The first edition of DocuFest Africa gets underway in the beautiful setting of Michaelhouse in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on the weekend of April 6-7, 2013. The festival will run parallel to the Encounters documentary film festival in the same venue.
Mostly using the format of projected screenings with questions and answers, the festival is focused on documentary photography and the curation of archives – the interface between capturing significant stories in the present and preserving and retelling those stories in the future. That for me is an exciting interaction. The festival comes in the midst of The Digital Campus which bring together professional media (photographers, picture editors, picture researchers, designers etc.) with heritage professionals (archivists, curators, collections managers, librarians etc.), an exciting interface of two communities that have much to give to one another.
The line up this year reflects the mix of new and old. Michiel Munneke, Managing Director of World Press Photo will head the line up looking at Africa and Africans in World Press Photo from when the competition started in 1955 to the present. Veteran musician and sound man David Marks starts the Sunday line-up at 8:30 am with From Woodstock to Splashy (via Witbank and Welkom) a look at the “hidden years” of South African music. Paul Weinberg follows exploring his family history and archives in Dear Edward – family footprints, the subject of his new book, asking important questions about who writes history and who is left out. Mozambican photographer Rui Assubuji looks back at the legacy of Ricardo Rangel and his profound influence on photography in Mozambique in Documenting the Documenters: Ricardo Rangel and Mozambican Photography in which he introduces and shows the documentary film by Bruno Z’Graggen and Angelo Sansone “No Flash: Homage to Ricardo Rangel, photographer (Mozambique, 1924–2009).”
Eric Miller’s Amatsha Ntliziyo: The Never-Give-Ups looks at the present crisis that grandmothers face in South Africa in looking after orphaned children as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. After lunch veteran KZN photographer who is making significant waves in the international art scene, Cedric Nunn, will present his important retrospective Call and Response that particularly looks and the impact of apartheid social engineering on ordinary citizens of South Africa, particularly in the rural areas. Cedric is followed by East Asia based multimedia journalist, Sharron Lovell who will look at the changing documentary practice for stills photographers in Documentary Convergence: From Stills to Video. Veteran Durban photographer, Peter McKenzie will round the festival off by looking at the future of documentary practice in Documentary Practice: A New Generation.
I am totally thrilled by the line-up of speakers that has emerged and the possibilities of conversations that can come out of the event, particularly between those tasked with capturing history and those tasked with preserving it. I look forward to seeing you there.