Established in 1996 by filmmaker Derek Antonio Serra, Controversi Films has emerged as one of the truly independent,
 cutting-edge documentary production companies in Southern Africa. No subject is taboo for this intrepid filmmaker.

 With its own state-of-the-art facilities and cameras, Controversi Films is able to cover social issues over lengthy time 
 periods on relatively low budgets. Several of the documentaries produced over the last seven years were partially funded
 by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), who recognize the role that Controversi Films plays in raising social
 awareness on crucial issues while developing emerging filmmaking talent in Southern Africa.
“This is our world. See its joys and be happy.
 But see its sorrow and learn from it,
 And don’t say that no one ever told you
 What the world was like.”
 Alan Rosenthal
 Documentary Filmmaker

 CULTURECLASH (2002) 52min
Selection: Durban International Film Festival 2003 / Zanzibar Film Festival 2004

 As is the case in many countries, South Africa has a population made up  of many cultures. Inevitably these
 cultures clash every now and then – chiefly as the result of one culture misunderstanding the customs of 
 another culture. CULTURECLASH looks at the common misconceptions, myths and prejudices that the main
 cultural groups in South Africa have about each other in a documentary which, although it is sometimes 
 humorous and tongue-in-cheek, is also a serious attempt to understand why our cultures clash.
Although focusing on the main cultural groups found in South Africa, CULTURECLASH has universal appeal as it broaches the subject of multiculturalism and ethnic diversity in an increasingly globalized world where the inhabitants of many countries now have to come to terms with a constant influx of migrant workers, political refugees and immigrants from very different cultures. Societies need to openly deal with the challenges which first colonialism and now globalisation have thrust in their path the peace and harmony, and CULTURECLASH is an attempt to encourage open debate on these issues.
 CULTURECLASH will shock you, embarrass you and make you blush. It’ll also annoy some viewers and make 
 others scream with laughter. At the end of it all we’ll all have gained a better understanding of the other cultures 
 in South Africa, and hopefully the “clashes” will be gentler in the future.

Funded by National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF)

 WOMEN SPEAK OUT! (2004) 4 x 24min
BODY BEAUTIFUL - Selection: Durban International Film Festival/ Zanzibar Film Festival 2004 Mama Africa Tour 2005 - British Film Institute/ Cinemateket 2006 - Danish Film Institute

 WOMEN SPEAK OUT !  is a series of four 24min documentaries directed by three  emerging black female 
 directors.  BRING BACK YESTERDAY by Lungiswa Sithole looks at the issues of hostel-dwelling pensioners
 in Langa and Guguletu. BODY BEAUTIFUL by Omelga Mthiyane is a study of the body image of Black women 
 and PARENT ALONE by Bongi Mdongwe provides a touching insight into single fatherhood in South Africa. 
 SPEAKING OUT is a pacy behind-the-scenes look at the realities facing black female directors in South Africa. 
 As South African society emerges from centuries of censorship and oppression, issues such these are being 
 discussed by the younger generation of  “angry young women”.
 CONTROVERSI FILMS is heavily invested in developing filmmaking talent in South Africa. Apart from producing 
 and directing our own projects, we feel that as producers it is vital that we facilitate other meaningful productions 
 by emerging filmmakers. This is true development of skills, as these young directors are extremely talented and 
 will grow under the mentorship of an experienced team of producers, technicians and editors.

Funded by National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF)

 CAPE OF RAPE (2000) 54min

 Once known as the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town is now one of the rape capitals of the world,  with one in 
 three women expecting to be raped in her lifetime. Film maker Derek Antonio Serra spent four months 
 researching and shooting this, his second documentary and the programme has made broadcasting history in 
 South Africa as the first documentary to show the faces of rape survivors on national TV.
 CAPE OF RAPE looks at the experiences of seven women who were raped in a direct,  no-holds-barred manner 
 that lays to rest once and for all many of the myths surrounding the issue of rape. This in-depth documentary 
 looks at the effects of rape on not only the individual victims, but on society as a whole. With harrowing accounts 
 by rape survivors, the programme is both controversial and shocking, containing previously unreleased police 
 footage of rape victims injuries.

Although some viewers are shocked by segments of the programme, the documentary has been positively received by rape support groups and CAPE OF RAPE is now being used by both RAPE CRISIS, PATCH and CRISISLINE in the training of rape counsellors countrywide.

Funded by the Department of Arts & Culture Interim Film Fund.

