2023 Joburg Film Festival Unveils Winners


The winners of the 2023 Joburg Film Festival were announced in a ceremony on the penultimate day of the event, with the international jury naming the Egyptian feature Feathers best film.

Feathers, directed by Omar El Zohairy, is an absurdist tale about a patriarch being transformed into a chicken. It provides commentary on Egyptian culture and the role of women.

The black-and-white Ethiopian documentary Faya Dayi, written, directed, starring and produced by Jessica Beshir, won the best African film award. It shows a spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, immersed in the rituals of khat.

Best documentary was awarded to Nous, étudiants (We, Students) from the Central African Republic. Debut director Rafiki Fariala turns the camera on himself and his friends, capturing their everyday lives as students of Bangui University and sharing their thoughts about their future in the Central African Republic.

The 2023 jury was comprised of a range of international filmmakers and industry experts, including multi-award-winning producer Carolyn Carew (South Africa); Berlin-based filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho); author, columnist and poet Njoko Muhoho; Sundance alumni and filmmaker Mohamed Siam; and French-Egyptian director and producer Johan El Tah.

“The jury process for JFF 2023 was an amazing meeting of minds of a highly experienced and diverse African team of filmmakers,” said juror Muhoho. “During the deliberations, the diversity of knowledge and skills in storytelling came into play. The respect for fellow filmmakers’ craft was evidenced in the discipline and attention in which we screened and watched the films. The hours were long but intense and pleasurable. The result was unanimous agreement on the three category winners of the JFF 2023. Given the opportunity, I and fellow jurors would do this again.”

Also as part of the night, event partner MultiChoice Group awarded several filmmakers. Siphosethu Tshapu (Milton Empire) earned the emerging storyteller award, Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon (Tshedza Pictures) took home the global storyteller award, Chris Q Radebe (Match Pictures) won the fearless storyteller award, Connie Chiume picked up the Anasi award and Star Kganki Mphahlele (Pula Bakgaga Media) was awarded rising African star.

“Our partnership with the Joburg Film Festival is one that speaks to our ethos of being Africa’s most-loved storyteller,” said Collen Dlamini, group executive of corporate affairs at MultiChoice. “We thank the Joburg Film Festival for partnering with us once again as we celebrate the amazing storytellers that have inspired us. Congratulations to all those who were nominated and all the winners; you have shown us all what it means to embrace the art of storytelling.”

The winner of the Young Voices film competition, an initiative of the Joburg Film Fest Youth and Audience Development Program that allowed filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 25 to submit a video with the theme ‘Our Stories, Our Gold,’ was Tshwane local George Temba for his short film Young Shepherd.