SA filmmaker takes a shot at Venice

Shamin-Chibba mugshotBy Shamin Chibba
23 August 2013

South African short film Territorial Pissings has been selected for Final Cut, a workshop at this year’s Venice International Film Festival.

Directed by low-fi filmmaker Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, the story follows eight displaced young men and women from suburban Johannesburg on Youth Day as they “they try and make sense of sex, drugs and boredom”.

The workshop will showcase four African films that are in post-production. The one judged to be the best will receive €55 000 (about R756 000) worth of technical expertise and assistance. The film festival runs from 28 August to 7 September.

Initially, Shongwe-La Mer did not intend on applying for the programme. “I was sitting on my couch in my loft and reading Hollywood Reporter online about [Final Cut in Venice]. I wasn’t going to apply for it because I thought it was ridiculous.”

But after learning that the submission to the workshop was free, he thought he would “give it a shot”. Earlier this month, he received an email from the organisers who said they needed him in Venice in three weeks’ time. “The film is going to be screening at the festival and they will help by financing the ending. So I’m coming back to South Africa to finish that bit.”

Excerpt: Territorial Pissings – A film by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer from Whitman Pictures Independent on Vimeo.