Screening of Indlela Yokuphila at the third Pacific Human Rights Film Festival a resounding success  

On 29 November 2023, Empatheatre’s short animation film Indlela Yokuphila (Soul’s Journey) was screened at the third Pacific Human Rights Film Festival organised by the Pacific Community, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the government of Sweden, the University of the South Pacific, and the Pacific Regional Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The film was ‘incredibly well received’ according to the festival Director, at an event attended by over 200 people.  

screening of Indlela Yokuphila (soul’s journey) at the third Pacific human rights film festival november 2023 – Photo: Karine Gatellier

The short film “Indlela Yokuphila” meaning “the Soul’s journey” in Zulu was researched and narrated by Mpume Mthombeni (Empatheatre) and directed by Marc Moynihan (Shells & Spells) and Hub researcher Dylan McGarry (Empatheatre/Rhodes University, South Africa), the film aims to make intangible ocean heritages more tangible in governance and education through animation and public dialogue, and return the sacred to our conversations around ocean wellbeing. 

Ben Wheeler, the Festival Director noted how the audience have told the organiser “over and over how educational and inspirational the content was, with some claiming they will become more active in human rights advocacy as a direct result of having been a part of this incredible experience. The film Indlela Yokuphila was part of a session of animated shorts aimed at families and was incredibly well received. Over 200 people turned up for this evening event including many children of all ages who engaged well with the content, many wanting to participate in the discussion afterwards, and asking some of the trickiest questions we had all festival!  

The Festival Director continues:

“On a personal note, I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of Indlela Yokuphila, which we ran in the original language form with subtitles straight after we opened with You, The Choice of My Parents (an original language Tongan film with subtitles), despite a strong feelings that some of the younger audience members might be alienated.  To my delight the feedback from both was excellent, the beautiful visuals and rhythmic quality of the narration capturing imaginations and communicating as much as the words themselves”.  

Throughout the course of the festival, 1,500 audience members attend the diverse line up of film screenings and performances.  

As a follow up from the third Pacific Human Rights Film Festival, the Empatheatre’s team has received another request from the African Film Festival – St Louis, run by the Washington University in St Louis to screen Indlela Yokuphila film at the festival. More information here and: here

Indlela Yokuphila has also been selected for the New York International Children’s Film Festival. The Oscar-qualifying festival and North America’s largest film festival for kids and teens will take place in New York 2-17 March 2024.

Watch the film here 

Artwork: Marc Moyinhan and Dylan McGarry

Related SDGs:

  • Good health and well-being
  • Reduced inequality
  • Climate action
  • Life below water