Prepare yourself for the annual Shnit International Film Festival starting this Wednesday. Cape Town is one of the eight participating cities along with Bern, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Hong Kong, Moscow and San Jose and Bangkok screening the world’s best short films. With a line-up of international and local fiction, documentary and animated shorts, the festival provides an eclectic viewing experience for film lovers and invaluable networking opportunities, panel discussions and round tables for filmmakers. There’s more than two hundred and fifty films, screened in eight cities over one week. Here’s a sneak peak of some locally made films taking part in this year’s competition.
Flies by Michael MacGarry
Visual artist and filmmaker Michael MacGarry’s Flies tells the story of an elderly Afrikaans municipal architect, who inherits a colossal but derelict apartment complex he once designed. The film is set in Pretoria in 1995 and explores the consequences of imperialism which play out after the protagonist witnesses a political assassination.
Stiff by Samantha Nell
This dark comedy by Samantha Nell, who was recently announced as a participant in the Cannes South Africa Film Factory, is about a Sowetan undertaker, Tholang. He’s always been good with death until one day, his niece arrives to apprentice under him and loses the corpse of an important politician. Stiff explores how through dealing with death we cope with life.
The Call by Zamo Mkhwana
Zamo Mkhwanazi, the head writer of the M-Net series Ya Llazi, directs an urban drama where an emotionally isolated taxi driver is told he may be the father to child of a pregnant prostitute named Purity. Despite initially offering to pay for an abortion, he finds himself conflicted and wonders if he should save a child that could potentially be his own and start over, or if he’s destined to live in regret.
Umva by Jessie Zinn
Still completing her degree at the University of Cape Town, emerging filmmaker Jessie Zinn presents an experimental documentary revolving around South Africa’s present condition of post-democratic disillusionment experienced by “born frees” who, despite not growing up during apartheid, still feel encumbered in the present day.
Stukkend (Broken) by Mia M. Holm
Made by 23 year old Mia M. Holm, this drama chronicles the life of a young 26 year old who is released from prison and wishes to break free from gang life, but faces many difficulties once reunited with his former gang.
Orbis by Simon Wood
Filmed over thirty continuous days, this documentary looks at the lives of those residing in one of South African’s largest townships, Umlazi, and how their lives are shaped by living near Africa’s busiest port in Durban. Director Simon Wood explores themes of consumption, creation and reinvention.
Too Bloody Famous by Dave Meinert
Dave Meinert is a Capetonian filmmaker and commercials director, whose unique short form work has been featured by Vimeo Staff Picks, the Huffington Post, Time and BuzzFeed. This story has been sourced from existing footage spanning several years to share the tale of the struggling background extras artist, David, as he prepares for his latest role – it’s guaranteed to make you laugh-cry.
Car Guardian by Thembalethu Mfebe
Set in Cape Town, this film explores the moral dilemma presented to a car guard when he discovers one of the cars he’s looking after is unlocked. Does he steal valuables to feed his family or live up to his moral standards? Thembalethu is graduate from the University of Cape Town currently working at MNet’s Magic in Motion Academy and aspires to fulfil the role of a modern day African Griot.
Lost in Transmission by Jasyn Howes
Set in 1990s suburban South Africa, this is about a math professor who is determined to make contact with lifeforms in distant galaxies. His obsession puts his marriage under immense strain until one unusual Sunday afternoon changes everything.
Lifestream by Dylan Thomson
Hailing from East London, Dylan is currently studying at the University of Cape Town where he continues to hone his skills in directing as well as post-production. Lifestream is a quirky sci-fi short exploring the possibilities and consequences of loading online videos into real life – investigating what happens when you have the power to anger a Youtube cover singer, steal a vlogger’s scarf or put life on pause.
For a comprehensive program and outline of the Shnit festival visit their website.