Cinema: Bookings open for Encounters International South African Documentary Festival 2020

Festival details

Date: August 20 -30, 2020


Tickets: No charge but limited availability for screenings – see below

Access: Geo-locked/blocked for viewers out of SA but live events, panel discussion etc will be open to all

Bookings open today – August 17- for the annual documentary festival which  is being hosted online because of the pandemic and national lockdown in South Africa.

There is no charge to attend the virtual festival but donations are appreciated via

Although there is no charge, it is necessary to register and book for the films you want to see – as you would do for a film festival being screened in cinemas. It is envisaged that around 400 tickets will be available per screening, but additional tickets may be added, if there is demand. It is a mammoth task to screen the films online and there may be glitches in getting it all together, so patience is required. Updates as they become available.

The festival will open with acclaimed political documentary Influence – tracking the “morally slippery British reputation manager’ Lord Timothy Bell of British PR Firm Bell Pottinger. Direction is by South African investigative journalists and filmmakers Richard Poplak and Diana Neille. The documentary has created a buzz on festivals around the world.

Top of my watch list – Mother to Mother- directed by Sara CF de Gouveia. Dr Sindiwe Magona wrote the fictional memoir Mother to Mother which came out of Magona’s reflection on the 1993 murder of American Fulbright Scholar Amy Biehl in Gugulethu by a mob. When Dr Magona discovered that one of the murderers was her neighbour’s son, she felt that her own son could have easily been caught up in the mob killing. In response, she wrote Mother to Mother, as a “heartfelt letter from one mother to another” to Amy Biehl’s mother, Linda. Magona then adapted the book into a stage play. It premiered in 2009 at the Baxter in September-October and starred Thembi Mtshali-Jones. I saw this powerful production at the Baxter and look forward to seeing the doccie. Review of doccie-to follow– watch this space.

Image credit: Supplied.