A lavishing and dynamic, musical and visual composition, BROWN proves to be an intriguing document of self-discovery that confronts a moment in SA history in an attempt to understand the destiny of future generations.
Durban International Film Festival Jury
- Best African Documentary - 15th African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival Milan, Italy, March 2005
- Best South African Documentary - 26th Durban International Film Festival, June 2005
- Best Documentary - 5th Apollo Film Festival, Victoria West, September 2005
As she embraces motherhood, Capetonian singer/songwriter Ernestine Deane embarks on an enquiry into her heritage. In the 1960s under the infamous Group Areas Act, her Grandparents were evicted from their functioning farm in Constantia, and relocated to the urban suburb of Grassy Park. Integrally wedded to the land, her grandfather continues to yearn for the tract that remains fallow and unused in one of the most exclusive suburbs of Cape Town. Their return visit unleashes the suppressed emotion resulting from years of marginalisation and loss.
This touching and deeply personal journey investigates the past with the intention of celebrating a new community, new nation, and new family. By exploring her past and her present, it carries Ernestine from emotional remembrance to musical realisation and celebration, culminating in the song, Brown.
South Africa 54min
For more about Ernestine Deane and her music visit http://www.myspace.com/ernestinedeane
WHAT FESTIVAL JURIES HAVE SAID:
Italy 15th African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival Milan
For giving birth to highly accomplished , gentle portrait , that demonstrates the emotional intelligence of its director and of her film’s protagonist.
Victoria West Apollo Film Festival,
For the skill with which the film weaves music, verse and image, for it's realization of a simple story told in an extraordinarily lyrical fashion, for it's rendering of universal characters battling to right the wrongs of the past, without resorting to didactics while setting up and resolving tensions, we decided that the Best Documentary film at the 5 th Apollo Film Festival goes to .............Kali van der Merwe for "Brown".
read the full version of Apollo Film Festival Documentary Awards Speech by Dan Jawitz
read an article in ROOTZ magazine about filmmaker
Kali van der Merwe
Article Cape Times
... Ernie and her grandfather have a close and beautiful relationship. She asks all the questions that so many people often intend to ask their elders whilst they are still on this earth but unfortunately frequently, never get around to. Watching the pair chat, and later looking into her grandpa's emotional eyes as he returns to the land from which he was evicted, might inspire people to re visit their own history and fill in the names and experiences of otherwise unknown family members who forlorn and forgotten, are relegated to the pages of dusty photograph albums.
"My documentaries are very personal in that they are about subjects and topics I am interested in exploring in my own life. So although I am telling someone else's story, my story is there too, gently threaded into the fabric. Most of my documentaries focus on women because I feel the exploration of the inner life of women is still absent from the media."...
Read the full version of the article Julia Landau wrote about BRown and the filmmaker Kali van der Merwe for the Cape Times published on March 4th 2005
Where credit is due
..."I like telling stories about women who have managed to survive something challenging," says Van der Merwe "I like to involve people in the filming process, to give them a chance to explore the medium. On my last documentary, Doing It, I gave the subjects of the documentary a chance to contribute with their own ideas to the story. I don't just want to take stuff away from them, without them having learned something they can use to improve their lives."
While Van der Merwe has confessed her passion for untold stories, she said it sometimes takes her two to three years to complete a documentary. "It's passion more than anything else. I don't always make enough money from my documentaries and would not advise anyone to make a documentary if they intend to make money," she said with humour. However, apart from the money, Van der Merwe says seeing her work being used in public libraries, schools and at workshops is a very rewarding feeling. "My work is often used to raise awareness, and stimulate debate about social issues...
Read the full version of the article Brian Paseka Letlhabane wrote about the documentary and filmmaker.
contact Other-Wise media for a copy of the documentary
November 2004 - Cape Town World Cinema International Film Festival
February 2005 - Design Indaba, Cape Town
March 7 th 2005 - screened on SABC 1 television, South Africa
March 2005 - 15 th African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival Milan, Italy - won first prize in the African Documentary section of the Film Festival.
April 2005 - Inaugural Southern African Film Festival - Sydney Australia
June 2005 - 26 th Durban International Film Festival - Won best South African Documentary
July 2005 - 8th Zanzibar International Film Festival - Screened at Independent Armchair Theatre as part of a Human Rights Conference
August 2005 - Screened on National Women's Day at the WOW festival at the Baxter Theatre and at the Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg - Screened at the Zula Bar in Long Street Cape Town for a young audience.
September 2005 - Ismailia International Film Festival, Egypt
September/October 2005 - Apollo Film Festival in Victoria West, won best documentary - Memory project Civic Centre Cape Town
Screened at the Labia in conjunction with a live concert of Ernie singing
Real Life on Film, Melbourne Australia
Fribourg International Film Festival Switzwerland
This documentary was funded by:
THE OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION FOR SOUTH AFRICA