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Organisation 4 10

Encounters South African International Documentary Festival

the pre-eminent documentary festival in Africa

Since its inception in 1999, Encounters has been instrumental in the growth of a cinema-going audience in the documentary genre in South Africa. The success of the Festival lies in the choice selection of excellent documentaries, both South African and International, and the presence of invited professionals.

A democratic space is provided by stimulating discussions and debates during the Festival through the Q&A sessions after the screenings with renowned international and local filmmakers. The annual master classes with international professionals, conferences and the workshop programmes are highly popular.

The Close Laboratory Project and the Africa Shorts Documentary Project in partnership with the Jan Vrijman Fund and SABC have played an important role in providing training and support for emerging and established filmmakers in Southern Africa, having commissioned 42 documentaries.

Encounters pioneered the Satellite Festivals in the townships in 2006 with programmes in two townships. The Inreach programme which began in 2006, targets township-based filmmakers and students, and enables them to attend the Festival. In 2003 – 2004 Encounters ran the Schools Programme in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

Encounters strategic partnerships with international and local organisations has been critical in the training and development initiatives, as well as exposing local and African content to International audiences.

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Encounters Team

  • Encounters Team -

    L-R: Steven Markovitz (co-founder), Mandisa Zitha (festival director), Nodi Murphy (co-founder), Nazeer Ahmed (operational manager) and Nololo Lange (office assistant)

Audiences at Encounters

local filmmakers

local filmmakers

The Fly on the Wall team won the Encounters Audience Award (2009) for their popular film, Fokofpolisiekar.

  • _JJS9776.jpg -

    L-R: Fly on the Wall production team: Grant Appleton (DOP), Filipa Domingues (Producer), Bryan Little (Director)

Question and Answer Sessions

Q&A Session for Sea Point Days, directed by emmy-award winning local filmmaker, Francois Verster.

  • _JJS0011.jpg -

    L-R: Francois Verster (filmmakers), Neil Brandt (Producer), Steven Markovitz (Encounters co-founder)

Encounters 2008 guests

Cyrille Masso was a guest filmmaker from Cameroon at Encounters 2008. He directed The Encounter. Prof. Omotoso was the keynote speaker opening the Festival.

Industry Events

Diana Holtzberg and Claire Aguilar were guests and facilitators for the Encounters Co-prodcution, sales and distribution forum.
Stanley Nelson, director of A Place of our Own screened at Encounters.

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    L-R: Diana Holtzberg (Film Transit), Claire Aguilar (ITVS) and Stanley Nelson (filmmaker, USA)

question and answer sessions

Audiences at Encounters

Encounters' audiences are an eclectic mix of cinephilles, established and emerging filmmakers, film graduates, the employed and unemployed

local filmmakers

Encounters programmes 50% local content and ensures that filmmakers are able to travel to the Festival to partake in Q&As and Industry events.

Contact information

1st Floor,

27 Caledon Street

8000 Cape Town

South Africa


Phone +27214654686