“[SEA POINT DAYS] is a deeply thoughtful documentary that captures a moment of transition in South African history through the transformation of the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town — this quietly powerful portrait allows us to FEEL memory, and empathetically understand the human reality of contemporary South Africa through gorgeously photographed real time observations of daily life and emotionally loaded reminiscences from all perspectives.”

- Gisèle Gordon, Toronto International Film Festival

“The Sea Point Promenade on the Cape Town waterfront was one of the earliest desegregated areas in post-apartheid South Africa and becomes the focus for this quietly astounding documentary. François Verster’s film is a celebration of the life of the street in all its beautiful ugliness with all its contradictions and complexity. People of all races, ages and religions come together in this neighbourhood and somehow, spontaneously engage in working out the culture of the new South Africa—black street kids, old Afrikaner ladies, Muslim prayer groups, homeless alcoholics, even a Jewish Elvis. Contemporary South Africa is generally constructed as a set of social problems, but few films have had the courage to allow an audience to grasp for itself the possibility as well as the pain of this unique yet somehow familiar place. This will be a film that will stay with you and broaden your sense of the power of documentary to show us the world and to touch us.”
- Adelaide International Film Festival brochure

“Using largely cinematic vignettes the film explores issues of belonging, integration, nostalgia, happiness and identity in an ex-white South African neighbourhood. Sea Point Days shows us a new type of economic segregation slowly emerging around the Sea Point Promenade as division between the unwanted homeless and the favoured rich. Does apartheid still rear its ugly head in a new guise?”
- DocNZ Festival brochure

“One of the best observational documentaries in recent years.”
- Dan Shanan, DocNZ Festival

“A cinematic, memorable and seamless film.”
- DocNZ jury

“A beautiful, troubled and critical epitaph to a not-quite-departed world.”
- David Gordon, Bowdoin College

“This visually captivating five-part essay introduces us to Cape Town’s Atlantic coast and a place called Sea Point, which was an exclusively white area during the Apartheid era. At first glance, it looks like the past has been wiped away - people of all colours use the public swimming pool and we see mixed groups of friends and even couples. Upon closer examination, however, we find a society that is less diverse, especially in terms of its hierarchy. …   Senior citizens living nearby in a home with carers are gradually taking their leave of this world and saying: “Africa is not a place for the white man.” Categorisation according to ethnicity is still deeply engrained in people, despite the fact that it is often covered by layers of false morality. There is an inability to tolerate others or to relinquish prejudice. When the generation of children romping on the promenade by the ocean grows up, will they be able to look at themselves and those around them without resorting to stereotypes?A visually compelling essay in the South African setting raises one fundamental question besides many others: will the generation of children frolicking on the promenade on the oceanfront reflect themselves and their surroundings without racial prejudice once they grow up?”
- One World Human Rights Film Festival brochure

“Sea Point Days uses this picture-perfect location as a springboard to examine the dramatic transitions still taking place in South Africa… the film juxtaposes many contrasting viewpoints, from the optimistic to the pessimistic, old and young, rich and poor… Dividing the film into five thematic sections, Verster employs an eclectic visual palette, with beautiful shots of bathers swimming underwater, grainy surveillance footage of vagrants at night, and 8mm home movies of Sea Point during the days of segregation… What makes this place so special? “Water is love and life,” says a Sea Point groundskeeper. “Without water, there cannot be life and there cannot be love.”
- Toronto International Film Festival brochure

“The film by Francois Verster is a rewarding look at contemporary South Africa… The film is formally challenging - Verster employs no voice over, nor straightforward narrative, instead just watches the comings and goings of the people in the pool, occasionally checking in with a few regular characters… Through them we take the pulse of the country, its on-going struggles for peaceful co-existence, search for forgiveness, and as always… boundless love that its people have for the country itself… [A]nyone interested in South Africa and post-Apartheid, or more broadly, just the courageous process of a country and its people re-inventing themselves after a brutal past, would find this very interesting.”
- Toronto Film Festival FestiBlog

“There’s… a lot of love in SEA POINT DAYS, Francois Verster’s affectionate analysis of a postcard-perfect seaside enclave… With its casual collection of eclectic eccentrics, complete with a homeless man who casts himself in the role of philosophizing fool, the film brings to mind Fellini’s portraits of seaside life and the inherent surrealism that the tides seem to pull out of people… [An] incisively structured and skillfully observed film.”
- Andrew McIntosh, TIFF DocBlog

“SEA POINT DAYS is a poetic documentary centred on a … beach community in Cape Town… [This] beautifully shot film looks at the changing face of South Africa through the lives of people dwelling in a modern, vastly different, ‘rainbow’ Sea Point.”
- Classical 963FM

