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 is revamping its competitions September 1, 2015 | From the next festival edition, the IDFA juries will grant two awards in each competition: one for best documentary, and a special jury award. A new award will also be presented for the best international youth documentary. All jury awards will be presented on Wednesday, November 25.
Help crowdfund Laila at the Bridge September 1, 2015 | Against all odds, an Afghan woman risks everything to save heroin addicts in Kabul, and ends up also saving herself in Laila at the Bridge. The film was previously supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund. Now, directors Gulistan Mirzaei and Elissa Sylvia Mirzaei need your help to finish their film!
IDFA Awards given out in Durban, Montevideo and Sarajevo August 27, 2015 | Three IDFA Awards were handed out over the summer to promising projects pitched at three international film markets. As part of the awards, all winners will attend IDFA in November.

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IDFAindustry @IDFAindustry 1 day ago
Help directors Gulistan Mirzaei and Elissa Sylvia Mirzaei finish their IBF-supported doc #LailaAtTheBridge here: http://t.co/AFVe7VYPJ7
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@ElixirMediaProd @GrassRootsDocu Can you please send an e-mail to yorinde@idfa.nl with this question? Thank you!
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