 LOVE FOOLS (2007) 52min

 LOVE FOOLS is a zany, roller coaster look at romantic love from its early emergence to its contemporary 
 form. Ever since Eve offered Adam a bite of her apple, we have tried to understand what love is, and what 
 makes us fall in love. Thousands of poems, novels, movies and anguished declarations later, what is 
 modern mans understanding of this phenomena?
 In a programme spanning five continents and thousands of kilometers of traveling, director Derek Antonio 
 Serra and production manager Edna Roelofse set off on a mission to discover what the modern perception
 of love is. World experts on the chemical basis of “love” are contrasted with ordinary people the world over. 
 Reality-style footage of the metamorphosis of a love relationship from earth-shattering beginning to heart-
 breaking end vies with innovative visuals and animation for the viewers’ attention. Raw emotion is set against
 cold calculation as people from all walks of life describe how they deal with love and lust in all its forms. Is it 
 the real thing, or are they just LOVE FOOLS?

 INNOCENCE LOST (2006) 48min

 INNOCENCE LOST provides a unique, spine-tingling glimpse into the experiences of sexually abused 
 children. Through their eyes, and the eyes of their schoolmates we enter a world of horror and fear as their 
 fathers, brothers and relatives betray them. Often enduring repeated rape, physical torture and emotional 
 blackmail, these children struggle to survive blood-chilling abuse. A talented team of artists and animators
 bring their darkest experiences to life by animating actual drawings produced by the children.           
 This extremely disturbing, thought-provoking documentary is destined to become a “must-see” film for every
 parent and caregiver. Just as its predecessor CAPE OF RAPE is used as a training tool for adult rape 
 counselors, INNOCENCE  LOST will become a powerful weapon against child abuse in South Africa.
 Directed by Derek Antonio Serra and Lara Taylor, the programme is being privately funded by Controversi
 Films as part of its Controversi Cares initiative. UCT Rag, Reach for a Dream, the Halt Elder Abuse Line and
 Rape Crisis have all benefited from this initiative in past years, and Controversi Films is determined to continue 
 producing hard-hitting documentaries on social issues.

 STREETLIFE - VIRGINS (1999) 52 min

A provocative, controversial look at the lives of street prostitutes in Cape Town, South Africa, this gritty documentary
is director Derek Antonio Serra's first film.Shot over a period of three months on the streets of Cape Town, VIRGINS
captures the experiences of five street prostitutes aged from 12 to 34 yrs on film. Often working alone at 2am, the 
director has captured life on the streets in a raw, thought-provoking documentary.

Containing explicit dialogue and visuals, this is not a film for the faint-hearted!


A follow-up to VIRGINS, this film takes viewers into the underworld of Cape Town's street people, both young and old.
Although largely uneducated, some of the streetpeople who participate in the programme take politicians to task for the lack of facilities available to the numerous streetpeople in the city. We go into the night shelters to interview our subjects - we shoot late at night in alleyways. Young children recount their experiences, and tell us of their dreams for the future. On more than one occasion we are left with a lump in our throat...

 WHITE WORKING CLASS (2007) 48 min

In this personal film on his father, director Derek Antonio Serra provides us with a glimpse into the life of an ordinary
white working class man who has lived through much of the 20th century in South Africa. Bill Serra is the son of an
Italian immigrant who came to South Africa in 1920, three hundred years after the first colonial settlers set foot in
Southern Africa. A simple man with a strong work ethic, Bill was never unemployed for one day of his adult life. We
follow him as he revisits some of the major landmarks he helped construct during his lifetime. A great storyteller, he
shares his memories of the trials and tribulations he and his men endured while building these landmarks.

Through these intriguing tales we gain an insight into the life of a typical white working class family struggling to
make ends meet each day, a story seldom told in todays politically correct South African documentaries.

 "nudecapetown" (2008) 48 min

Over 30 ordinary Capetonians posed nude for the art photography exhibition "nudecapetown" in 2005/2006. This behind-the-scenes documentary covers the entire process of producing thephotographs for this unique exhibition and calendar. Students, brokers, bookkeepers, vets and secretaries volunteered to be photographed nude in their work places, at home or outdoors. Each person has their own reason for participating in the project - some are exhibitionists, someare painfully shy, some just want to break out of a boring lifestyle.

If nudity offends, don't watch this film, which contains full frontal male and female nudity.


 Shocking, eye-opening, fly-on-the-wall documentaries are our specialty. Worldwide production undertaken on any topic
 - and we mean ANY topic.

To licence or screen any of our documentaries, contact us directly at:

 Cape Town
 South Africa