The magic of cinema lies not only in the stories told but that of the cinematic experience itself. We’re drawn to a piece of art because of the ways in which we relate to the piece; we see ourselves in the characters, relate our lives to their circumstances. Powerful art imprints itself in our psyche.
Not far removed from the story itself is the experience of consuming it. In the age of digital technology and streaming services, watching a film can become a very insular experience. There’s a detachment from the community of film-goers in favour of holing yourself up at home, curled up on the couch. Whatever the virtues of isolation, there are plenty in favour of community, and it’s the art of the cinematic experience that Until Until are honing in on with the JFF Film Club.
In its third year, the Joburg Film Festival is one that is unique in its approach. Instead of accepting submissions, the festival has a team of experts curating which films are shown at the festival with the aim of showcasing only cinematic excellence. Whittled down to 60 from the over 500 films deliberated upon by the team in the year leading up to the festival, it will run from the 19th to the 24th November this year at a varied locations throughout the city.
The festival has partnered with the Multichoice Group this year, and MultiChoice Executive Group Corporate Affairs, Joe Heshu, says of the partnership “As Africa’s leading storyteller, our partnership with the Joburg Film Festival makes perfect sense. Our collaborative effort to bring African stories to the world and to provide a platform for local talent to shine will be an extremely positive boost for the film industry on the continent.”
In telling African stories, the festival has brought Until Until on board to design a movie-going experience that highlights the splendour of African cinema. Welcome to the JFF Film Club.
In the same way that a book club is a community of book lovers sharing in the experience of the book with discussion, laughter, and reflection; the aim of the film club is to spark a film-watching culture in SA in appreciation of our stories. At its inaugural screening, the JFF Film Club did just that.
The movie choice of the night was Whale Caller; adapted by the Zakes Mda novel of the same name, and directed by Zola Maseko. Starring Sello Maake ka Ncube, the movie is set in Hermanus, and delves into the conflict of a man with an emotional connection to whales. With the acoustics of the venue hauntingly reverberating the whale calls, and the protest placards – imitating those used by demonstrators in the movie – plastered to the walls upon entry, every effort was made to curate an experience that added to our movie watching pleasure.
We sprawled on bean bags with movie treats in hand while Lunga Nene gave context on the festival and Zola Maseko answered questions on the process of making the movie. Replete with gourmet platters and drinks of choice, the perfectly curated experience executed by Until Until left us wanting for more.
The next instalment of the Film Club will be on the 7th November. An invite-only event, you can follow the JFF Film Club on Twitter and Instagram for details on how to be part of the club, and details of the festival as well.