Afrika Eye Film Festival

The documentary, "Robert Mugabe... what happened?" directed by Simon Bright and produced by Michael Auret, has its World Premiere as the Opening Night film of the Encounters South Africa International Documentary Festival in Cape Town on Thursday 9 June 2011. Billed as the definitive account of Mugabe's life, it dramatically illustrates his successful liberation and development of the country but also his ruthless and cunning retention of power at all costs.

Bright says that this film "gives Mugabe the credit where its due. It's an exploration of what happened to a promising African leader who was well respected and it recognises his fight for freedom and against Apartheid. But it also explores the forces that caused him to effectively destroy a lot of what he built."


The film screens publicly in Johannesburg on Friday 10 , Friday 17 and Sunday 26 June at Nu Metro Hyde Park, and in Cape Town on Monday 13 and Sunday 26 June at Nu Metro V&A Waterfront. Public premiers on 10 and 13 June will be accompanied by a Q&A with director Simon Bright.

Encounters South African International Documentary Festival

Cape Town
V&A Nu Metro
Opening night film: Thursday 9 June / 7pm
Public: Monday 13 / 8.30pm with Q&A
Sun 26 / 8.15pm

Hyde Park Nu Metro
Fri 10 / 8.45pm with Q&A
Fri 17 / 8.30pm
Sun 26 / 8pm


SADC leaders will be meeting on the 10th and 11th June for ongoing discussions around a roadmap to free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The film makers believe that the SADC meeting is crucial. Mugabe has made minimal concessions in terms of the military, judiciary, reserve bank and electoral machinery. Not enough has changed, so he still has the mechanisms in place to run another bloody electoral campaign to stay in power. Our film is a call to African and international leaders and to the people of Zimbabwe to continue the fight for truly free and fair elections. The film shows exactly how Mugabe gets votes. He unleashes youth militias in rural areas to terrorise and intimidate the population. One story in the film is of a woman who is first burnt with metal and then gang raped for being MDC.

In 2008 during the Presidential run-off more than 200 people were killed and 3 000 were displaced and Mugabe won by default after the MDC pulled out. During elections Mugabe is renowned for using violence, misusing the broadcast media he controls, and rigging ballot boxes, voting and counting processes. President Zuma must stick to his guns and SADC must enforce the Global Political Agreement that should have been enforced three years ago. Otherwise Mugabe will rush through another election using all the tactics he is feared for


Bright and Auret were both part of activist famillies opposed to Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and white supremacy. Both families were exiled during the Rhodesaian war and returned just after Robert Mugabe had brought democracy to South Africa's pioneering neighbour.

The early promise of Mugabe's reign deteriorated and Bright was inspired to make the film after imprisonment for a short time in 2003, and so he slipped back across the border in 2007 to start research. Five years later they are finishing this eye-opening film, which contains never-seen-before archival footage.

Bright was co-producer of the 1996 Zimbabwe liberation film, "Flame", directed by his wife, Ingrid Sinclair and the first Zimbabwean film to screen at The Cannes Film Festival. Ingrid Sinclair, is a co-writer on the film "Robert Mugabe... what happened?"

Auret ran the media campaign for the National Constitutional Assembly which defeated Mugabe in the first constitutional referendum in 2000 and he went on to open the first private radio station in Zimbabwe, Capital Radio, which was later shut down and he was forced to leave the country. He currently runs Spier Films and has produced the feature films "Master Harold and the Boys" released in May 2011 and "Black Butterflies" to be released in July in South Africa. He was previously the Festival Director of Sithengi and the Cape Town World Cinema Festival between 2001 and 2007 and is married to Ulla Mahaka who was an actor in the film "Flame".


Robert Mugabe... what happened? Is likely to generate heated debate before, during and after Encounters. Simon and Michael are currently in Cape Town and available for interviews.

For more information:

Lesedi Rudolph
PR and media
cell: +27 76 590 0564

Joy Sapieka
Encounters Film Festival Publicist
cell: +27 73 212 5492
tel: +27 21 790 0692
fax:+ 27 21 4221842

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Afrika Eye Film Festival

Tristan Martin

Afrika Eye is a film festival that runs every Autumn in Bristol, UK. We focus on African and Diaspora issues, presenting a diverse programme of films, talks and events. To coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago's independence,…

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Afrika Eye is a film festival that runs every Autumn in Bristol, UK. We focus on African and Diaspora issues, presenting a diverse programme of films, talks and events. To coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago's independence, the theme for 2012 is The Caribbean!

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