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Encounters Film Festival 2012: Dancing with the Devil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has been the setting and theme for many films in the last decade. The crossfire and urban war between cops and drug lords rages on, inspiring films like City of God, Elite Squad and even the Fast and Furious 5. Diversity, colour and rustic beauty form the backdrop for one of the most serious deadlocks in recent history as the government attempts to neutralise a situation that is fast becoming a national trademark. In Dancing with the Devil, Jon Blair takes to the streets with a mobile crew of filmmakers and presents the situation from the perspective of several key players.

Blair documents the lives of three men in Dancing with the Devil: a cop, a pastor and a drug dealer, coming into contact with locals and some of the most notorious drug lords in the city. From an ordinary day in the favelas to hostile clean-and-sweep police situations, the camera roves between these vulnerable men and portrays a situation, in which everyone has a job to do, whether its raiding drug dens, protecting a stash or trying to bring men closer to God. "Another day, another dollar" is the thinking and in a strange way, the cops and criminals aren't so different... both armed by their day jobs, both trapped in a cycle of violence that seems altogether unstoppable and meaningless. Blair investigates their "noble" motivations and wrestles with the socio-economic factors that keep these men chained to their second choice pursuits.

'Under African Skies' to open 14th Encounters Film Festival

Under African Skies
will open the 14th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, which runs from 7-24 June 2012 in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Directed by Emmy and Peabody winner Joe Berlinger, the documentary tells the inside story of Paul Simon’s trip to South Africa to record Graceland and his return last year to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The bestselling, Grammy-winning album introduced South African music to the world and has been included in numerous Best Album of All Time lists by the likes of Rolling Stone and Time, but the trip was heavily criticized at the time, as it undermined the cultural embargo against Apartheid.

Under African Skies was a favourite at Sundance earlier this year, where The Hollywood Reporter called it “pure bliss.”

Africa Movie Academy Awards - AMAA Nominees & Winners 2012


South African Charlie Vundla scooped Best Director and his debut, film noir thriller How to Steal 2 Million, was named Best Film at the eighth Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), held last night, 22 April 2012, at The Expo Centre, Eko Hotel & Suite in Lagos, Nigeria. South African actress Terry Pheto was named Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, which also won Best Achievement in Editing (Garreth Fradgely). With four awards, How to Steal 2 Million was the most awarded film on the night.

Nigeria’s Benin-set historical epic Adesuwa was a close second with three awards, for Costume Design, Visual Effects, and Best Nigerian Film. South Africa’s crime drama State of Violence won Best Film in an African Language and Best Achievement in Sound.

Man on Ground, a Nigerian/South African xenophobia-themed coproduction, won the Special Jury Award – given for only the third time since the inception of AMAA – and Best Supporting Actor for South African Fana Mokoena.

Nigeria’s Rita Dominic was named Best Actress for her role in Kenyan film Shattered, while Ghanaian Majid Michel won Best Actor for his role in Somewhere in Africa. Toussaint Louverture was named Best Diaspora Film. Nigeria was the most awarded country on the night, receiving 12 awards, followed closely by South Africa with 10.

Some of the biggest names from black Hollywood were at The AMAAs, including Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Lynn Whitfield (The Josephine Baker Story and Without a Trace); Morris Chestnut (American Horror Story, Boyz in the Hood); Rockmond Dunbar (Prison Break, Sons of Anarchy) and Maya Gilbert (General Hospital, Days of Our Lives).

Heroes star Jimmy Jean-Louis hosted the prestigious awards, which included performances from Asa, 2Face Idibia and Senegal’s Viviane Ndour.

Spling on The Brothers Streep Show: Movie Edition

The Brothers Streep are a duo of South African musical comedians best known for their breakthrough appearances on SA Idols and The Graham Norton Show. After four years of podcasting and appearing on other popular shows, Simon van Wyk and Dylan Hichens decided to host their own show on 2OceansVibe Radio.

Spling was invited to be a guest on their special movie edition show on Friday the 13th to chat about being a movie critic, film etiquette, favourite films with a special movie ideas pitch session. Here's what went down...

The Brother Streep Show: Movie Edition featuring Spling

African Film Library Delivers the Best in African Cinema Online


The African Film Library, the world’s largest archive of award-winning African cinema, is now live at africanfilmlibrary.com. A project more than 3 years in the making, the African Film Library (AFL) allows users to rent and view hundreds of films from the continent’s best filmmakers via a secure website, worldwide, for just US$5.

A vast catalogue of short films, feature films and documentaries from across the continent is available in a variety of languages and includes films by – amongst many others - Senegalese legend Ousmane Sembène (Borom Sarret, La noire de…), Egypt’s Youssef Chahine (Le Destin, Saladin, The 6th Day, The Land and The Sparrow), Senegal’s Djibril diop Mambéty (Badou Boy, Hyenes, Le Franc and Touki Bouki), Haile Gerima, Knaw Ansah, Flora Gomes, Jean Rouch and Idrissa Ouedragou.

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