A filmic first for Fordsburg

2011-09-16 09:23

Fordsburg’s last surviving independent bioscope, the Majestic Theatre, will host the first Fordsburg Film Festival, which fittingly falls on Heritage Day weekend.

Fordsburg was originally one of the four mining camps out of which Joburg grew. From the 1940s, it was at the cutting edge of black urban culture, but apartheid’s forced removals sent the area into decline.

In the post-apartheid era, however, with the immigrant settlement of Indian, Bengali, Pakistani and Somali people, Fordsburg has been dramatically revitalised.

Today it is described as “Little India”, populated by a colourful array of pavement vendors, restaurants and service shops of barbers, tailors and the like.

On the festival’s bill are 11 films that engage with the area specifically. Each screening over the three-day festival is followed by a discussion featuring the filmmakers as well as prominent residents of the area who speak about subjects of the film.

Among the films is Eldorado, which is inspired by the experiences of the first-time, young filmmakers who were born and bred in Eldorado Park in the 1980s.

The film is a gritty story of a gang that meets an end as harsh as the environment that forged it.

Eldorado Park owes its birth to the rupture of forced removals from places such as Kliptown, Newclare, Fietas and Alexandra.

For the filmmakers, the very fact of the film’s making, with a first-time crew and a cast of locals, is a proclamation of hope for the young people of “Eldos”.

Among the documentaries is Come Back, Africa, Lionel Rogosin’s film that features the likes of Miriam Makeba, Lewis Nkosi and Bloke Modisane as themselves.

This is a copy of a hard-to-come-by film that is an absolutely unique and precious record of the culture that permeated black urban localities like Sophiatown and surrounds in Johannesburg in the 1950s.

» You can see Eldorado on Friday at 8pm and Come Back, Africa on Saturday at 2.30pm. For a full programme   082 447 8080 or 073 284 1372 

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