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Gold Lion Film Festival 2013

Africa’s Premier Showcase for Short Cinema

October 15 – 31, 2013

For 2013, Africa’s short film showcase, the Gold Lion Film Festival, again hosts screenings in the fabled Kingdom of Swaziland, and will also bring the best of the world’s short film and video dramas, animation, documentaries, musicals and comedies to South Africa,Lesotho and Mozambique.

Recognized worldwide as the place to exhibit short films in Africa, the Gold Lion Film Festival welcomes submissions from student and professional filmmakers throughout the world.  Films from 50 nations received their African or World Premiers at the festival, including entries that have gone on to be nominated for Academy Awards in the short film category.

Filmmakers are invited to explore Swaziland, where African culture and  tradition thrive in a beautiful mountainous setting.  Mlilwane Game Reserve is only 15 minutes from two of the festival’s principal venues.  Our South Africa venue, Casterbridge Cinema, is located in White River, the gateway to Kruger National Park, Africa’s oldest game reserve.

Happy Gold Lion Audience - and why not? - Ster Kinnekor Cinema gave free popcorn to Gold Lion patrons at the opening of Maseru, Lesotho's first movie muliplex. The event was "A Night of American Short Cinema" sponsored by the United States Embassy in Lesotho.



The Golden Leo Award.
  Presented to the Best Film of the 2013 festival as determined by a panel of judges at a public screening of six to eight entries selected as finalists for this award.  Cash Award: US $2000.
Director’s Choice Award.  Best Entry as determined by the Festival Director.  Cash Award: US $1000.
The Inkhanyeti Student Film Award.  Presented to the Best Student Film of the 2013 festival as determined by jury. Cash Award: US $500
The Bophayi Animation Award.  Presented to the Best Animated Film of the 2013 festival as determined by a jury.  Cash Award: US $500.
(Unnamed) award for Best Documentary Film of the 2013 Festival as determined by a jury.  Cash Award: US $500.


BUSH FIRE FESTIVAL -- 29 May 2013. House on Fire, Malkerns, Swaziland
SWAZILAND – Mbabane, Malkerns, Manzini, Matsapha  19-24 October 2013
SOUTH AFRICA – White River  30-31 October 2013


The Gold Lion Film Festival presents the latest achievements in short films and videos from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and elsewhere in the world.  All genres of shorts subjects are presented.

The festival’s original purpose was to overcome the limitations of commercial film distribution in the region, which is largely restricted to mainstream blockbuster films, and to introduce innovative filmmakers to a new audience and the excitement of today’s Africa.

The Gold Lion Film Festival has become more – a way for African filmmakers to come to world attention and for world filmmakers to have their work showed on a continent where few opportunities for exhibition exist.  Film festivals from four continents are either partnering with the festival or using us for programming ideas. 

The governments of several nations have found the festival an exciting venue to showcase their filmmakers’ works.  (The Gold Lion Film Festival is Swaziland’s largest cultural exchange.) In 2007, special screenings were devoted to French, Italian,Taiwanees and American films, sponsored by the governments of those countries.  (Films shown were entirely chosen by the festival selection committee from festival entries.)  Portugal is among new nations that have expressed interest in screenings of their own filmmakers at the 2008 festival. 

Beyond the festival itself, this organisation is dedicated to the advancement of film scholarship, both critical and production, and cinema appreciation throughout Southern Africa.  The educational and cultural programmes of the festival continue throughout the year, bringing film to rural communities and disadvantaged groups.  Submitted films, including some not chosen for screening at the festival, are shown at special screenings, some dedicated to social issues like Women’s Rights, HIV/AIDS and artistic accomplishment, or at workshops for filmmaker education.  Filmmakers’ permissions are obtained before these screenings.

The Gold Lion maidens preparing for the 2013 Festival.
Winner of the first award for Best Swazi film, Bornitor Nhlabela, at the Gold Lion fest production office.  The fest’s video editing equipment for some reason is mounted on an upright piano imported from London to Southern Africa in 1895.

PHOTOS (click to enlarge)


Casterbridge Cinema in White River, South Africa is part of a unique arts and crafts complex near Kruger Park.

House On Fire entertainment center in Malkerns, Swaziland.


© Gold Lion Film Festival 2013