We all know how land restitution in South Africa has been making headlines all across the world. However, District Six Rising From The Dust, a powerful locally produced documentary, has given a voice to the deprived community of District Six in Cape Town.
The documentary won Best Original Story at the Florence Film Awards in Italy, a day before the 55th year commemoration of forced removals and the area being declared a whites-only group area.
Weaan Williams, a local filmmaker of the film from Tribal Alchemy Productions and originally from Woodstock and Walmer Estate, has been a film-maker for 15 years.
When the announcement was made on the Florence Film Awards social media pages and website, she said:
It is great! It means that the years I have spent honing my craft has been worthwhile. It also means that the work produced by Tribal Alchemy Productions stands out in international competitions. As a film-maker my strongest skill has been as a writer and storyteller and this confirms it.
The film looks at the gross human rights violations of forced removals that took place under the Group Areas Act during apartheid, and examines the current restitution process.
It also details her experience of intergenerational trauma of making the film, as she relearns a historical ancestral story from a different perspective, which took a period of six year to produce from January 2013 to August 2019.
“After I moved out at the end of 2018, it took a few months for me to process why I had to leave. And shot the conclusion to the film in August 2019, I decided towards the end of last year to start submitting the film to festivals again, and it has been very well received, with quite a few official selections already, two finalist positions, an honorary mention and two awards."
They previously won an award for this film at the Scandinavian International Film Festival.
WATCH AN EXCERPT FROM THE FILM BELOW:
Williams' passion for this concept was quite transparent when she spoke her mind saying that telling the story of displacement and forced removals adds an emotional layer to the story and a broader narrative of land because the conversation around land is not just about land, but the emotions tied to that land.
She continued by saying that It's about families and legacies that connected to these pockets of land.
"For me, as a storyteller , I feel that our people need to tell their story of displacement and look at how that that placed us inter-generationally, and how the playing fields are not even. So if we look at inter-generation legacies in terms of literacy, in terms all land and excess to resources , we will have a broader understanding of complexities in our country. This is what District Six Rising From The Dust is about, it’s about rising, the story of District Six rising from the dust.”
Williams’ recently released Two Hues, her first fiction short film, was awarded Best Short Film at the Beyond the International Curve Film Festival, in Paris, and is now being developed into a feature film.