Steven Markovitz

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Steven Markovitz (born 1965) is a South African film and television producer. He has produced, co-produced and executive-produced features, documentaries and short films including the acclaimed "Boy called Twist", "Behind the Rainbow" and "Viva Riva!". Since 2007, he has worked all over Africa producing documentary series and fiction. He has an associate office in Kinshasa,[1] Democratic Republic of the Congo and works with production offices across Africa.


Markovitz began his career in 1992 and co-founded the production company Big World Cinema [1] in Cape Town in 1994. In 1999, he produced the short film "Husk", which premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival;[2] followed by the award-winning "It's My Life", the intimate portrait of Zackie Achmat, South Africa's leading AIDS activist in 2001.[3] "The Tap" won Best South African Documentary at the Apollo Film Festival 2003[4] and Best Production of the Year at the Stone Awards, South Africa.

Markovitz co-produced the Academy Award-nominated[5] short film "Inja" ("Dog") in 2003; followed by the award-winning South African-Canadian feature film "Proteus" directed by John Greyson and Jack Lewis which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2003 and Berlin;[6] "Raya", a short film part of the "Mama Afrika"[7] series, which was theatrically released in the USA in 2003; and the TV movie Crossing the Line[8] by award-winning director Brian Tilley.

In 2005 he was the executive producer of the feature film Boy called Twist directed by Tim Greene, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival[9] in 2005. This was followed by the animated short film "Beyond Freedom", which screened at the Berlin International Film Festival.[10]

Markovitz produced a series of thirteen films made by new South African documentary filmmakers titled "Project 10: Real Stories from a Free South Africa"[11] which screened at Sundance, IDFA, Tribeca and Berlin[12] In 2008, he produced the acclaimed feature documentary "Behind the Rainbow" on South Africa's ruling party, directed by Jihan El-Tahri[13] for ZDF/Arte, SBS, SVT, VPRO, SABC and ITVS (USA). "Latitude",[14] a series of 9 short films from 8 African countries, was executive-produced by Markovitz, and premiered at Berlin in February 2010. It include the award-winning Kenyan science fiction short "Pumzi" by Wanuri Kahiu.

In 2009 Markovitz completed the documentary omnibus "Congo in Four Acts" which travelled to over 50 festivals including Berlin,[15] IDFA, Hot Docs 2010; and the documentary "State of Mind", directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, which investigates the extent of trauma and its healing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[16]

Markovitz co-produced the Congolese-French-Belgium crime thriller "Viva Riva!",[17] directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010[18] and Berlin International Film Festival 2011 and won the MTV Movie Award for Best African Movie.[19] It was released in USA, UK, Australia/NZ, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany and 18 African countries.[20]

In 2013, Markovitz executive-produced the fiction omnibus "African Metropolis" [2] consisting of six films by six directors across Africa. The films have screened at Durban IFF, Toronto IFF, Santa Barbara IFF and IFF Rotterdam.

In 2014, Markovitz was involved in three award-winning films: Stories of Our Lives, a Kenyan feature film about the LGBT community in Kenya, by Jim Chuchu and the NEST Collective, which Markovitz executive-produced. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival[21] and won the Berlin International Film Festival’s Teddy Jury Award;[22] Love the One You Love, a South African feature film written, produced and directed by Jenna Cato Bass, which Markovitz produced. The film won prizes at the Durban International Film Festival,[23] Jozi Film Festival[24] and Three Continents Festival in Nantes;[25] Documentary Beats of the Antonov was produced by Markovitz, and directed by Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the People’s Choice Documentary Award[26]

Other Work[edit]

Markovitz is the co-founder of "Encounters", the South African International Documentary Film Festival,[27] and the Close Encounters Documentary Laboratory, now in its 16th year. He is a founding member of the "Independent Producers Organisation" and has sat on various international film juries and selection panels, including Cinemart, Rotterdam,[28] IDFA Bertha Fund[29] and Silverdocs.[30] He recently moderated the first Good Pitch² in Johannesburg in partnership with BRITDOC.


  1. ^ "Pouring oil onto troubled waters". Screen Africa. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes Official Selection 2005". Festival de Cannes. 2005. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  3. ^ Harvey, Dennis (22 July 2002). "Film Reviews – It's My Life". Variety. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  4. ^ "The Apollo Film Festival – Winners". 2 October 2003. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Nominees & Winners for the 75th Academy Awards". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2003. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Berlinale Temporary Archive". Berlin International Film Festival. 2004. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  7. ^ Holden, Stephen (7 June 2002). "Mama Africa (2002) Film Review: Young, Smart and Pressed Toward a Bad Decision". The New York Times Movies. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Crossing the Line". Media Update. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  9. ^ "SA Film under Cannes spotlight". 10 May 2005. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Berlinale Temporary Archive". Berlin International Film Festival. 2006. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  11. ^ "Freedom Stories from SA for Berlin Film Festival". SA Film. 2004. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Berlinale Temporary Archive". Berlin International Film Festival. 2004. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  13. ^ "PBS Independent Lens: Behind the Rainbow". PBS. 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  14. ^ Maiko Schaffrath (2011). "Latitude: Africa beyond its clichés". Goethe Institut Südafrika. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Berlinale Temporary Archive". Berlin International Film Festival. 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Icarus Films Catalogue, State of Mind: Healing Trauma". Icarus Films. 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Viva Riva official website". Formosa productions & MG Productions. 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  18. ^ "TIFF Films & Schedules: Viva Riva!". Toronto International Film Festival. 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Viva Riva! Wins Inaugural Best African Movie Category". MTV Base. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  20. ^ Smith, David (19 October 2011). "Congo's first feature film for 25 years opens in 18 countries". The Guardian online. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  21. ^ "Stories of Our Lives at TIFF 2014". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  22. ^ "Teddy Winners 2015". Teddy Awards. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  23. ^ "DIFF Announces Award Winners for 2014". Durban International Film Festival. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  24. ^ "Jozi Film Festival 2015 Winners". Jozi Film Festival. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  25. ^ . Festival des 3 Continents Retrieved 18 March 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ . TIFF Archived from the original on 4 December 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Encounters Documentary Festival". Encounters Documentary Festival. 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  28. ^ Hernandez, Eugene (2003). ""Extrano," "Jealousy," and "Lilya" Win 32nd Rotterdam Tiger Awards". IndieWire. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  29. ^ "IDFA Bertha Fund selection committee". International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  30. ^ "Silverdocs Juries". Silverdocs. 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2011.