The fifth annual SA Eco Film Festival is heading to Cape Town and Johannesburg later this month with a packed line-up of inspirational environmental doccies. This year’s theme is all about connecting to our natural world and paying attention to the plights of a planet in need.

Various independent cinemas in the Mother City and Johannesburg will play host to the SA Eco Film Festival running from 22 to 30 March 2018. On the menu is a diverse list of international feature films with themes ranging from ocean pollution and bugs as eco food to drought and conservation legend Jane Goodall.

Aside from several free screenings, 2018’s festival also includes the SA Eco Shorts film festival hosted in Cape Town on 29 March. And on 30 March eco film enthusiasts will have the opportunity to get a sneak peek at South African eco films currently in production, with introductions by the filmmakers themselves.

With a bouquet of gripping titles on offer, these three must-see films caught our wild eye:

A Plastic Ocean

102 minutes, USA, 2016

Plastic has been a hot topic over the past few years as concern grows for our helpless marine wildlife. Meet the explorers and scientists who travelled to 20 locations over the span of four years to witness first-hand the devastating effects of plastic pollution. A Plastic Ocean is a shocking eye-opener begging one crucial question: How are we going to save our future?

Show dates: 23 March at 18:00 (Johannesburg); 29 March at 18:30 (Cape Town)

Bugs – The Film

73 minutes, USA, 2016

Ever thought bugs could be a major food source? Two chefs decide to travel the world and taste as many insects as they can get their hands on. As one of the chefs said: “There’s no one working on insects from a gastronomic point of view…” The film creates a delightful paradigm shift between what many westerners view as creepy crawlies and others as luxurious delicacies. If you’re easily grossed out, give this one a miss.

Show dates: 24 and 27 March at 18:30 (Cape Town); 26 March at 18:00 (Johannesburg)


90 minutes, USA, 2017 (free screening)

As the festival’s opening event, Jane reveals more than 50 years’ never-before-seen footage that was kept under wraps in the National Geographic archives. Think chimpanzee research and visionary primatologist Jane Goodall immediately comes to mind. It’s simply an incredible story showcasing Jane’s various trials and successes. Goosebump stuff!

Show dates: 22 March at 18:30 (Cape Town); 22 March at 18:00 (Johannesburg)

Riveting shorts

Only a few minutes long, these short films aim to hit hard, influencing and educating the audience with maximum impact:

  • Explore wanderlust: What happens when millennials are cut off from their phones and computer screens?
  • Love in the midst of climate change: The story of a soap business in Gordon’s Bay that sets out to save our ecosystem – vegan-friendly soap and all.
  • Poop on poverty: A look behind the world’s biggest camel fair and how locals are using the event to voice some of their fundamental needs.
  • Teach a man to fish: Shot in Kalk Bay, the film shows a recruiter for a commercial fishing company trying to exploit a small time fisherman.
  • Embo: An intimate visual poem as one filmmaker questions his connection to the concept of environment.


Visit the festival’s website for a full programme schedule and a series of trailers. Follow the festival on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Win your share of tickets

Wild is giving away five double tickets to the SA Eco Film Festival. Answer our simple question below and email your answer to [email protected] (subject line: eco films) to stand a chance to win. Remember to include your contact details and city where you would like to attend – Johannesburg or Cape Town. Entries close on 19 March at 12:00. Wild will randomly select the winners. Winner will be notified via email.

Question: Name one of the feature films shown at this year’s festival.

Winners: Sandra Pratt, Junaid Hassim, Mike Lovell, Lise-Marie Greeff-Villet, Georgina Read

Don’t miss out!

Tickets cost R50 per person for paid screenings – buy your tickets online. For every ticket sold, R5 will be donated to Greenpop’s tree planting initiatives.

Pictures and trailers courtesy of SA Eco Film Festival