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Encounters Documentary Festival goes virtual

Encounters 2020 will open virtually to all South Africans in August with the première of the much-anticipated documentary, Influence. 

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Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, which will run from 20 to 30 August 2020, is responding to the world’s new reality by making the Festival available to every person in South Africa who has an Internet connection to stream the films. 

Encounters cements its place as Africa’s leading documentary festival as it celebrates its 22nd year by making most of the films free-of-charge to view on virtual platforms, but will also screen at selected cinema venues in Johannesburg and Cape Town from 20 to 30 August. 

In another historic move for the local film industry, the new Encounters Documentary Festival will première with the first South African screening of the highly-anticipated political feature Influence a profile of “morally slippery British reputation manager” Lord Timothy Bell of now-defunct PR firm Bell Pottinger. 

The investigative journalists and filmmakers Richard Poplack and Diana Neille, who directed the film, say they can’t wait to see the response from South Africans. “In the end, Influence is a triumphant South African David and Goliath Story in which our country collectively stood up against the abuses of a powerful multinational…and won. We’re thrilled and so proud to finally be bringing it home.” 

During this challenging time of COVID-19, the courageous step toward a new kind of film festival has been a monumental team effort, says Encounters Festival Director Mandisa Zitha, and the result of innovative action from all sides of the film sector. 

After two decades offering South African and international audiences compelling and groundbreaking documentaries this move into the digital arena sees Encounters at the cutting-edge of cinema’s next wave. 

Read more about Influence here

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