Since the first edition the Cape Winelands Film Festival (CWFF) has significantly grown in size and international participation. More than 70 features, documentaries and short films from over 35 countries were in competition since the previous edition of the festival. More than130 productions formed part of the festival programme.
The main objective of the CWFF is to provide a window on world cinemas. Previous highlights included a focus on the cinemas of Egypt, Israel, Brazil, Italy, Iran, as well as the former Yugoslavia (Balkan states). South African movie lovers had an opportunity to see a rich diversity of films from more than 35 countries including Brazil, the USA, Canada, Egypt, Iran, Israel, the UK, Netherlands, Portugal, Chile, Cuba, Italy, France, Thailand, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Russia, Serbia, Rwanda and South Africa.
The festival also aims to build a rich film culture among South African audiences by celebrating great achievements of the past. During the first edition of the Cape Winelands Film festival the oeuvres of giants of the cinema such as Ingmar Bergman, Youssef Chahine and Ousmane Sembene have been highlighted. The intention is to create an awareness of past and present milestones in world cinema. The festival again paid homage to the great Egyptian master, Youssef Chahine, who past away during 2008. His famous “Alexandria…Why?”, a brilliant blend of autobiographical concerns and a portrait of Egypt was screened for the first time at a South African film festival.
The festival organisers were also delighted to include a tribute to the great Portugese director, Manoel de Oliveira, an international film treasure. During 2008 De Oliveira was honoured at the Cannes Film Festival with a Palme d’Or for his lifetime career achievement in film, which spans more than five decades. Born on December 12, 1908, in the northern Portuguese city of Porto, De Oliveira began his directorial film career in the 1930s. Since he had turned 80 years old the master of Portuguese cinema directed more than 19 feature length films, some of them masterpieces of recent European cinema. De Oliveira is famous for his cinematic adaptations of literary work by Camilo Castelo Branco (1862–1890), José Régio (1899–1969) en Agustina Bessa-Luís (1922–), as well as his use of theatrical conventions in his films.
The organisers also celebrated the work of the great African director, Idrissa Ouédraogo, winner of various international awards at major festivals such as Cannes, Berlin and FESPACO. His great films, Tilai, Yaaba, Anger of the Gods and the small gem La Mangue, which forms part of the powerful compilation film Stories on Human Rights, were screened in collaboration with the African Cinema Unit at the University of Cape Town.
It seems that our idea has worked for the audiences, because our festival has grown continuously in recent years.