South African Arts Festival 2013


The Republic of South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture will bring its South African Arts Festival 2013 (SAAF), a weekend of South African film and music, to Downtown Los Angeles for the first time, with events on Friday, October 4 through Sunday October 6, 2013. The inaugural SAAF 2013 will showcase seven South African films and seven musical artists representing the diversity of the South African experience at free events over two days.  Highlights include Saturday’s outdoor “South African Music Festival” at Grand Performances and a day of South African films screening on Sunday at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 and Grand Performances.  Friday’s private preview and the Sunday closing night event both combine the screening of a South African feature film with an invitation-only reception.  Screenings will include animation, narrative, and documentary works.  Complete details on featured films and artists are listed in the schedule below.  To learn more about the festival, please visit and

SAAF 2013 will also host a series of professional film and music panel discussions at the Omni Hotel over the weekend.  Subsequent annual SAAF events will feature other artistic genres (such as theater, dance, and the visual arts).

All public events at Grand Performances’ WaterCourt outdoor stage are free, no advanced reservations are required.  Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 screenings are also free with advanced reservations required at

Saturday’s outdoor “South African Music Festival” at Grand Performances showcases music reflective of the country’s colorful diversity yet speaking to contemporary artistic movements, with Hugh Masekela’s jazz grooves, the Mahotella Queens’ uplifting acapella infused with Jozi‘s Zulu hip hop mix, the Parlotones’ arena rock anthems, Simphiwe Dana’s sultry Afro soul, and The Soil’s harmonious new voice from South Africa, plus more.  Showcased films, screening at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 on Sunday and at Grand Performances, represent the broad range of South African cinema – from uplifting family-friendly fare Felix (think Billy Elliott with African jazz), to gritty dramas such as the critically-acclaimed Otelo Burning, about a group of kids who learn to surf against a backdrop of conflict, to documentaries such as The African Cypher, which explores Soweto’s street dance sub-culture. Filmmakers will be present for question and answer sessions at several of the screenings. 
In addition to cultivating audiences for South African films and music, a primary objective of this year’s festival is to offer participating South African artists and entertainment industry professionals the opportunity to meet with members of the Los Angeles area creative film and music communities.  Industry professionals from US production and distribution companies are encouraged to participate in screenings, receptions, and discussions

Saturday, October 5, 2013
9:30am-4:00pm – Film Panel Discussions 
at Omni Hotel, Los Angeles
- Free film panel discussions for industry professionals.  With presenters such as Tom Rooney (Sony Digital Audio Disc Corporation), Tony Lynn (Agile Enterprises), and Jon Kuyper (Lionsgate), the conversation points will cover everything from co-production treaties to US filmmakers’ South African experiences and international film incentive comparisons.  This discussion will provide solid information on an industry where global production schedules and distribution are the norm more often than the exception.  Interested parties should email for additional information.

3:30pm-10:00pm – South African Music Festival 
at Grand Performances WaterCourt Stage, Los Angeles
- Participating artists at this free event represent the diversity of South African experience, based in tradition yet speaking to contemporary artistic movements.
- Each group will perform a 30-60 minute set.
South African food by Graham Perkett, of Deli-SA, will be available for purchase.
- A hosted bike valet will be available beginning at 3:00pm.

Invited musical guests include (in order of planned appearance):
• Wouter Kellerman – Versatile flautist fusing classical and contemporary
• The Soil  – a new voice from SA featuring traditional acapella sounds updated with beatbox
• iFani – Socio-political young Xhosa rapper, cultural futurists
• Mahotella Queens featuring Jozi – Uplifting multigenerational mix of acapella infused with Jozi’s Zulu hip hop
(20 minute intermission)
• The Parlotones – Joburg’s platinum-selling rockers, supported Coldplay’s South African tour
• Simphiwe Dana – Sultry voice of Afro soul
• Hugh Masekela – Grammy Award nominated jazz icon and social activist
* Due to the nature of live events, this schedule is subject to change.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

10:00am-4:00pm – Music Panel Discussions
at Omni Hotel, Los Angeles
- Free music panel discussions for industry professionals.  The competitive musical marketplace will be examined from myriad angles including: licensing and royalties, online media players, live music venues, nuts and bolts information for international artists touring the US.  Interested parties should email for additional information.

