‘London Recruits’ as Opening Film

“Joburg Film Festival Sets Apartheid-Era Documentary ‘London Recruits’ as Opening Film, Announces Full Line-Up”

Feb 15th, 2024

Gordon Main’s apartheid-era documentary “London Recruits” has been tapped as the opening film at the sixth Joburg Film Festival, which takes place Feb. 27 – March 3 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The film sheds light on a pivotal moment in South Africa‘s history, when the struggle against the apartheid government in South Africa developed a new secret weapon. Oliver Tambo hatched a plan to infiltrate young British activists into the country, posing as tourists. Their mission, in the face of brutal lockdown by the racist regime, was to help inspire ordinary South Africans to join a liberation movement that would never give up till freedom was won.

The film is produced by Jacintha de Nobrega (“Deep End”), Robyn Slovo (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “McMafia”), Geoff Arbourne (“Forever Pure,” “African Apocalypse”), Colin Charles (“The Surveyor”), James Barrett (“A Change in the Weather”) and Felix Gill (“78/52″). As Variety previously reported, XYZ Films is repping the doc’s North American sales.

Earlier this week, organizers announced the full line-up for the Joburg Film Festival’s 2024 edition, with more than 60 films from 30-plus countries slated to screen during the six-day event. Highlights include Wim Wenders’ Cannes prize winner and Oscar nominee “Perfect Days,” Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Venice winner “Evil Does Not Exist,” Raven Jackson’s Barry Jenkins-produced “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt,” and C.J. Obasi’s Sundance-winning “Mami Wata.”

Following on the heels of the festival’s post-pandemic reboot last year, Johannesburg will again play host to the JBX Content Market, a parallel platform created to connect African content creators with buyers from both Africa and the international industry. The event, which runs Feb. 28 – March 1, will include a market area with exhibition stands for participants, as well as a full slate of workshops and panel discussions on topics such as the content strategies for both global and regional VOD platforms, and Africa’s rising animation and gaming scenes.

Also on Wednesday, the Joburg Film Festival announced the jurors who will preside over its three competition strands. They are Kenyan-born filmmaker Tosh Gitonga (“Nairobi Half-Life”); South African actors Nthati Moshesh and Jerry Mofokeng wa Makthetha; international sales and production veteran Pape Boye; and South African festival manager and programmer Andrea Voges.

Here’s the list of films that will be competing at the Joburg Film Festival:

Best African/Diaspora Film

“Hajjan” (Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan)
“Mami Wata” (Nigeria)
“Under the Hanging Tree” (Namibia)
“Yellow Bus” (UAE)

Best Film 

“Death of a Whistleblower” (South Africa)
“Snake” (South Africa)
“Thus Spoke Zolani” (South Africa)
“All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” (U.S.)
“Mandoob” (Saudi Arabia)
“Tiger Stripes” (Malaysia)
“Whisper of Fire and Water” (India)

Best Documentary

“Bye Bye Tiberias” (Belgium, Palestine)
“London Recruits” (South Africa, U.K.)
“Life Through This Lens: Sam Nzima” (South Africa)
“Who I Am Not” (U.S., Romania)

This article is from Variety and is republished under a creative commons license.

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