The South African Film Festival (SAFF) is making its grand return to Australia this May, though in a slightly different way. The virtual film festival will showcase 9 documentaries, 5 feature films and 2 short films over 12 days.

Having the festival online not only means adhering to COVID-safe practices, but that film fanatics are free to binge-watch from the comfort of their own homes across Australia and New Zealand. You know what this means – bathroom and snack breaks without the stress of missing the good part of the movie!

Source: Source: SanDance!

What To Expect

South Africa’s diversity and history, and their political, economic, and social struggle, are all reflected in the films chosen for the festival. South African cinema has not often shied away from exploring the confronting history of the country. Following the apartheid era, more films are allowing stories to be told from indigenous perspectives.

Festival Director Claire Jankelson said, “South Africa produces some of the richest stories for cinema the world over. Much like the country itself, the films that come from South Africa are all at once challenging, bold, beautiful and heartwarming.”

“This year’s line-up of films presents an exciting mix of daring narratives, striking cinematography and deep explorations into South African culture and community,” noted Jankelson.

A number of the featuring films and documentaries will explore themes of segregation and xenophobia. These detail how the country’s history with racism has impacted the future of South Africa.

Image: A New Country

Feature Films

Raw, confronting and emotionally charged, Tess is adapted from Tracey Farren’s award-winning novel “Whiplash,” and follows a 20-year-old prostitute and addict in Cape Town whose life is turned upside-down by an unexpected pregnancy. 

For Love and Broken Bones is an unexpectedly tender gangster flick featuring a jazz musician debt collector who falls in love with his latest assignment, a wedding planner.

Toorbos, Riding with Sugar, and Barakat are other films which will be showcased in the festival.

Image: For Love and Broken Bones

Featured Documentaries

Winner of the Florence Film Award for Best Original Story, District Six Rising from the Dust is the filmmaker’s own deeply personal account of her return to the ancestral community in Cape Town from which her family and thousands of others were forcibly removed from their homes.  

Other documentaries includeBlindside, A New Country and Good Hope.

Image: Influence

What Else You Should Know

All ticket proceeds from SAFF will be going to supporting Education without Borders programs to help young people in disadvantaged communities throughout South Africa. Funds generated from this year’s festival will assist in supporting vulnerable groups in South Africa, which COVID-19 has significantly impacted.

When: The festival will run for 12 days: 12th – 24th of May 2021.

Where: Online

Tickets: $8 for a single screening. A film will be released each day and you’ll have 24 hours to watch. Festival passes are $60 ($80 for a household pass) which give you access to the entire program!

For more information, head to the SAFF website for the full festival program and tickets.