SABC2 is to screen Teboho Pietersen’s documentary film, Boys Don’t Cry on Sunday, 21 June (Father’s day). The film is relevant for Father’s Day as it explores the hard issues behind a man who sacrificed his life for the emancipation of his country but in the process was an absentee father.
Pietersen questions if his grandfather’s heroic acts as an apartheid activist means he had to neglect his family. During the film he discovers that the issues of absenteeism continue to plague his family till today. Nhlanhla Hlongwane, a factual commissioning editor at the SABC described the film as a “deeply personal, revealing story of a legacy of apartheid and its effects on family”. The film speaks volumes about the role parents undertake and the very tough decisions faced by parents when it comes to their own careers and families.
The film was funded by the National Film and Video Foundation and was later licensed by the SABC, successes that Pietersen is very proud to boast about. It is produced by Pietersen under his company 1000 Hugs Films and distributed by Hybrid Docs.
The film is Pietersen’s directing debut. While the filmmaker is a producer, writer and script editor of fiction and documentary films, this film marked his entry into the landscape of directing. “The film is unique from my other work as it is a personal journey film that is about my family and me. It took 4 years to complete.” The film is partly shot in Sweden where Pietersen’s grandfather continues to reside.
Pietersen cites his inspiration as a filmmaker to the likes of Rehad Desai, Bridget Pickering, Jihan El-Tahri and many others who have mentored him in his career. He says his work is only possible through the hard work paved by few dedicated South African filmmakers who were not selfish in sharing their knowledge of the craft. Scotttness Smith who is the producer and director of ‘Hear Me Move’ is one such individual who was instrumental on the project as a co-director.
Pietersen is also the current co-chair of the Documentary Filmmakers Association, an association that continues to strive to create a thriving culture of documentary appreciation in South Africa.
Teboho Pietersen’s Boys Don’t Cry airs on Sunday, 21 June at 21:00 on SABC2.