Simon & I 54 min.

Beverley Palesa Ditsie, Nicky Newman, South Africa, 2002, video
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.

IDFAcademy Summer School 2016 April 12, 2016 | The IDFAcademy Summer School has announced the sixteen selected projects for the 2016 edition of the week-long training program, held July 4-9.
IDFA Bertha Fund announces February 2016 selection April 5, 2016 | Eleven documentary projects from countries including Colombia, Kenya, Georgia and Iran will be supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund through its classic scheme. Another nine projects have been selected in the new IBF Europe category.
IDFA-Mediafonds Workshop announces 2016 tutors April 5, 2016 | The IDFA-Mediafonds Workshop 2016 will be tutored by filmmakers Petra Lataster-Czisch and Catherine van Campen. The deadline for entry is April 8.

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