On the 12th April 2013 Inkanyiso crew and I attended the annual South African Gay & Lesbian Film Festival hosted by Out In Africa (OIA) in Johannesburg. The event that has been hosted annually for the past 20 years wasn’t as I had anticipated. The event didn’t meet my expectations, and am sure those that took their time to go there would share my sentiments.
As someone who hasn’t missed the festival open night for the past five years, I was rather sad about how the event has turned out to be due to lack of funding. Out In Africa is one of those unique initiatives that showcase films that mainstream media wouldn’t consider screening. It gives young and upcoming directors the chance to show their talents and also give LGBTI films a chance to be seen by those who want to see them.
OIA has wrote in their website that the festival they are hosting now might be the last festival for a while. If funding to host these significant events doesn’t start rolling in, our visibility as LGBTI’s in terms of films and documentaries is as good as non-existent.
The festival will be screening a range of different films from South Africa and abroad from 12 April to 21 April 2013 at Nu Metro cinemas at Hyde Park, Johannesburg and at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
Yesterday screening opened up with three South African produced and directed films and documentaries.
The South African programme features movies such as Kinsey, directed by Karmen Wessels; Bros B4 Ho’s, directed by Samantha Lea; and Two Stories, directed by Justin Archer, Martin Bleazard and Rosanna Scott.
The films were a mix of emotional rollercoasters starting with a documentary telling the story of Nosiphokazi Fihlani, a corrective rape survivor, who lives in the Grahamstown township and stands bravely against those who discriminate against her and so inspires other lesbians to be open in a community that wants to keep them silenced.
The documentary was a touchy topic for LGBTI’s in South Africa especially black lesbians.
It showed a gruesome side of homophobia, the director’s re-enacted the rape scene showing explicitly what Fihlani went though. The scene raised a lot of questions from the audience on whether it was the right thing to make Fihlani relive the rape scene and also whether that didn’t tamper with her healing process.
Another scene that raised concerns was that of Fihlani frequenting in shebeens and her heavy drinking tendencies. The audience questioned whether her recovering/healing is genuine or she is using alcohol to deal with her situation.
The documentary for me wasn’t different from all the other doccies that have addressed hate crime and corrective rape in the past. Like the usual documentaries, the film covered one side of the story, even when they went to the street to interview random people; it was all about how they hate lesbians and it made me wonder if everyone guy in Khayelitsha has animosity towards lesbians. Didn’t they find people who accepted lesbians.
I long to see a documentary on LGBTI topic that shows heterosexual people that accepts and understand gays and lesbians. I mean not everyone is against homosexuality; some people are understanding and open to positive dialogue.
Bro’s B4 Ho’s a documentary about the drag king troupe in Cape Town was a breath of fresh air.
A light doccie showcasing the lives of 6 extraordinary women, as they write themselves into the history books as South Africa’s first ever Drag King troupe. The film took us on a journey of female masculinity, how they interpret their masculine side as females. They perform in different gay clubs around Cape Town entertaining people in their drag attires.
However, for me as a butch lesbian, I wondered how was them dressing up as men different from me being in predominantly men clothes on a daily basis. Or am I a drag king also? Beside them performing and mimicking male celebrities, I didn’t see anything different from a transgendered individual trying to fit in the heterosexual society.
Overall the programme was good, had us glued to the screen for an hour tops. The festival is still on until the 21 April 2013 in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Other movies that will screen are Beyond the Walls (Hors les murs) directed by David Lambert, a Belgian, Canadian and French co-production; four productions from the US, namely Four, directed by Joshua Sanchez; How to Survive a Plague, directed by David France; Interior. Leather Bar, directed by James Franco and Travis Mathews and Love or Whatever, directed by Rosser Goodman.
UK directors Ross MacGibbon and Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake 3D; Céline Sciamma from France’s Tomboy; and M. Caner Alper and Mehmet Binay from Turkey’s Zenne Dancer are the other films on the programme.
Tickets cost R50 each. Bookings can be made at 08 61 24 63 62 or www.numetro.co.za. Let’s go there in numbers and support the festival as it is there to preserve our history and making sure it is not forgotten.
by Lesego Tlhwale
Previous articles by Lesego
2013 Mar.1: Definitely NOT “Gaysbian”
Check the OIA programme here.