South African Film Festival 2023

Australia’s newest film festival, the South African Film Festival is hitting the screens both big and small for its fourth year. But this year the festival has grown to showcase some amazing films coming out of South Africa. 

What makes this festival even greater is the dedication it has to the Not For Profit, Education Without Borders. All net proceeds from the festival help support disadvantaged young people in South Africa. The program offers after-school programs in maths, English and science, and extracurricular activities such as choir, surfing and leadership camps.

The festival boasts some amazing films on the big screen across Australia and New Zealand. But for those that prefer the comfort of their own couch, the festival runs online with an even bigger selection.

On the big screen you can pick from three documentary’s Mission Joy, Music is my Life and Mutant. There are also two feature films to pick from: The Fragile King and The Honeymoon. 

Mission Joy follows the unlikely friendship between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. In their final joint mission, these self-described mischievous brothers give a master class in how to create joy in a world that was never easy for them. 

Music is my Life is the documentary about Joseph Shabalala, founder of the a-cappella singing and dance troupe, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The film charts Shabalala’s rise from humble farm origins to international stardom following his collaboration with Paul Simon on the Graceland album. 

The documentary Mutant, is about Isaac Mutant’s grappling with issues of race, class, love, family and identity. It follows his story in his world surrounded by both gang culture and Hip-Hop. 

The Fragile King is the dramatic feature chosen for the big screen. Michael, a 15-year-old schoolboy, is sent to live with his grandfather, Gerald, after his mother dies. It isn’t until a road trip that the relationship between the two builds. 

The comedic feature, The Honeymoon follows fashion designer Katia when her fiancé dumps her on the eve of their wedding. But with her two friends they go on the honeymoon to escape their own realities. 

You can also catch these films online as part of the festival. In addition there are 11 short films should you want to taste everything. From politics to drama and art to family there is something for everyone.

In addition to the online program are a number of other features such as Margarine which tells the story of a 13-year-old who leaves an abusive family to live on the streets where he becomes a gangster. This all changes when he meets an innocent schoolgirl, allowing him to feel hope for the first time in his life. 

With so many great options to pick to watch on the big screen or from the comfort of your couch, there’s easily something for everyone. The festival starts from May 4th and runs for the month around Australia and New Zealand. Head to saff.org.au for the full line up and to book your ticket. 

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