A stellar jury to adjudicate the 2019 Joburg Film Festival’s ‘In Competition’ films

News: South Africa

An international, all-star lineup of Jurors has been enlisted to adjudicate the 2019 Joburg Film Festival’s ‘In Competition’ films.

A stellar jury to adjudicate the 2019 Joburg Film Festival’s ‘In Competition’ films

Multi-award winning author, Zakes Mda; NCIS: New Orleans and Avatar actress, CCHPounder, South African screen star Florence Masebe, renowned Nigerian documentary filmmaker, screenwriter and cinematographer Femi Odugbemi and Canadian academic and writer, Nataleah Hunter-Young will select the Joburg Film Festival’s finest films, with the winners set to be announced at the Festival’s Gala Awards evening on 23 November.

Three honours will be awarded, with recipients taking home the festival’s prestigious Nguni Horn trophy and a cash prize. The Best Film and Best African Film winners each receive a R50 000 cash prize, with a Special Recognition Award winner, selected by the Jurors, also receiving a R20 000 cash prize.

The 10 ‘In Competition’ films at this year’s Joburg Film Festival are:

  1. Rocks (Director: Sarah Gavron);
  2. Letters Of Hoe (Director: Vusi’Africa);
  3. Farming (Director: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje);
  4. Our Lady Of The Nile (Director: Atiq Rahimi);
  5. Indigo (Director: Selma Bargach);
  6. Yardie (Director: Idris Elba);
  7. Redemption (Director: Mickey Fonseca);
  8. Bombay Rose (Director:  Gitanjali Rao);
  9. Flatland (Director: Jenna Bass);
  10. Papicha (Director: Mounia Meddour).


Jury Biographies:

CCH Pounder

Award winning actress CCH Pounder portrays “Dr. Loretta Wade” on the CBS series, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS. In addition, Pounder will reprise her role of “Mo’at” in James Cameron’s upcoming sequels AVATAR 2 and 3. Other notable projects include the television shows WAREHOUSE 13, SONS OF ANARCHY, REVENGE,BROTHERS, LAW & ORDER: SVU and HBO's THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY, which garnered Pounder her fourth Emmy® nomination.  Her numerous film credits include her breakout role in BAGDAD CAFÉ.  

For seven years, Pounder portrayed "Claudette Wyms" on the critically acclaimed FX series, THE SHIELD, which earned her many accolades including an Emmy® nomination, the MIB Prism Award," two Golden Satellite Awards and the “Genii Excellence in TV Award.” Other honors for Pounder include an Emmy® nomination for her role as Dr. Angela Hicks on the NBC series ER and an Emmy® nomination for her role in FOX's The X-FILES.  In addition, she received a Grammy® Award nomination for "Best Spoken Word Album" for GROW OLD ALONG WITH ME, THE BEST IS YET TO BE.

A graduate of Ithaca College, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the school and was their 2010 Commencement Speaker. Pounder serves on the Board of the African Millennium Foundation and was a founding member of Artists for a New South Africa. 

Zakes Mda

Zakes Mda is the author of the novels Ways of Dying and The Heart of Redness, among many others. He was born in the Eastern Cape, but spent his early childhood in Soweto, finishing his school education in Lesotho. He is a prolific writer of novels, plays, poems and articles for academic journals and newspapers, and his writing has been translated into twenty languages. His creative work also includes painting, and theatre and film productions.

He has won numerous literary awards in South Africa and the United States of America. He studied in Lesotho, South Africa and the USA and is a founding member of the African Writers Trust, an initiative that aims to bring together African writers. Mda is based in the United States, where he is currently Professor of English at Ohio University.

Femi Odugbemi

Femi Odugbemi is a Nigerian documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, cinematographer, director, producer and photographer. Odugbemi was born in Lagos State, south western Nigeria He attended Montana State University where he studied film and television production. After graduating, he worked briefly at the Nigeria Television Authority and later as film and radio producer at Lintas Advertising and McCann-Erickson.

He has scripted, directed and produced documentaries, short films and drama. He produced Tinsel, a Nigerian soap opera that began airing in August 2008 acclaimed "the most successful television drama on Nigerian television in recent times" in 2013. He has cemented his reputation as one of the top TV drama Producers in Africa with his year 2018 TV series Battleground which drew massive viewership across the continent with over 400 episodes. Odugbemi scripted, directed and produced Bariga Boys, a multiple award-winning Nigerian documentary about street performers in Bariga, Lagos.

Nataleah Hunter-Young

Nataleah Hunter-Young is a film programmer, writer, and PhD candidate in Communication and Culture at Ryerson and York Universities. She has supported festival programming for the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, and the Durban International Film Festival. In 2019, Nataleah was awarded the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship for her ongoing research into late representations of mediated police brutality in contemporary art. You can find her recent writing online with Canadian Art Magazine, the Gardiner Museum, Xtra, as well as in issue #58 of PUBLIC: Arts | Culture | Ideas, which she also co-edited. Nataleah was born and raised in community.

Florence Masebe

Born in November 1972 in Limpopo, Florence Masebe has been on television screens since she was in her twenties. Masebe attended the UCT Drama School and began acting professionally in 1993.

She has bagged roles in popular soapies like Generations, 7de Laan, Rhythm City and's Scandal amongst many other shows. But many remember her role as Humbulani on Muvhango. She has also won several awards for Best Actress  at the Africa Movie Academy Awards for her role in Elelwani.

“As Africa’s most-loved storytellers, MultiChoice is honoured to have these remarkable international storytellers join us to help recognise the best work at the Joburg Film Festival,” says MultiChoice Group Executive of Corporate Affairs, Joe Heshu.

Joburg Film Festival Executive Director Timothy Mangwedi says that films, as a method of storytelling have a capacity to unify us in a unique way. “Further, the film industry is key to how our country will shape its future creative economy and diverse cultural identity. In this way, we respond to the national imperative to grow the economy, unlock jobs and transform our society. This is especially true because as Joburg is the home of film and television South Africa,” he says.

The Joburg Film Festival, which runs 19-24 November, showcases 60 films at 6 venues across Johannesburg, with a hub in Sandton (at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, a structure on Nelson Mandela Square and at Ster-Kinekor Sandton) as well as at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank; The Bioscope in Maboneng and Kings Theatre in Alexandra.

For more information on the Joburg Film Festival go to:


@joburg_film_festival on Instagram;

@joburgfilmfest on Twitter and; on Facebook




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