“Filmmaker to Filmmaker” prompts a conversation between and shows the work of two South African filmmakers: Jahmil Qubeka and François Verster. They will discuss filmmaking and the state of the art of African film from the perspective of South Africa. Both have ample professional experience outside the continent, and they will speak to questions of African filmmakers as global media artists. Qubeka and Verster produce very different kinds of films, but both are at the leading edge of film production in South Africa and on the African continent. Their visit highlights the innovative and engaged work of a new generation of African filmmakers.
François Verster is a South African film director and documentary maker. He has served on international film juries, published poetry and other writing, as well as taught film in South Africa and abroad. After completing an MA degree with distinction at the University of Cape Town, he worked with Barenholtz Productions in New York and as crew member on various independent features. Verster’s acclaimed debut as documentary director/producer was “Pavement Aristocrats: The Bergies of Cape Town.”
In 1998, Verster formed Undercurrent Film & Television, a Cape Town-based company that aims to produce quality documentary programs for local as well as international markets. Verster’s movies have an “undercurrent” theme of social injustice and people picking up the pieces of their lives. He is not an “in and out” filmmaker but builds up a relationship with his protagonists, allowing his audience a very intimate and empathetic look into their hearts and homes. Despite severe budget constraints, Verster documents their lives, often over a number of years, and is involved with his protagonists past and well-being as much as with their future.
Jahmil X.T. Qubeka is one of South Africa’s most acclaimed and prolific filmmakers. Jahmil has been internationally and locally acknowledged for his directorial work and has premiered feature films in almost every significant festival across the globe. Jahmil has directed a plethora of documentaries, television dramas, commercials and feature films, he has
received the highest accolades for his work including a Peabody and a BAFTA and has persevered and triumphed in this testing industry despite coming of age in a turbulent period of this country’s past. Jahmil’s sophomore feature film Of Good Report (2013) went on to garner multiple awards and plaudits. It had its World premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, and is also the first African film to be selected for official competition at the London BFI International Film Festival. The film went on to win a BAFTA, several SAFTAS and multiple African Movie Academy Awards. In 2016 Jahmil was selected alongside Walter Salles and Jia Zhangke to represent South Africa with his film Stillborn in a BRICS Anthology Collection which premiered in China (2017).
Jahmil’s 2018 film Sew the Winter to my Skin was selected for the exclusive Cannes L’Atelier program (2017), awarded the Berlinale World Cinema Fund, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was chosen to represent South Africa at the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Category. The film has won numerous awards including Best Film at the SAFTAs and Best Director at AFRIFF, with critics hailing it as a brave departure from the norm of South African cinema. Jahmil’s fourth film Knuckle City is set to premiere in 2019. Jahmil is co-owner and Creative Director of the award-winning company Yellowbone Entertainment and is a visionary of South African cinema, striving always to create authentic, ground-breaking work of the highest standards.
Sew the Winter to my Skin (2018)
Director: Jamil X. T. Qubeka
In a racially-charged and violent 1950’s rural South Africa, a liberal journalist recounts the epic chase, edge-of-your-seat capture and intriguing trial of a flamboyant, native “Robin Hood”. His captivating re-imagining, paints a portrait of a divisive outlaw – hunted by the Republic, elusive even to his loved ones, all whilst remaining a champion of the disenchanted.
Master Class with Francois Verster
The Dream of Shahrazad (2015)
Weaving together music, politics and storytelling, The Dream of Shahrazad explores recent social and political events in Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon through the metaphor of The 1001 Nights, and looks at the ways in which creativity and political articulation coincide in response to oppression. Drawing on Shahrazad, a youth orchestra conductor, a Cairo storytelling troupe, a troubled Lebanese actress, and others put art to new political use.
Screening Room/IU Libraries Moving Image Archive
Sea Point Days (2008)
Director: François Verster
On the coast of Cape Town, South Africa’s most segregated city, there is one public space where everyone does seem to come together: the Sea Point Promenade and Municipal Pools. Sea Point Days presents an unusual and impressionistic record of life in Cape Town, using largely cinematic vignettes to explore issues of belonging, integration, nostalgia, happiness and identity in an ex-white South African neighborhood.
Screening Room/IU Libraries Moving Image Archive
Of Good Report
Director: Jahmil X. T. Qubeka
(from IMDB) An introverted high school teacher in rural South Africa starts an obsessive affair with a pupil, with tragic consequences. A South African homage to film noir.
Sponsored by the College Arts and Humanities Institute, the African Studies Program, the Black Film Center/Archive, the Media School, the Center for Documentary Research and Practice, and IU Cinema. This partnership is supported through IU Cinema’s Creative Collaborations program.