This year's annual Jozi Film Festival took place between 1 and 10 October, with limited physical screenings at The Bioscope, an on-demand digital platform for all 10 days, as well as free online screenings on each night of the festival, followed by live question-and-answer sessions.
Mutant, winner of Best South African Feature-Length Documentary.
The most-watched film on the festival’s on-demand platform (determined by finished views) was the short fiction film Farmhouse (Plaashuis), directed by Dian Weys, followed by Trapped, directed by Athi Petela, both from South Africa.
The most-attended free live screening was Murder in Paris (directed by Enver Samuel), followed by I Am Here (directed by Jordy Sank), again both local productions.
“Our toughest category to judge this year was Best South African Feature-Length Documentary,” said Lisa Henry, the festival organiser. “All four films in that category are worthy winners, but ultimately the winner is decided by a points system and only two points separated all four films in competition.” The laurels ultimately went to Mutant, co-directed by Lebogang Rasethaba and Nthato Mokgata.
Says Rasethaba: “Mutant was released during a time when people weren’t interested in engaging in anything difficult. It was the pandemic, life was difficult enough; we got lots of rejection. Things feel a little lighter now and perhaps it’s time to start thinking about the things that didn’t go away. What I am trying to say is that we appreciate this affirmation, this vote of confidence, because all we really want is for as many people as possible to watch the film.”
Henry added: “If we don’t accept three or more films into a category, no award is given out in that category. This year we only accepted two feature-length fiction films, Binti (Tanzania), directed by Seko Shamte, and Run George (South Africa), directed by Vuyani Makausu. No awards were therefore given out in the Best Feature-Length Fiction Film category this year, but we applaud both filmmakers for their productions.”
Enver Samuel, named Best Director for Murder in Paris alongside Jordy Sank for I Am Here, said, “It's wonderful to share a major award again with Jordy and his film, I Am Here.” The films also shared the award for Best South African Documentary at the 2021 Durban International Film Festival.
“Both our films honour remarkable women, one who survived the Holocaust and the other who fought against the evil of apartheid [Ella Blumenthal, and Dulcie September, respectively]. While the award is for Best Director, I think it's our main protagonists in our respective doccies that deserve the real honours. Thank you, Jozi Film Festival.”
The 2021 Jozi Film Festival winners are:
Best South African Feature-Length Documentary Mutant Dir: Lebogang Rasethaba and Nthato Mokgata
Best International Feature-Length Documentary High Maintenance (Israel) Dir: Barack Heymann
Best South African Short Documentary Lefu – The Funeral Dir: Omelga Mthiyane
Best International Short Documentary Stolen Fish (Spain) Dir: Gosia Juszczak
Best South African Short Fiction Film Five Tiger Dir: Nomawonga Khumalo
Best International Short Fiction Film Identibye (Iran) Dir: Sajjad Shahhatami
Best South African Student Film The Inescapable Dir: Arné Boshoff (Open Window)
Best Young Director Emilie Petra Badenhorst and Kanya Viljoen Ekstasis
Best Director (co-winners) Enver Samuel (Murder in Paris) and Jordy Sank (I Am Here)