HBO has selected the documentary, “Courting Justice”, by American filmmakers Ruth Cowan and Jane Thandi Lipman (Cowan created, and Lipman directed the film) as a competition finalist in the Martha’s Vineyard African-American film festival.

The film is about the experiences of female, especially black female judges, in South Africa’s highest courts (that’s Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Mandisa Maya in the picture above):

“Courting Justice” features seven South African women judges, all of whom were New Democracy appointments. They serve on the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the provincial High Courts. They speak to us while at work in their court rooms and chambers, at home and in the communities in which they were raised. Courting Justice is their story. It is a very personal story, revealing the challenges they confront working in a previously all-male institution [in 2008, only 18% of a total of 200 judges countrywide were women-Sean] and the sacrifices they make to effect the Constitution’s human rights promises.

Judging from the supplemental reading material on the film’s website (like this review in a South African newspaper), this is sure to be an interesting interrogation into the process of over-hauling racist institutions as well as their patriarchal frameworks.

Here’s a 10 minute clip from the film:


The festival will take place August 11-14. Find the screening schedule and other festival information here.

Hey, everyone should be going to the Vineyard.

Allison Swank

Further Reading

This is Congo

A long-awaited documentary takes a look at the state of politics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and highlights those who are working to build a new future.