Backsberg Audience Choice Award for The Shore Break at Encounters

Media Release

Backsberg Audience Choice Award for The Shore Break at Encounters

Today it was announced that Ryley Grunenwald’s The Shore Break, won the prestigious Backsberg Audience Choice Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival for Best South African FilmThe award-winning documentary film follows the dilemma faced by a rural community on South Africa’s Wild Coast as to whether to support or resist a proposed titanium mining project and a national tolled highway.

Grunenwald says she is thrilled with the accolade. “Both my co-producer Odette Geldenhuys and I are really pleased about the win. The Shore Break was a labour of love so it is very rewarding to know it is well received by South African audiences. It was an important story to tell because it captures the nuance and complexity around issues of developing the Wild Coast. The story follows two Pondo cousins who have opposing dreams for the future of their land. One wants to preserve the land through sustainable development while the other plans to mine it for titanium, believing large scale development is the only way to improve employment opportunities.”

“The audience award is based on a complicated calculation in which the festival takes into account the capacity of the cinemas, numbers of tickets sold and the votes cast.” says Odette Geldenhuys. “The film captured the imagination of festival goers, so much so that all our five scheduled screenings were sold out and we had to have two additional screenings in Cape Town and Johannesburg.”

Backsberg Estate Cellars CEO Simon Back  adds, “It is a great honour for us to sponsor the Audience Choice Awards. The aim of the awards is to raise awareness around the festival and what has resonated with audiences. With sustainability being core to the way we run our winery, I am also thrilled that both winners raise awareness around critical environmental matters.” 

The Shore Break, which was a project in the 2013 Durban FilmMart, will have its co-premiere at the 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on July 18, 2015 with four screenings only during the festival which runs from July 16 to 26.

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and for the DIFF go to


Note to editors:

Digital stills, EPK and links to articles and reviews are available online:

The Shore Break had its European premiere at IDFA 2014 (Competition for First Appearance), The Netherlands, and had other screenings at FIFE 2015 (where it won Feature Length Documentary), FranceFIFF 2015, FranceFestival Millennium 2015, BelgiumHot Docs 2015, CanadaSydney International Film Festival 2015, Australia, Encounters International Documentary Film Festival 2015, South Africa and will be screened at DIFF 2015 and the International Film Festival for Human Rights 2015, Argentina.

Below are audience comments pulled from the Facebook page of the film, as well as the director’s and producer’s Facebook pages, or emailed to them.

"It is a wonderful film. Everyone possible must see it. Please put it on the Films for Action site. Congrats again.”

“During the panel discussion we felt Nonhle’s courage and her passion, which followed through from the film.”

“This is the best documentary I have ever seen.”

“Thanks so much for the film. What an accomplishment balancing all the layers and all the intrigue. Great stuff!”  

"The film is great on all levels – story, drama, great characters, fantastic footage and cinematography, topical subject matter, it is all there."

"The film was excellent. You did a sterling job."

"I watched your movie today. It was profoundly lovely and engaging and interesting. The animations were magical."

"What a feat balancing all the intrigue and complexity. Congrats!