Ryley Grunenwald’s The Shore Break, won the prestigious Backsberg Audience Choice Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival for Best South African Film. The award-winning documentary film follows the dilemma faced by a rural community on South Africa’s Wild Coast as to whether to support or resist a proposed titanium mining project and a national tolled highway.
Grunenwald says she is thrilled with the accolade. “Both my co-producer Odette Geldenhuys and I are really pleased about the win. The Shore Break was a labour of love so it is very rewarding to know it is well received by South African audiences. It was an important story to tell because it captures the nuance and complexity around issues of developing the Wild Coast. The story follows two Pondo cousins who have opposing dreams for the future of their land. One wants to preserve the land through sustainable development while the other plans to mine it for titanium, believing large scale development is the only way to improve employment opportunities.”
“The audience award is based on a complicated calculation in which the festival takes into account the capacity of the cinemas, numbers of tickets sold and the votes cast.” says Odette Geldenhuys. “The film captured the imagination of festival goers, so much so that all our five scheduled screenings were sold out and we had to have two additional screenings in Cape Town and Johannesburg.”
Backsberg Estate Cellars CEO Simon Back adds, “It is a great honour for us to sponsor the Audience Choice Awards. The aim of the awards is to raise awareness around the festival and what has resonated with audiences. With sustainability being core to the way we run our winery, I am also thrilled that both winners raise awareness around critical environmental matters.”
The Shore Break, which was a project in the 2013 Durban FilmMart, will have its co-premiere at the 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on July 18, 2015 with four screenings only during the festival which runs from July 16 to 26.
Image: Backsberg Estate Cellars CEO Simon Back (right) with Odette Geldenhuys , co-producer of The Shore Break which won the Backsberg Audience Choice Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival for Best South African Film. The film will next screen at the Durban International Film Festival in July.