Three emerging film-makers who produced stories about issues faced by women and girls, had their documentaries screened at the Labia Theatre in commemoration of Human Rights month and International Women’s Day (which was on Friday March 8).
Azola Ntsukanazo, from Atlantis, Wesley Francis, from Hazendal, and Eeman Singlee, from Vanguard Estate, completed an intense 10-week film-making course through the Documentary Institute of South Africa, Emerging Filmmakers Programme (DOCi).
The aim of this programme, is to reach young film-makers, especially people of colour, who have no access to the fee-paying film schools within the South African private tertiary education sphere.
DOCi is supported by the American Consulate and the DOCi Emerging Film-makers course is run at the American Corner in the Central Library.
The screenings, on Tuesday March 19 were moderated by prominent film-maker Nadine Cloete.
Azola’s documentary, Mixed Blessings, looks at the “blessing” phenomenon in South Africa. It deals with the lives of young women who receive money from men in exchange for sex.
Azola, herself, knows this lifestyle all too well, as she bravely reveals in the documentary, that she too, was a blessee.
“Some people look at me differently now that they know my past, and others have shown so much support for my decision to speak about it,” she said.
She’s always wanted to act, and the thought of becoming a film-maker did not cross her mind
until someone told her about DOCi.
Now that the film-making bug has bit her, the 25-year-old hopes to study film, and eventually produce and direct a feature film.
Wesley’s documentary, About Bloody Time, deals with the challenges girls whose families cannot afford menstrual pads.
He believes more men should use their “privileged voices” to help women bring these issues to light.
“All women’s stories tie together. As a society, we ignore what women go through. It is a sad fact that women are not given the respect and dignity they deserve.
Women’s health is not spoken about enough – especially by men. It’s strange that men can father daughters, but be so disconnected from their issues,” Wesley said.
Nantes to Nantes by Eeman, tells the inspiring story of Caroline Peters, the founder of the Nantes Athletics Club in Bridgetown. Ms Peters was gang-raped in the Nantes Park as a teenager, and many years later, during her healing, she reclaimed the space and started the running club.
“I have a passion for film and photography. My aim is not just to tell the negative stories of the Cape Flats, but to highlight all the good stories happening in our community as well. I am also hoping to inspire more young people from my community to become film-makers,” she said.
Eeman is currently completing her NQF5 in film-making and hopes to complete a degree in it. Part of her future plans also involve owning a production company.