Tri Continental Film Festival | From the Directors
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From the Directors

The films selected for TCFF2015 have elicited broad discussions at screenings and have exposed audiences to a range of movements and project which aim to promote social justice. As part of our commitment to Impact Cinema we asked four directors with films in this year’s festival a series of questions about their work and the associated causes and movements. – below is the first set unedited answers from director Ryley Grunewald:


Ryley Grunewald

The Shore Break


1, What motivated you to make this film and did you ever think you were crazy to even go there?


My primary motivation to make The Shore Break was my personal connection to the Wild Coast. Ever since my great uncle was posted on the coastline to look out for German U boats during the Second World War, my family have returned every year to spend our holidays there. It is my favourite place in the world so I was concerned when I heard an Australian mining company wanted to mine 22 kms of the coastline. As I got to know the people from the area affected by the proposed mining and highway projects, my motivation changed to wanting to record what the majority wanted – as this was contrary to what Government and some press were reporting. It disturbed me that the affected community’s wishes were blatantly being ignored.


It was a pleasure to be able to work on the Wild Coast. Every once in a while the crew would spend a day hiking along the rivers and beach and waterfalls just to capture the magnificence of the area.


  1. In an ideal world, people see your film and they are moved to do three things – what would those three things be?


Ideally people would feel moved to support the majority of affected residents of the Amadiba area by providing them with resources to help them and their legal teams with the battle that lies ahead. An NGO Sustaining the Wild Coast collects donations for them ( Reference: “Amadiba Crisis Committee” and / or “N2 and mining legal fees”). People can sign a petition via to put pressure on the Australian mining company’s top investors to take their money elsewhere. Thirdly South Africans can put public pressure on our Government who continues to support the mining and N2 Wild Coast Toll Road which are projects the majority of the affected community oppose. Government say these projects have “unanimous” support but that would not be further from the truth, unless they are only considering interested parties whose land is not affected.


  1. When doing an audience Q&A, what is the question you most enjoy answering? Please also give your answer. And the one you most dread? (you don’t need to give an answer to this one unless you really want to!).


I enjoy people asking about the Amadiba community’s response to the film. While there are those who love it, representatives from both sides (pro and anti mining) have felt that we favoured their opposition. Though this response was a bit unexpected, it gives us the impression that we succeeded in giving both sides a fair chance to present their points of view.


I also enjoy talking about the impact the film is having although it is still in its early stage of outreach. The Shore Break has been invited to numerous conferences including a national conference of environmental impact assessors. As the film explores the role of a public participation process conducted by environmental assessors on behalf of the mining company, it was very encouraging that assessors are wanting to evaluate how these procedures can be conducted more fairly and for them to see what is at stake in the lives of communities affected by proposed mining projects. We’ve also had NGOs partner with us to screen the film to raise funds for projects to assist the Amadiba Area. One Austrian based NGO raised enough money to start building a pedestrian bridge across a treacherous gorges in order to prevent more residents drowning while crossing rivers during flash floods.


The Shore Break Official Website


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