South Africa led the world with its all-embracing Constitution, granting homosexuals unprecedented freedoms and rights. The film While You Weren’t Looking is featured at this year’s Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, (produced by The Out In Africa Gay & Lesbian Film Festival) and takes a look at South Africa through the lives and experiences of a cross section of Cape Town queers.
Beautifully shot on locations in and around Cape Town in 24 days, with a stellar South African cast and a line up of great local music, this Out In Africa G&LFF production is funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund with additional support from the Department of Trade and Industry and a small grant from The Other Foundation.
Executive producer/co-scriptwriter Nodi Murphy told Epochalips: “So few films, queer films, come from this continent and it was important for us, especially as a film festival that for 21 years projected the lives and concerns of queers from around the planet, to make a film that showed the rest of the world what our lives are like..”
Out In Africa, which ran Festivals across South Africa for the past 21 years, is unable to raise sufficient funds to continue in its current form. Funds are scarce, and those available for LGBTI projects in Africa are being channeled elsewhere on the continent – like Uganda, where you are likely to be executed for being queer, and your relatives and friends jailed for not reporting you. Happily, though, this is not the end of Out In Africa. We have been allocated an office in the African Gender Institute, situated at the University of Cape Town, by Prof. Jane Bennett.
More from Murphy (also longtime director at Out in Africa): “We must be the only film festival that has raised all the money and supervised the making of a feature film! But, it’s been a long tough road, easier to get in than out, 2 years down the line and I’m still working on it, reports, accounts, audits…when I started this off 21 years ago I never thought that we’d last forever, that we’d be necessary. Now the internet has taken over and information is more readily available and accessible, and the rest of Africa is a homophobic nightmare and so funder focus has shifted north.
The move to the University of Cape Town’s African Gender Institute is really very smart. We have a huge library of films we have received over the years that we do not have the right to sell or distribute. Now we have become a research facility, we will support the post-graduate programme that Prof. Jane Bennett will design – broadly speaking Queer Theory / Queer Film – and provide access to a wealth of material that is, by and large, inaccessible. We have segued into formal education”
More about While You Weren’t Looking:
Dez and Terri, a mixed-race couple married 20 years and adoptive parents, they are the trailblazing lesbians of the New South Africa. But, have these freedoms guaranteed them happiness? Asanda, their 18 year old adopted daughter, is the poster child for South Africa’s diversity but describes herself as “an experiment”, being made up as she goes along. She meets Shado, an enigmatic Tommy Boy from Khayalitsha, a township on the edge of Cape Town, and a different picture of the New South Africa emerges.
SCREENINGS AT FRAMELINE:
Saturday, June 20, 9:30 PM
Wednesday, June 24, 7:00 PM