United Nations Association Film Festival
Screenings will take place:
October 22-31, 2010. Showtimes: TBD
Araminta de Clermont is a British born photographer who is now based out of Cape Town. Her work explores “rites of passage, and the visual currencies of group identification and formation.” Before Life her second solo show, follows Life After, which was exhibited at Joao Ferreira Gallery, and at ArtSpace, Berlin. Her work features in the UNISA collection, in The Trustman collection, and has been showcased throughout the US and Europe as well as in South Africa.
ETC CREW is the “Cape Town-based, multi-racial, cross-dimensional Hip Hop rap outfit you might’ve already heard of.” Fueled by their own fresh yet energetic, jazzy, head-nodding Hip Hop sound, they are on a mission to fill a cultural and musical gap in the South African music industry. Not content to be followers in the game, they would rather do it differently, making changes on their own terms, armed with the kind of quality beats that speak to your feet and a highly comedic lyrical flow that is completely contagious. ETC Crew is here to re-adjust any kind of attitude that says Hip Hop and rap are strictly for gang bangers.
Faith47 is a Cape Town based graffiti artist and has been adorning the streets of South Africa for over fifteen years. Her work explores the divisions that still exist within South Africa’s communities and seeks to draw attention to the places and people that are often over looked. Her artwork has appeared in galleries across Europe, North and South America as well as throughout Africa.
Jitsvinger (Quintin Goliath) is one of South Africa’s fastest rising Afrikaans vernacular Hip Hop artists. He plays acoustic and electric guitar and successfully launched his debut album, Skeletsleutel, in 2006. He has traveled the country and world, performing at various outdoor and indoor festivals, theaters, clubs, living rooms and even cordoned off streets.
In 2005, Jitsvinger was invited to facilitate a creative writing program at Robben Island. He has performed with poet and author Antjie Krog, and poets Kgafela oa Magododi and Comrade Fatso. He traveled and collaborated with Khoisan praise poet, Jethro Louw, performing traditional cultural music in the Taiwanese cities of Tainan and Taipei. In mid-2008, he traveled to Switzerland as part of the inter-continental Rogue State of Mind project where he performed and recorded with fellow artists from Switzerland and South Africa. Jitsvinger has been working on his follow-up album due for release in 2009.
Kgafela oa Magogodi is a Spoken Word Poet, Spoken Word Theater director and film scholar. He has taught at the University of the Witwatersrand School of the Arts as a lecturer in African Cinema, Oral Performance and Rap/Dub Poetry Studies and has also been a guest lecturer at New York University. He directs and produces original Spoken Word Theater and his productions have included “Itchy City,” “Warsoil,” “Bread,” and “Blood.”
Kgafela has written several screenplays and produced his feature length film, I Mic What I Like, in 2006. He has performed worldwide and was the first recipient of the Steve Biko Fellowship. His work explores the social roles and media representation of Black intellectuals, as well as the significance of maintaining cultural practices to uphold a vibrant civil society.
The Rudimentals are an eight-piece ska/reggae band that have been described as a “South African Institution.” The band released its first CD, “More Fire,” in October, 2003 and the hit song “Noh TV” won a National Bronze Stone award for best music video. In 2004, the band was voted “Best Reggae and Ska Band” in South Africa, by nationally popular Blunt Magazine.
In 2006, the band released their second CD entitled, “Set It Proper.” The CD fuses Ska, Reggae, Dub, Dancehall, Rock, African Mbaquanga and Jazz into what is now known as Afro-Ska. Sponsors include Cape Audio College, Township Guitars, Moskow Clothing and Critik Shoes. In 2007, the Band was signed for their first CD, “More Fire”, with Moonskaworld UK.
Gwen Ansell of Business Day claimed, “(UjU’s) compositions are memorable and the playing rather better than it needs to be. Whatever this new kind of popular music ends up being called, UjU does it exceedingly well.”
Today’s incarnation of the band was crystallized at a twelve-hour jam session in early March, 2004. Led by spiritual leader of the band, Ntuthu Ndlovu (poet and vocals), UjU has a sound that is distinctly their own, mixing strong Mbaqanga rhythms with modern Jazz and Hip Hop. UjU – Zulu for Honey – writes with a heightened consciousness, informed by critical social, economic and political issues. They aim to bring about the entirely new and distinctly South African sound that represents their generation. As they say, “Nothing cheesy here but always self-referential and ironic.”
