Reflections, Strategies And New Missions: From The Encounters Team

The 25th edition of the Encounters Documentary Festival in August boasted a 10-day event at 14 locations throughout Johannesburg and Cape Town, with over 6000 attendees. From over 54 documentaries to view and with talks from industry heads and professionals in person and online, Encounters also launched and continued some of its well-known initiatives for documentary filmmakers. 

One of these is The 4th Rough Cut Lab Africa which invited film projects in the late offline stage to pair up directors and editors on the project with African story consultants. The festival also welcomed the return of the Ster Kinekor Encounters Youth Experience Awards for the Best South African Short under 20 minutes. The Adiaha Awards presented by Ladima Foundation, DOK.fest München and Encounters, also returned. This award recognises excellence in documentary filmmaking by African women. With ground-breaking initiatives like this, Encounters has established itself as a highly regarded festival locally and globally. 

The organisation has recently announced its plan to develop a comprehensive five-year growth plan to position Encounters as the official hub for the Pan-African documentary community. Moving forward, the Festival will now operate under the umbrella of the Encounters Training and Development Institute. Moreover, the Encounters Institute has developed a medium strategic plan with clear objectives to address current challenges and leverage strengths. These strategic plans include strengthening governance and operational framework, creating a comprehensive funding strategy, formalising the training and development function, broadening audience development programs, increasing brand awareness, and providing tangible opportunities for documentary filmmakers.

By focusing on these strategic objectives, the organisation aims to enhance efficiency, secure sustainable funding, and expand its reach to empower documentary filmmakers to make a lasting impact in the industry and contribute to the growth of an inclusive and vibrant African documentary filmmaking community.

Read the full piece on the Encounters website, where you are also invited to get in touch if you want to advise or support Encounters with their forward-looking strategic objectives