Bertha Movie House in Khayelitsha to host 3 day film festival

Ayanda Msebenzi, the festival director says they want to bring a festival that will resonate with the people of Khayelitsha. Photo by Asive Mabula

The three-day festival is about showcasing local stories and talent.

Bertha Movie House is set to host the first township film festival in the Western Cape. The three-day festival , which will take place at Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha, is set to provide a platform for upcoming filmmakers.

“There’s so much going on in Khayelitsha, and as much as there may be negativity around Khayelitsha, it is growing and has as much positivity,” said Ayanda Msebenzi, festival director.

The movie house seeks to bring a festival that has the identity of the people that watch these films reflected and brings out the issues communities face, according to Msebenzi. “We didn’t want to duplicate a festival that takes place in New York or in the Cape Town CBD. We had to create something that resembles and speaks to Khayelitsha,” added Msebenzi.

The Raw Film Festival seeks to create a platform for aspiring filmmakers to have their work appreciated by the public and to be considered for awards. According to Msebenzi, about 100 films were submitted for inclusion in the festival through public callouts and at film schools in the Western Cape.

“After the callout process, the films were then taken through a selection process by a panel. They looked at the relevance, potential, storyline and overall creativity that the film showcased,” said Msebenzi.

29 bodies of work in the form of documentaries and narrative films form the line-up of the festival, with only ten of these films being nominated for awards. On the second day of the festival the nominated films will be screened and the audience will have an opportunity to ask the filmmakers questions.

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Busisiwe William will be showcasing her film titled Amandla. William also produced a short-film last month that will be showcased at another festival. “Amandla is based on stories about my closest friends, sister and myself. I thought it was an important story to tell since so many people struggle to wrap their head around someone that is suicidal or struggling mentally,” said William.

The narrative film is about a student named Amandla, who just completed high school and is struggling with the reality of the anniversary of her attempted suicide.

“I want the audience to take away that life is ever changing and although change is scary, it is inevitable and that we must be aware and compassionate to others,” added William.

Siyanda Mzantsi, filmmaker of Ndinovalo, says his film is a confession from reader to writer, and “conversations happening in one’s head”. He says his film means, to him, that he has created a way to heal. “[This film means] that I have acknowledged and created a way to heal from feeling the way I did. It is a visual representation of my feelings at that point in time of my life,” said Mzantsi. Given that this is his first film and festival, he says he hopes to network with other filmmakers and get more familiar with the Cape Town film industry.

The filmmaker hopes to drop a sequel to Ndinovalo, titled Isiphelo, later this year.

The awards are offered in partnership with City Varsity and are as follows: best narrative film, best documentary, best student film and an audience’s favourite award, according to Msebenzi. “We are hoping that this will happen annually and aligning our festivals with workshops, development and mentorship for upcoming filmmakers,” said Msebenzi

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The film screenings will take place on the 28th and 29th of April at .

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