Streetball was funded by South African PBO (Public Benefit Organization) and United States 501(c)3 public charity From Us With Love (FUWL). With little to no experience in the film industry, but a passion to share the triumphs and tragedies of the 2008/2009 South African Homeless World Cup Teams, Streetball began production in July of 2008.
FUWL asked filmmaker, Demetrius Wren to join them in South Africa in February of 2008 to photograph and make short documentary videos of their ongoing projects. While spending time with the South African Homeless Street Soccer League, President, David Abrahams suggested that Wren make a full length documentary film about street soccer. Wren shared Abrahams request with FUWL Founder, Michael Smith and Smith agreed. Within a few weeks, FUWL approved funding for Streetball.
Streetball was made by a crew of only two. Demetrius Wren and Christina Ghubril shot, wrote, interviewed, directed, edited, photographed, sound mixed, researched, graphic designed, and composed the elements that make up the film under the direction of Executive Producer, Michael Smith, who also founded FUWL in April of 2007.
Thanks to modern technology, two 25 year olds with a lot of passion could complete a film in their living room. Streetball was edited, sound designed and graphic designed on a Mac, using all Mac programs.
FUWL’s strong relationships with organizations involved with the street soccer league, gave Wren and Ghubril full access to the staff and players. Wren and Ghubril would often leave the cameras behind and spend time getting to know the players and the Cape Town community. The friendships that formed made it comfortable to hold conversational interviews and hang out at ease while a camera was around
Without a full crew or imposing equipment, Wren and Ghubril gained access into places and stories that are not often open to “outsiders” or media. Also, without Martin Africa, much of Streetball would not exist. He took Wren and Ghubril into locations that housed local gangs and to where many street people lived. Once, Ghubril watched a man twirl a gun at them while filming in the Quarry but he put it down when he saw Martin with the crew. On Long Street, Martin was told by some kids that if he wasn’t with the crew, they would’ve stolen the cameras.
Ghubril wanted to highlight South African musicians and artists in the film, to give context to the vibrant post-apartheid culture and generation. Wren was inspired by the “Take-Away Videos” — one-shot music videos of bands performing live in their community locations. The two combined their ideas and brought South African musicians into the fabric of the film.
While finishing her undergrad in Johannesburg, Ghubril met Wandile Molebetsi of UjU, and would frequent UjU’s concerts each week. Kgafela oa Magogodi was her professor at NYU and at the University of the Witwatersrand. On her spring break in Cape Town, Ghubril visited the District 6 museum where she was moved by Faith47’s artwork. Jitsvinger, the Rudimentals and ETC Crew, were found on myspace. They all generously donated their time, music and artwork to From Us With Love for Streetball. All proceeds from the film and soundtrack will go to fund From Us With Love’s ongoing projects to bring about hope in South Africa.
Yesterday, Demetrius and I spent the morning and early afternoon at The Ark, a community for individuals dealing with homelessness and/or addictions. It is a fenced in community in the township of Khayalitcha that has been around since the mid 80s and now has a full school, provides housing for families, men, women and children, offers rehabilitation programs, meals for the students, athletic and creative opportunities, as well as social gatherings. It is entirely volunteer led by individuals who have come through the programs and community there. Riaan and Thapelo, two players on the Homeless World Cup team live at The Ark.
In the afternoon, we went to film the ETC Crew in their studio and captured three of their tracks. Demetrius and I are excited to use this music and footage to support the rest of the story. I’d tell you how, but then you’d have nothing to look forward to….
This morning we got up and spent some time at the team’s practice. They are still down one man due to sickness, and Rasta, their keeper, has injured one of his thumbs and is a bit slower than usual. It is not looking promising that Martin will be able to go to Australia. The closer the Homeless World Cup gets, the less likely it is that the pieces will come together in time.
Tonight, we headed to Zula on Long Street for the ETC Crew’s show. The house was packed–we were on the second floor of the building and the floors were shaking as the crowd jumped and danced along with the crew. I can’t lie, there were moments where my mind drifted to pictures of the floor caving in and what kind of stories they’d tell my mother when the news hit. It was nothing but good energy, however, and the guys put on a great show. They have a solid following who are full of energy and excitement.
All in all, it’s been a great few days and we have a packed week coming up, as well. Stay tuned….