Encounters reveals the winners of the Backsberg Encounters Audience Awards at the 2019 South African International Documentary Festival.

It has been announced today that the local documentary STROOP: JOURNEY INTO THE RHINO HORN WAR has been named the Best South African Film as voted by audiences attending the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival which ended last Sunday 16th June. 

A sell-out success at Encounters director Susan Scott’s “STROOP: JOURNEY INTO THE RHINO HORN WAR” follows two female filmmakers who travel to the African bush and South-East Asia in search of answers to the deliberate slaughter of the world’s diminishing rhino population. 

STROOP was narrowly ahead of Dali Tambo’s tribute to his father Oliver Tambo the revered ANC leader in OLIVER TAMBO: THE JEWEL IN OUR CROWN and BUDDHA IN AFRICA, Nicole Schafer’s delicately observed documentary about a Malawian teenager in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, who finds himself torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing.

THE SILENCE OF OTHERS was voted the Best International Documentary. This stirring Spanish documentary centres on the struggle of a group of ageing victims of General Franco’s 40-year dictatorship who attempt to bring their former perpetrators to justice. Directed by Emmy-winning directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar and executive produced by the celebrated Pedro Almodóvar.

Runners-up were THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS filmmaker Tim Wardle’s gripping, stranger-than-fiction account of three strangers who are reunited by astonishing coincidence after being born identical triplets, separated at birth, and adopted by three different families and RBG the profile of the 84 year old U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg which charts the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’ and her rise to the nation’s highest court .

Encounter’s Director Mandisa Ralane says “This year’s Encounters ended on a high note with the Best of the Best, after a week of back-to-back screenings in packed cinemas of 68 documentaries from around the world, 117 filmmakers and guest speakers who participated in expert panels and remarkable audience discussions. Encounters provides this democratic space for free and open discussions after the screenings, and this is an essential part of the Festival, to encourage community engagement around urgent societal issues.

Thank you for a successful Festival to all of Encounters sponsors, partners, filmmakers, supporters, volunteers, staff and to the thousands of people who attended numerous screenings across the 8 cinema venues in Johannesburg and Cape Town. “

Best wishes 


Website:  www.encounters.co.za

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Encounters is made possible by the support of National Film and Video Foundation, Bertha Foundation, Film Cape Town, City of Cape Town, WESGRO, Public Square Films, Gauteng Film Commission, Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa Consulate General of Switzerland in Cape Town, Swiss Films, IFAS – The French Institute of South Africa, DOK.fest Munich, Goethe-Institut, Backsberg Estate Cellars, HCI Foundation, Refinery, Documentary Filmmakers Association, South African Guild of Editors, UCT Centre for Film & Media Studies, City Varsity, Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking, Webber Wentzel, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Labia, Ster Kinekor Cinema Nouveau, The Bioscope, Bertha Movie House in Khayelitsha, Bertha Bioscope at Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education, Protea Hotel Fire & Ice and Royale International