10:00am-4:00pm –Film Screenings
at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14, Los Angeles
- Free screenings of six South African films showcasing the broad range of South African cinema from uplifting family-friendly fare, to gritty dramas, to documentaries that take you to into Soweto’s street dance subculture, and more.

– Films selected by the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa.
– All Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 screenings are free, but advanced reservations are required at

Theater 12 

10:20-11:40am – Man on Ground (drama, 80 min.) – A bold portrayal of xenophobia in South Africa, the film follows a successful London banker on a short visit to Johannesburg as he attempts to solve the mystery of his half brother’s disappearance.

12:00-1:48pm – Felix (family film, 97 min.) – Feel-good family feature telling the coming-of-age story of Felix (think Billy Elliott with African jazz).

2:10-3:42pm – Fanie Fourie’s Lobola  (comedy, 90 min.) – Cross-cultural romantic comedy where an Afrikaans guy and a Zulu girl fall in love and have to navigate their way through the complicated process of lobola, a traditional Southern African custom where the man pays the family of his fiancée for her hand in marriage. (CRITIC CHOICE: This feel-good film has won Audience Awards at numerous festivals)

Theater 13

10:00-11:42am – Otelo Burning (drama, 102 min.) – Critically-acclaimed feature film that tells the story of a group of township kids that discover the joy of surfing, against a backdrop of conflict brewing between two political groups. CRITICS CHOICE: In development for seven years, Sara Blecher’s beautifully shot film was developed in an extensive workshop process conducted with a group of children in Lamontville, near Durban.

12:05-1:38pm – Material (comedy/drama, 93 min.) – The story of a young Muslim man whose talent for stand-up comedy brings him in conflict with his father, family, and community.

2:00-3:22pm – The African Cypher (documentary, 88 min.) – Documents South African b-boys as they search for identity and purpose through the complex Soweto street dance sub-culture.

7:00pm-9:00pm – Free Outdoor Film Screening 
at Grand Performances, WaterCourt Stage, Los Angeles
- US premiere film screening of Khumba (family friendly animation, 85 min.) – Rejected by his superstitious herd, a half-striped zebra embarks on a daring quest to earn his stripes but finds the courage and self-acceptance to save all the animals of the Great Karoo. The plaza opens at 5pm for picnicking.
- No reservation is required.

9:00pm-10:00pm – Private Closing Reception 
at Grand Performances, WaterCourt Stage, Los Angeles
- Cocktail reception featuring musical performances (artists TBA).
* Please check website for full presentation schedule and updates.  Due to the nature of live events, this schedule is subject to change.  For the most updated artist listing, please visit

Grand Performances at California Plaza is located at 350 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90071 (; 213-687-2159).  Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 is located at 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015 (; 213-763-6070).  The Omni Hotel is located at 251 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 (; 213-617-3300).

Commissioned by:
The South African Arts Festival is commissioned by the Republic of South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture as part of the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy.  South Africa’s cultural and creative industries have become the new “gold” of the economy and are forces to be reckoned with, as outlined in the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy.  The focus of the strategy, by the department, is to promote, open and create market access for South Africa’s arts, culture and heritage practitioners. Another key focus is to develop new audiences and consumers for creative and cultural products from South Africa.  The South African Arts Festival in Los Angeles presents an opportunity for the organization to showcase the country’s talent and take the industry to greater heights.

Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness abroad.  Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.

Grand Performances –
Hailed as the “Best Free Outdoor Summer Concert Series” by Los Angeles Magazine and called “a grand gift to the public […] democracy in musical action” by the Los Angeles Times, Grand Performances, Los Angeles’ premier free outdoor summer performing arts series, presents high-quality music, dance, theater, and more at the breathtaking California Plaza in the heart of Downtown.  Grand Performances delivers the best of global culture to inspire community among the diverse peoples of Los Angeles, reflective of the many cultural interests across the region.  All are welcome to enjoy Grand Performances’ unique, awe-inspiring venue nestled under the spectacular Downtown skyline.  The venue is located right next to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).  Established in 1987, Grand Performances is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation located on Bunker Hill.


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

Leave A Reply