Grant #296

In Stitches — A Serious Documentary About Comedy In South Africa

May 28, 2018

What if none of your country’s comedy was about most of your country’s people?

When filmmakers Hannah Rafkin and Meg Robbins told us that stand-up comedy (for anyone but a handful of white men) didn’t exist in South Africa until 1994, we were amazed. When they told us that almost all of the comedy was in the two official languages (English and Afrikaans), we wondered why that was important. But when they told us that today’s South African stand-up comedians (who include Black men and women) sometimes perform in one of the country’s native or “vernacular” languages, it’s a way of saying No to the establishment and Yes to a community’s culture. It’s something new, asserting the value of people who feel seen and heard when the comedy comes to them in their own language, funny stories that only they would understand. Even the filmmakers don’t understand! But they totally get the significance of this new movement in comedy, so that’s why these female filmmakers wanted to tell the story.

We can’t wait to see In Stitches, but nobody will see it until it’s finished, and this Awesome Without Borders grant will help with that. Check out this brilliant interview with the filmmakers, watch the trailer below, and get inside scoop on the film from their Instagram account.




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