Hip hop and haute couture and Calvin & Hobbes

Design Indaba FilmFest 2015 returns to South Africa's oldest indie cinema with a lineup of all South African premieres, and soon-to-be announced world premiere.
Stripped: The Comics Documentary

In less than three weeks the annual Design Indaba FilmFest opens in Cape Town: a 10-day festival chockablock with South African premieres. Some of the films are premiering for the first time in Africa and one, soon-to-be-announced film, for the first time worldwide.

The highly curated selection of feature films and documentaries on creativity and design were picked for their varied takes on architecture, urban design, fashion, photography, street and performance art and motion graphics. And, this year, the daily cinematic boost of creativity returns to The Labia from 20 February to 1 March.

The Labia is the oldest independent art repertory cinema in South Africa, a historical cultural landmark and a heritage site. The theatre opened in 1949 and initially was used for staging live performances. Over the years it has built a reputation in Cape Town for its quirkiness and developed a passionate following among locals. Design Indaba contributed to The Labia’s recent fundraising drive to buy digital projectors for all four of its screens.

Watch the trailers for these 10 premiering films at Design Indaba FilmFest 2015, each showing for one night only:

Big Eyes (opening night) tells the outrageous true story of one of the most epic art frauds in history. In the 1960s, painter Walter Keane achieved massive success by taking credit for his wife Margaret Keane’s paintings. Her work revolutionised the commercialisation of popular art with enigmatic paintings of waifs with big eyes.

Stripped: The Comics Documentary is the ultimate love-letter to comic strips. It brings together the world’s best cartoonists to talk about the art form they love and what happens to them as the era of the newspaper fades. The film features more than 90 interviews with the world’s best comics, including the creators of Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield.

Stories of Our Lives (Special Edition) is a Kenyan film created by The Nest, a Nairobi-based alternative arts collective who initially removed their names from the film for fear of reprisal. This anthology film dramatises true-life stories from Kenya’s oppressed LGBTQ community in what can only be described as both a labour of love and a bold act of militancy.

The Newsroom – Off The Record offers an intensely close portrait of the newsroom at a popular Danish tabloid during a turbulent period marked by controversy, scandal and dropping newsstand sales.

Regarding Susan Sontag is an intimate investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. The documentary explores Sontag’s life through archived materials, accounts from friends, family and colleagues, and interviews she conducted.

Art and Craft is about Mark Landis, one of the most prolific art forgers in US history. His impressive body of work spans 30 years, covering a wide range of painting styles and periods. After duping Matthew Leininger, a tenacious registrar who ultimately discovers the decades-long ruse and sets out to expose Landis’ escapades, Landis must confront his own legacy and a chorus of museum professionals clamouring for him to stop.

The Salt Of The Earth director Wim Wenders creates a masterful documentary that looks at the work of photographer and humanitarian Sebastião Salgado over the last 40 years. The audience is taken on a great journey through Salgado’s career during international conflict and famine and in remote tribal communities.

Shake The Dust trails the influence of hip hop culture to the most unexpected corners of the globe – to Uganda, Yemen, Cambodia, Haiti and Somalia where hip hop and breakdancing thrives in Third World rural communities and urban ghettos. The film portrays the intimate stories of b-boys and b-girls, DJs and hip hop artists to paint a picture of a global community joined together by hip hop culture.

Tomorrow We Disappear follows the story of three of Kathputli’s performers as they come to terms with the loss of their homes. Kathputli is the most popular form of Indian string puppetry. Director Jim Goldblum’s debut feature brings to life the magic of the Indian folk art that faces extinction at the wheels of bulldozers driven by commercial development.

Dior and I centres around Raf Simons’ debut collection as creative director of Christian Dior Couture. The film shows the inner workings of the eight-week process to premiere a collection, with a behind-the-scenes look at the skilled seamstresses who helped Simons realise his vision for his first Dior show.

FilmFest provides an opportunity to mingle with like-minded creative individuals, to network and discuss ideas in a convivial, relaxed environment. After some of the featured films there will be a chance to interact with film producers and industry icons too.