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AfterLife Film Festival 'Short Film of the Year' Finalists


The AfterLife Film Festival is an extension of SUPP, a subscription-based streaming platform for viewers and hub for filmmakers to showcase their productions, collaborate, attract funding and engage audiences to earn revenue through views. SUPP's selection of best local film of the month winners get to compete for best film of the year. Spling helped adjudicate this year's AfterLife Festival for best local films. This selection represents the finalists, whose short films are currently in competition for Best Film of the Year.

Mallemeule

Director: Jaco van Bosch

Mallemeule (Merry-go-round) is a time-travel sci-fi romance comedy drama about Chris, a university student who together with a time-traveller try to orchestrate the perfect date with a secret crush. This short film has been lovingly created, taking a page from About Time in its mix of fun-loving romance and contrasting this with more emotional real world complications. In a move not unlike Boyhood, it appears that lead Wenzel Grobler plays opposite himself a few years apart. While it takes a few minutes to figure out what's actually happening, this short film captures much of what made the Richard Curtis film, About Time so entertaining.

Watch Mallemeule here

Izilwane

Director: Killian A. Roux

Izilwane is a hard-hitting social drama about a homeless woman who dreams of a better life for her and 6-year-old brother. When Kgosi goes missing, Grace tracks him down by way of the usual suspects only to be faced with a difficult decision. Offering a slice of docudrama realism, Izilwane is a gritty drama about life on the streets that has faint echoes of films like Life is Beautiful and Bicycle Thieves. Galaletsang Koffman's head wrap often obscures her world-weary performance, yet this earnest short film is representative of far-reaching issues faced by the most vulnerable people who are at the mercy of welfare charity organisations and the criminal underground.

Watch Izilwane here

Verloop / 'n klip gooi / Leemte

Director: Daniel Christiaan Human

A triptych of three different narrative strands, this construct includes the short films: Verloop (Course), 'n klip gooi (A Stone's Throw) and Leemte (Void). Much like Heavy Metal, a dark animated cult classic, a central element links all three films as this exploration of the past, present and future is interwoven with life, birth and death. Starting with a pregnancy in Verloop, this poetic undertaking serves as a showcase for a young actor who is able to express the elation, joy and even sorrow of birth. Transitioning into a Lynchian space with 'n klip gooi, things take on an eerie and surreal quality as a mysterious man in a suit with a briefcase enters another dimension. Coming in to land, Leemte's experimental edge offers a literal window on a world as a soundscape intensifies to breaking point.

Watch Verloop, 'n klip gooi and Leemte here

Wie is Christiaan Olwagen?

Director: Armand Roussouw

Wie is Christiaan Olwagen? (Who is Christiaan Olwagen?) serves as a tribute to contemporary writer-director, Christiaan Olwagen. Adopting a similar trademark continuous shooting style, look and feel to Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie, this coming-of-age short film settles into a similarly dysfunctional domestic situation. Questioning the disillusionment of white Afrikaans youth, Wie is Christiaan Olwagen? fleshes out a family portrait of siblings who are working through mental illness, obsessive compulsion and substance addiction with their parents nowhere in sight. It's a gritty, edgy and confrontational drama with committed performances from Liza du Plessis, Megan Fourie and Jan-Daniel Naude with a raw spontaneity established through the choice to mimic Olwagen.

Watch Wie is Christiaan Olwagen here

The Birth of a Karen

Director: Nadiya Jooma, Jaco van Bosch

Being referred to as a "Karen" is a term reserved for a stereotyped character in society who is epitomised as "a middle-aged white woman with an asymmetrical bob asking to speak to the manager, who happens to be as entitled as she is ignorant". The term is problematic but gets a playful send up in The Birth of a Karen, as a "Karen" gets her daughter to face up to a delivery guy who's just trying to do his job. When they unbox the product and it's broken, a comical scenario ensues as a Karen-in-training takes the wheel. This zippy short film features Laré Birk as Mom and captures the fun through its upbeat performances and lively banter, turning a typical suburban situation into a spunky representation of a voiceless "Karen" and her protégé.

Watch The Birth of a Karen

esCape Town

Director: Colin McRae

esCape Town is a documentary short film that focusses on Edgar Combrink, an ex-convict from Cape Town's Pollsmoor prison. Over capacity and notorious for its gang culture and numbers gangs, the prison system has been criticised for its poor repeat offender numbers and lack of rehabilitation. Being one such repeat offender, Edgar explains how difficult it is to reintegrate into society and keep his family going against all odds. High murder rates, inequality, unemployment and a flagging education system, esCape Town grapples with Edgar's plight, representative of so many men who get stuck in a vicious circle. Featuring sleek shots of Cape Town with many stark contrasts, this emotive documentary gets a kitchen sink behind-the-scenes on a complex problem that seems to be worsening as the cost of living keeps going up.

Watch esCape Town