the discussion. Tickets are R20 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at 021 424 5927. Reserving tickets is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.

This event is presented by The Labia, Shikaya, a non-profit that works with teachers to create responsible, critical thinking and caring citizens of South Africa, and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social and environmental messages to South African audiences.


Contacts:

The Labia:

021 424 5927

While You Were Sleeping:

Andreas Späth

084 772 1056

Andreas_Spath@yahoo.com

www.whileyouweresleeping.wordpress.com

Shikaya

Dylan Wray

021 461 4239

083 391 3709

dylan@shikaya.org

South African nuclear spin part III July 11, 2008

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You may remember me writing about the growing public relations effort around the world and in South Africa dedicated to making nuclear power more palatable to the general public. I commented on a pro-nuclear article written in Greenprint by Mike Freedman of a local PR outfit called Freedthinkers. His take on the issue seemed to be that the only thing wrong with atomic energy industry was that it had not spent enough money on good PR.

In response to my questions about his article, Mr Freedman said the following:

I write in my private capacity. I am not a representative of government, neither do I inform them of what I write.

[…]

The work we did for the dti had nothing to do with Eskom & PBMR.

[…]

This may have been true at the time, but alas, it seems that Mr Freedman has now officially joined the nuclear lobby in more than just a “private capacity” – or perhaps his article got him the attention of people who were willing to pay money for the contribution he was already making so selflessly for free.

According to an article in The Times which makes for really interesting reading,

The government has enlisted the aid of a brand consultant to give the image of nuclear power in South Africa a major makeover.

It is seeking to identify so-called “nuclear ambassadors” to endorse nuclear power stations in communities and the business world.

But opponents fear that the move may be an attempt to short-circuit public consultation as the government presses ahead with its programme to build a dozen more conventional plants and at least twice that number of pebble-bed reactors.

The makeover initiative was being led by the department of public enterprises, working with minerals and energy and Eskom.

They hired the services of brand consultants Freedthinkers, which calls itself a “research and development think-tank”.

Freedthinkers had begun conducting interviews with a range of people in organisations including the business sector, large corporations, and NGOs.

According to the guide that Freedthinkers provided for its interviewers, the objective of the project was to “unearth the perceptions, misperceptions, fears and expectations surrounding nuclear power and related issues”.

Nice one!

Steampunk Magazine June 17, 2008

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I’ve been reading issues 1 to 4 of SteamPunk Magazine recently.

SPM

If you enjoy China Mieville’s books or Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Michael Moorcock’s A Nomad of the Timestreams series or even if you’re into cyberpunk, I’m guessing you’d enjoy reading the mag, too. Find out more, order or download here.