“Apart from the presentation of an ideological or political agenda lies the question of whether filmmakers find the form, the cinematographic qualities, as important as the content or message… SEA POINT DAYS by Francois Verster sketches a picture of the new South Africa.  The director uses a notably calm approach to seek nuances in form and content - the result is a wonderful film on all fronts…  Verster loads the images with alternatively meditative and disturbing soundscapes: the sound of pebbles being raked, hollow electronic sounds creating a restless sphere, and, most effectively, a high, continuous screeching during a nightly drug search.”
- Gawie Keyser, IDFA DAILY

“What makes [SEA POINT DAYS] interesting in the Verster oeuvre is that it is much looser than his most popular previous films.  It is made up of a series of atmospheric images and vignettes.  It is impressionistic and at times even abstract, hypnotic rather than narrative.  By the end the film feels as if you have been taken on a fascinating journey, but you don’t necessarily know where to or how you got there…”
- Liani van Straaten, THE CALLSHEET

“To stroll around a place in this open manner, to find a plethora of outstanding detail and to tell a complex story of a nation at the same time that reaches far beyond a little beach area is an awesome achievement.”
- Christoph Gröner, Munich IFF

PRESS RELEASE 2ND November 2008

Following its successful world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, SEA POINT DAYS, a feature-length documentary film by Emmy award-winning South African filmmaker Francois Verster, has been selected for screening in the prestigious Joris Ivens competition section at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). It is one of the few South African documentaries ever to receive this honour, and the only South African film in competition at IDFA this year.

The film, produced by Lucinda Englehart and Neil Brandt of Luna Films, looks at life at Cape Town’s Sea Point promenade and at its municipal pools. SEA POINT DAYS not only celebrates this unusual and beautiful space, but also paints a deeply reflective picture of old white South Africa in transition and the frictions of a society in flux. It appeared on more than one “top ten of the fest” lists at Toronto, and was described as “a beautiful, troubled and incisively critical epitaph to a not-quite-departed world.”

The film marks a stylistic departure for Verster, whose previous films include THE MOTHERS’ HOUSE, A LION’S TRAIL and WHEN THE WAR IS OVER. He describes it as his most personal film so far: “The film aims from a very personal perspective to give shape to some of the emotional contradictions of being South African at this point. Rather than working from a character or a number of characters’ point of view, it tries to integrate social, physical and perhaps spiritual elements within the area in different ways. It also tries to use cinematic means to break the sense of seeming dead-endness that has come to surround certain debates within South Africa.”

SEA POINT DAYS was funded by ITVS International, the Jan Vrijman Fund, Visions Sud Est, the National Film and Video Foundation and Spier Films. The film has already been invited to other high profile festivals such as competition screening at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival and Planete Doc Review in Warsaw next year.

PRESS QUOTES

“There’s… a lot of love in SEA POINT DAYS, Francois Verster’s affectionate analysis of a postcard-perfect seaside enclave… With its casual collection of eclectic eccentrics, complete with a homeless man who casts himself in the role of philosophizing fool, the film brings to mind Fellini’s portraits of seaside life and the inherent surrealism that the tides seem to pull out of people… [An] incisively structured and skillfully observed film.”
- Andrew McIntosh, TIFF DocBlog

“SEA POINT DAYS is a poetic documentary centred on a … beach community in Cape Town… [This] beautifully shot film looks at the changing face of South Africa through the lives of people dwelling in a modern, vastly different, ‘rainbow’ Sea Point.”
- Classical 963FM

——————————–

PRESS RELEASE 1st September 2008

SEA POINT DAYS, a feature-length documentary film by Emmy award-winning
South African filmmaker Francois Verster, has been invited to hold its world
premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival starting on 4th
September. 

The film, produced by Lucinda Englehart and Neil Brandt of Luna Films, looks
at life at Cape Town’s Sea Point promenade and at its municipal pools. SEA
POINT DAYS not only celebrates this unusual and beautiful space, but also
paints a deeply reflective picture of old white South Africa in transition
and the frictions of a society in flux. 

The film marks a stylistic departure for Verster, whose previous films
include THE MOTHERS’ HOUSE, A LION’S TRAIL and WHEN THE WAR IS OVER. He
describes it as his most personal film so far: “The film aims from a very
personal perspective to give shape to some of the emotional contradictions
of being South African at this point. Rather than working from a character
or a number of characters’ point of view, it tries to integrate social,
physical and perhaps spiritual elements within the area in different ways.” 

SEA POINT DAYS was funded by ITVS International, the Jan Vrijman Fund, the
Visons Sud Est, the National Film and Video Foundation and Spier Films. The
film has already been invited to other high profile festivals. 

For further information contact Neil Brandt ( 
neil@lunafilms.co.za) or Lucinda Englehart (lucinda@spierfilms.com).

Press Images

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5