Cape Town – Acclaimed Action Commandant film-maker Nadine Cloete, through telling a short fictional story inspired by the forced removals in District Six, walked away with the Audience Choice Award at this year’s recent Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).
The accolade for the short fictional film Address Unknown comes in the 41st year of the annual festival, which was presented virtually between September 10 and September 20.
Cloete, who has directed various SABC programmes and has four short documentaries, is a Cape Town independent film-maker. Her work focuses on identity and history.
She took to Facebook, thanking supporters who voted for the film. She also announced that a screening had been planned at the District Six Museum.
“A huge thanks to everyone who voted! Audience Choice Award makes a solid statement from South Africans about the kind of stories we want to see. We are excited to plan a screening in support of the D6 Museum really soon,” Cloete wrote.
Written by former journalist, anti-apartheid activist and Umkhonto we Sizwe guerrilla Anton Fisher, the powerful short film follows the close friendship of postman Joey and his childhood friend Ebie, which survives the brutality of the apartheid government’s forced removals.
The short film is Fisher’s debut as a scriptwriter.
DIFF wrote: “Address Unknown is the first-ever short fiction film that is based on the tragic forced removal of persons of colour from District Six in Cape Town, South Africa, under apartheid.
“This tragedy is captured in a short, fictional way through the eyes of the main character, Joey, a postman in District Six.
’’Set in 1976 when South Africa was experiencing a massive wave of anti-apartheid protests, Joey is traumatised and depressed by the brutal destruction of his community as he tries in vain to deliver letters to friends and neighbours who have disappeared.
“These letters that cannot be delivered are marked ‘Address Unknown’. The film captures Joey’s effort to find Ebie and deliver his letters to him, despite the danger of the massive protests.”
Address Unknown has been making international waves. The film was selected to showcase at the BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia in the US.
This year the DIFF curated a film programme that spoke to the historical injustices, and the different ways in which healing and redress is sought through the 21st century lens under the theme ’’Shifting Paradigms’’.
“The plots in the selected films, through different lenses, have shown contemporary relevance to the challenges currently being faced by the world which has progressively over the last few years begun to interrogate history to right wrongs and restore human dignity to previously disenfranchised populaces,” DIFF website wrote.