Simon & I

Beverley Palesa Ditsie, Nicky Newman, South Africa, 2002, video, 54'
Synopsis

Bev Ditsie was 17 when she first met Simon Nkoli, founder of the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand (GLOW). Like her, he belonged to two minority groups: black and homosexual. Simon became her mentor and role model. ‘I finally found a home’, she now says. In the ego-document SIMON & I, which she made in collaboration with Nicky Newman, Bev uses a diary style to describe their personal and idealistic bond as fighters for gay rights. In a voice-over she tells about her lonely childhood in Soweto and brings back memories illustrated by archive footage. The film deals with personal growth and political struggle, the great breakthrough being the sexual non-discrimination article that South Africa as first country in the world included in its new constitution. This does not alter the fact that Zimbabwean president Mugabe still openly labels homosexuality a crime. The ups and downs in the friendship between Bev and Simon make up the other narrative line, the low point being the moment when Bev breaks up with GLOW because Simon’s attention primarily goes out to the fight against AIDS, thus overlooking women’s rights issues. Bev went her own way and in 1995 she was the first lesbian woman to address a UN conference. Shortly before Simon’s death by AIDS in November 1998, the two activists reconciled. The film was made possible by the support of the Jan Vrijman Fund.

IDFA relocates festival heart to Amstel September 16, 2014 | This year’s IDFA will for the first time be focused around the Amstel river. The main festival locations Pathé Tuschinski, Pathé de Munt, EYE and De Brakke Grond remain, but the festival buzz will move to Café de Jaren and Café Swych on Amsterdam’s Nieuwe Doelenstraat.
IDFA to present themed program on The Female Gaze September 9, 2014 | During the upcoming festival, IDFA will present a themed program on the role of women in documentary called The Female Gaze. Fifteen leading international female directors, including Pirjo Honkasalo, Barbara Kopple and Kim Longinotto, have put together a program of old and new documentaries by themselves and other female directors.
IDFA Bertha Fund introduces European program September 1, 2014 | The IDFA Bertha Fund is launching a new program: IDFA Bertha Fund – Europe. The new program will support the production and distribution of documentaries realized through co-productions between European producers and producers from developing countries.

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