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Cape Winelands Film Festival at the Labia Theatres

Since the first edition the Cape Winelands Film Festival (CWFF) has significantly grown in size and international participation. South African cinephiles will have an opportunity to see a rich diversity of films from more than 35 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Belgium, Burkina Faso, the USA, Canada, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Palestine, the UK, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, France, India, Thailand, Turkey, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Russia, Serbia, Rwanda, United Arab Emirates and South Africa. More than 130 features, documentaries and shorts form part of this year’s programme.

The main objective of the CWFF is to provide a window on world cinemas. Highlights this year include a focus on the cinemas of France, Egypt, Israel, Brazil, Italy, Iran, as well as the former Yugoslavia (Balkan states). The festival takes place at the Labia cinemas in Cape Town from the 20th till the 29th of March.

The festival also aims to build a rich film culture among South African audiences by celebrating great achievements of the past. During the first edition of the Cape Winelands Film festival the oeuvres of giants of the cinema such as Ingmar Bergman, Youssef Chahine and Ousmane Sembene have been highlighted. The intension is to create an awareness of past and present milestones in world cinema. The festival again will pay homage to the great Egyptian master, Youssef Chahine, who past away during 2008. His famous Alexandria… Why?, a brilliant blend of autobiographical concerns and a portrait of Egypt will be screened for the first time at a South African film festival.
The CWFF will include a tribute to the great Portugese director, Manoel de Oliveira, an international film treasure. De Oliveira is going to attend the festival. During last year De Oliveira was honoured at the Cannes Film Festival with a Palme d’Or for his lifetime career achievement in film, which spans more than five decades. Born on December 12, 1908, in the northern Portuguese city of Porto, De Oliveira began his directorial film career in the 1930s. Since he had turned 90 years old the master of Portugese cinema directed more than 19 feature length films, some of them masterpieces of recent European cinema. He is currently working on a new film! De Oliveira is famous for his cinematic adaptations of literary work by Camilo Castelo Branco (1862–1890), José Régio (1899–1969) en Agustina Bessa-Luís (1922–), as well as his use of theatrical conventions in his films. Several of his greatest films will be screened such as Non, or the Vain Glory of Command, Oliveira's brilliant meditation on war, history and empire takes as its background and point of departure colonial war in Western Africa in the 1970s, in which guerrilla fighters ultimately defeated Portugal's superior military forces. Mired in the Angolan jungle, a group of Portuguese soldiers begin to openly question the meaning of the war and, in turn, speculate about their country's imperial history. Luís Miguel Cintra returns as the wise commander who narrates the film's brilliant flashbacks to Portugal's most spectacular military follies and defeats. From the film's mysterious opening – a rapturous tracking shot that glides around an ancient African tree – to the stunning battle sequences, Non is one of Oliveira's great late films and one of his most politically charged and outspoken works.


The work of the great African director, Idrissa Ouédraogo, winner of various international awards at major festivals such as Cannes, Berlin and FESPACO, will also be celebrated at this year’s festival. FAM3005F students should not miss his great films, Tilai, Yaaba, Anger of the Gods and the small gem La Mangue, which forms part of the powerful compilation film Stories on Human Rights. Ouédraogo will be honoured with the M-Net Lifetime Achievement Award at the festival.

The famous Serbian director, Goran Markovic, is also going to attend the CWFF. Markovic is well-known for his drama Tito and Me. The setting of this new film, The Tour, is 1993, the bleakest time of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A group of actors from Belgrade, utterly unaware of what they're setting themselves up for, embark on a search for quick earnings - on a "tour" around the Serbian Krajina. However, there they are thrust into the heart of war and begin to wander from war front to war front, from one army to the next. This great (anti-war) black comedy has already won several international awards, including the Best Director and FIPRESCI Award at the Montreal World Film festival.

Other major figures in world cinema will also be highlighted at this year’s festival. One of the leading figures of French cinema, Eric Rohmer, who has turned 88 years old, will be represented by a selection of his “Moral Tales”, as well as “Comedies and Proverbs”. The famous “Koker Trilogy” (Where Is the Friend's Home?, And Life Goes on..., Through the Olive Trees) by the Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami is also part of this year’s menu.

The festival organisers are also proud to present a focus on the magnificent oeuvre of Laurent Cantet, Golden Palm winner for The Class. The Class/Entre les murs is an Academy Award-nominated film based on the 2006 novel of the same name by François Bégaudeau. The film received the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, making it the first French film in 21 years to do so. The last one was Sous le soleil de Satan by Maurice Pialat. The novel is a semi-autobiographical account of Bégaudeau's experiences as a literature teacher in an inner city middle school in Paris. The film stars François Bégaudeau in the role of the teacher. The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008. François Bégaudeau will be in attendance at the CWFF.

Another Golden Palm winner, L’Enfant by the Dardenne Brothers, is also part of the highlights. The World Panorama section of the festival includes the work by great directors such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Climates), the multi award winner Bahman Ghobadi (Turtles Can Fly), as well as Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (The Lark Farm), and Goran Markovic (The Tour). The Cape Winelands Film Festival also celebrates the exciting work by new voices in World Cinema such as Selim Evci (Two Lines), Ahmed Rashwan (Basra), Nawaf Aljanahi (Mirrors of Silence), Kleber Mendonca Filho (Critico), Yariv Mozer (My First War), Eric Scott Latek (Sweet Dreams), Igor Mirkovic (LA Unfinished), Robert Adanto (The Rising Tide) Chris Eska (August Evening), Mirko Locatelli (The First Day of Winter) and Shota Gamisonia (don’t miss Field Clown Apple…) The competition component includes the South African premieres of 25 documentaries, 23 features and 29 short films. An international jury will decide on the awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary and Best Short.

A strong component of this year’s festival are the short films, which include wonderful animation work (Morana), as well as multi award winners like Because there are things you never forget, Mofetas, as well as The Men and the River.

Apart from several South African features, shorts and documentaries in the competition, the festival includes a special focus on recent South African cinema, especially short films by exciting new voices in the film industry.

The festival will have premieres of various South African productions including Jann Turner’s wonderful comedy White Wedding (the Opening film of the CWFF), and Tornado and the Kalahari Horse Wisperer, a new feature by acclaimed director Regardt van den Bergh (Hansie, Faith Like Potatoes).

Despite the current global economic crisis various sponsors, media partners and individuals ensured the continuation of the festival: The City of Cape Town; the Protea Hotel Group; Ludi Kraus and the staff of the Labia; M-Net and especially Mike Dearham of the African Film Library; Laurence Mitchell and the Cape Film Commission; The Brazilian Consulate General, the Italian Embassy, the French Embassy and French South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Alliance Francaise, the Egyptian Embassy, Iranian Embassy in South Africa, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Greek Consulate, the Portuguese Embassy, Turkish Airways, the African Film Seminar and the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, CityVarsity School of Media and Creative Arts, Angela van Schalkwyk and Screen Africa; as well as Yoram Allon and Sara Tyler from International Film Guide.

Workshops by the Cape Film Commission will take place at this year’s festival.

The final programme will be available during early March 2009 on www.films-for-africa.co.za

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