Written by on February 9, 2023

The official awards ceremony took place Friday night at The Theatre on The Square in Sandton, Johannesburg, as the fifth iteration of the Joburg Film Festival, presented by Multichoice, neared its conclusion.

The Egyptian feature film “Feathers,” which was directed by Omar El Zohairy, was selected the festival’s “Best Film” by the international jury.

There is much to be said about Egyptian society and the place of women in this absurdist tale about a patriarch who turns into a chicken.

The moving black-and-white Ethiopian documentary “Faya Dayi,” which Jessica Beshir directed, wrote, starred in, and produced, won the “Best African Film” prize. The movie takes viewers on a spiritual trip across the Harar highlands while they are submerged in khat ceremonies.

The explosive documentary “Nous, étudiants (We, Students),” directed by Rafiki Fariala for his first feature film, won the prize for “Best Documentary.”

In it, the director turns the camera on himself and his companions to document their daily lives as Bangui University students. They discuss their plans for the future of the Central African Republic with clarity and poetry.

An international group of esteemed and renowned filmmakers and industry professionals served on this year’s prestigious jury, including the multi-award-winning producer Carolyn Carew from South Africa, the Lesotho filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, who is based in Berlin, the published author, columnist, and poet Njoko Muhoho, the Sundance alumnus and filmmaker Mohamed Siam, and the French/Egyptian director and producer Jihan El

“The JFF 2023 jury procedure was remarkable coming together of the brains of highly skilled and diverse African team of filmmakers. 
The variety of knowledge and narrative abilities were used in the discussions. 
We screened and watched the films with focus and discipline, showing our respect for one another’s craft as filmmakers. 
Although long, the hours were just as intense and enjoyable. 
The three category winners of the JFF 2023 were agreed upon by all. 
If given the chance, my fellow jurors and will serve on another jury, said Njoki Muhoho.
The Multichoice Group, an event partner, recognized several outstanding filmmakers during the Awards Night. 
The following are the awards given:

The Milton Empire’s Siphosethu Tshapu won the Emerging Storyteller Award.

Gwydion Beynon and Phathutshedzo Makwarela won the Global Storyteller Award (Tshedza Pictures)

Chris Q Radebe receives the Fearless Storyteller Award (Match Pictures)

Connie Chiume received the Anasi Award.

Award for a Rising African Star: Star Kganki Mphahlele (Pula Bakgaga Media)

Collen Dlamini, Executive Corporate Affairs for Multichoice Group, stated, “Our partnership with The Joburg Film Festival is one that speaks to our ethos of being Africa’s most loved storyteller, and we thank the Joburg Film Festival for partnering with us once again as we celebrate the amazing storytellers who have inspired us.

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and to all the award recipients; you have all demonstrated what it means to value narrative.

The Young Voices film competition, a project of The Joburg Film Fest Youth and Audience Development Programme, was also announced as a winner on the Awards night. Over 300 young people were targeted by the program’s province-wide skills transfer project this year through a series of seminars held in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, West Rand, Sedibeng, and Johannesburg.

The seminars were specifically designed for young people in townships, and participants included professionals from the film industry who shared their in-depth expertise and understanding of the great craft of cinematic storytelling with receptive audiences.

As part of the Young Voices film competition, aspiring filmmakers from all over South Africa between the ages of 18 and 25 were also encouraged to submit a video with the topic “Our Stories, Our Gold.”

George Temba, a native of Tshwane, won the Young Voices Award out of all the submissions for his short film “Young Shepherd.”

The film festival definitely has made a mark.

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