Cape Town-based filmmakers tackle gentrification and albino persecution at Durban film festival

24 July 2019

Razia Rawoot and Katlego Malepe at the Film Cape Town stand

Magan Bhai Patel is a second-generation shop owner who inherited a popular community corner shop from his father.

Patel and his family turned it into a cornerstone for the people of Wynberg, a place where families do their shopping and build community for over 40 years.

But that is threatened when a ruthless developer wants to tear down this legacy to build a towering apartment complex.

Several other neighbourhood businesses as well as homes also face the same fate. This forces Patel and the community to rally together against the attempts at gentrification.

“Gentrification is a serious issue facing communities in Cape Town, other parts of the country and the world. So we’ve taken this as the core of the film and infused it with really interesting characters who are actually composites of people we know in real life,” says producer Razia Rawoot.

Rawoot is the brains behind Bhai’s Cafe, a Bollywood-inspired film shot on location in Cape Town’s Wynberg suburb.  Co-produced with veteran filmmaker Maynard Kraak, the film is a story of humour, heartbreak, emotion and drama.

It is set to close the 40th Durban International Film Festival. Bhai’s Cafe will a single screening at the festival before it opens in cinemas across the country in February 2020.

“I am very excited as it’s a great honour for our film to be recognised in this way and be given the prestige of the closing screening by the Durban International Film Festival,” Rawoot tells Film Cape Town.

Lily Petals

In partnership with Wesgro, Film Cape Town sponsored Rawoot and another first-time producer Katlego Malepe.

Malepe is the writer, producer, director of Lily Petals a short film about a young albino lawyer who is overlooked for a job because of social prejudice. She becomes successful in spite of being disregarded by some in society.

Malepe explains how the story draws from real life experiences of people living with Albinism.

“These range from hectic life-threatening behaviour like their abductions for murders and organ harvesting for multi purposes, to being treated like low-class human beings. This in turn affects their self-esteem and potential to contribute to the society,” Malepe says.

“These matters (are) only ever get addressed during escalated crimes (or) injustices and not much is ever done to improve society’s attitude towards people living with albinism on a day to day basis. We wanted to address the matter in a less confrontational and implicit manner.

“We believe that starting the conversation will encourage a more inclusive participation which will gradually lead to addressing more intense and serious injustices.”

The City’s Head: Film & Events Permitting Terrence Isaacs and Principal Catalytic Sectors Officer Robin Jutzen with Cape Town-born producer Layla Swart of Knuckle City

Both Malepe and Rawoot made a stop at the Film Cape Town stand attended the Durban International Film Festival.

Aimed at promoting Cape Town as a premier film and media destination, the Film Cape Town stand welcomed several filmmakers at the festival. This includes Cape Town-born Layla Swart who produced opening night film Knuckle City as well as film industry representatives from Jamaica and the Netherlands.

The 40th Durban International Film Festival and 10th Durban FilmMart took place from July 18 to July 28, 2019.