The South African recovery film festival 2016

The South African Recovery Film Festival returns for a 4th year, continuing its focus on films exploring themes of addiction, mental health issues and recovery. The festival is taking place at the Labia in Cape Town and at the Bioscope in Johannesburg from 22 to 25 September.

The Festival, which has once again partnered with SACAP (the South African College of Applied Psychology), aims to educate, entertain, inform and promote solutions and successes of Recovery from addiction is part of the International Recovery Month initiative which sees thousands of events take place all around the world. Addiction, alcoholism and mental health issues remain clouded by stigma and lack of understanding. The shame and ignorance often surrounding these conditions make accessing help lonely and difficult despite the reality that we are all affected.

“Every one knows someone who is negatively effected by substance abuse, whether alcohol or drugs. Process addictions such as sex, gambling, eating problems, gaming and technology are seemingly increasing. The problems are all too evident, and the impacts on every level of society all too obvious. However, the solutions are too seldom celebrated,” says festival organiser, Dougie Dudgeon, “The South African Recovery Film Festival encourages those in Recovery to come together as active members of their communities, as role models and credible messengers of hope. We believe Recovery needs to be celebrated, and addiction needs to be understood, so we welcome those in recovery, family, friends, health care professionals, carers of all types, policy makers, law enforcement, and most of all anyone who likes good films!”

South Africa is in the grip of some devastating socioeconomic challenges including poverty and homelessness and rampant violent crime. Almost invariably these are interlaced with substance abuse and addiction. That is the visible face of the addiction pandemic, but there is an invisible aspect too. Dependency disorders hidden behind a mask of normalcy and upward mobility. Individuals teetering on the edge, families ripped apart, relationships redefined. The Recovery Film Festival draws a spotlight on these challenges, raising our awareness and taking us behind the mask.

“More importantly the Festival highlights the heroic path to recovery that many have chosen - a pathway that was only faintly visible to them from within the darkness of their dependency”, says SACAP’s Chief Executive, Lance Katz. “These are not the actions of super-human Olympians but rather ordinary men and woman who courageously chose life instead of death. This is the most empowering message of the Festival. That recovery is not the preserve of a few elite but a possibility for all addiction sufferers”.

The Festival opening night on Thursday, 22 September will be the South African premier of (DIS) Honesty – The Truth About Lies, a film about the ambivalent culture of truth. In recovery honesty is seen as a foundation stone, but what about everyone else? The showing of the documentary will be followed with a Q&A looking at the South African context of issues raised, and the concept of personal honesty.

All the documentaries in the line-up are showing in South Africa for the first time. To see the full programme, visit
Tickets are available from Webtickets ( and cost R50 per ticket.