Welcome to this Festival! We have been to other festivals across the world - Sheffield, Göteborg, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Nyon - and watched some 300 videos to select the 46 titles included here for your delectation and delight. The choice was hard to make - there are so many good films out there. We cannot screen them all and are saving some of them for next year.

The films are only half the pleasure of this event; the other is the presence of filmmakers and audiences who make the Festival festive, a celebration of hard work that offers us a glimpse of unknown worlds and people, or a different perspective of what we seem to know all too well, but don't.

We are pleased to welcome our guests: from Switzerland, Christian Frei; from Holland, Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich; from the UK, Vikram Jayanti; and from the US, Thomas Allen Harris, Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold. Our South African guests include, among others: Brian Tilley, Nicky Newman, Dumisani Phakathi, Cliff Bestall, Pearlie Joubert, Rehad Desai, Mpumi Njinge, Jill Kruger, Francois Verster, Xoliswa Sithole, Penny Gaines, Tracey Collis, Andy Spitz, Gairoonnisa Paleker, Miki Redlinghuys, Lauren Groenewald, Xolani T. Qubeka, Catherine Muller and Bearthur Baker.

Our sponsors make this Festival possible. They are Pro Helvetia, the Arts Council of Switzerland, particularly Peter Da Rin, in Zurich, and Mirjam Asmal, in Cape Town, who have been steadfast in their interest and support from the start. The Swiss Consul General, Fred Jenny, secured freight sponsorship from Panalpina. The Royal Netherlands Embassy has been with us for three years now thank you to Magriet Leemhuis in Pretoria. Holland Film lends us film prints and ships them to us. We thank Paul Howson of the British Council in London and Gail Learmont in Cape Town. We were honoured last year to have been named a "Flagship Programme" of the European Union's Conference Workshop & Cultural Initiative Fund by the Director, Emmanuelle Gille.

Nico van der Merwe of Cinema Nouveau, his management staff and projectionists are gems. Jameson will sponsor the Audience Award again this year - an important initiative that we hope will continue for years to come. Tim Atkinson supplies our video equipment, the Victoria Junction hotel makes our guests comfortable and Red Bull will give them wiings!

We are very pleased to be screening the 2001 Close Encounters films - three of nine films commissioned by since 1999, and four films made by Laboratory Alumni since their time with us [see pages 12-15]. Two of our Alumni, Pule Diphare and Portia Rankoane, are in Switzerland, assisted by Pro Helvetia, working on a film lab called "atelierzerodeux". It is run by Werner Schweizer, our Swiss guest last year.

Thank you to all our panelists who give of their time to assist us in making the Festival more interesting and lively. Not least we thank all the filmmakers [their distributors and the film institutes], especially those who give freely of their work, for appreciating what we do and making it easier to do it. Thank you to the Press for their interest and coverage. We are very pleased that Simunye SABC 1 is our new broadcast partner and Close Encounters Laboratory partner. They intend to commission three one-hour films from proposals developed at the Laboratory.

Festival Staff and Colleagues
Festival Programmer: Peter Eaton
Laboratory Co-ordinator: Molly Slingsby
Programme notes: Stephan Hofstatter & Wilhelm Snyman
Panels organiser & film reader: Lucinda Engelhart
Intern / foreign press co-ordinator: Anne-Elvire Buciun
Programme designer: Tania Bester

We thank them one and all for their commitment.

Nodi Murphy & Steven Markovitz



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