Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

An Act of Defiance
(Bram Fischer)


Year: 2017
Run Time: 123 minutes

An Act of Defiance
An Act of Defiance
An Act of Defiance
An Act of Defiance

In 1963 South Africa was ruled by the brutal system of apartheid. After a raid on a farm in Rivonia—a suburb of Johannesburg—ten men were charged with conspiracy to commit violent acts and sabotage against the government. One of the accused was Nelson Mandela, who convinced his fellow defendants to make a political statement by pleading not guilty. Included in Mandela’s group were Jewish anti-apartheid revolutionaries, who also joined the cause to end discrimination. All of the accused faced the possibility of the death sentence. Representing the men was a sympathetic white lawyer named Bram Fischer, who risked his own freedom and reputation by defending them. He was a secret activist himself—and a member of the Communist Party. This absorbing courtroom drama unfolds in Jean van de Velde’s AN ACT OF DEFIANCE, a riveting political thriller that examines a vital moment in Mandela’s turbulent fight for a free South Africa. It also shines a spotlight on the courageous Fischer, whose crucial contributions to the movement are lesser known. (In English and Afrikaans with subtitles) —E.F.

CIFF42 Screenings

Tower City Cinemas

Thursday, April 05, 2018 at 6:30 PM

Friday, April 06, 2018 at 11:20 AM

African Diaspora
Race Relations

International Narrative Competition


Jean van de Velde

Writer and director Jean van de Velde was born in 1957 in Bukavu, Congo. He has written and directed numerous award-winning films.

The Demise of Herman Durer (1979), De afstand (1981), Parfait amour (1985), De kleine blonde dood (1993), All Stars (1997), Leak 2000 (2000), Floris (2004), Leef! (2005), Wild Romance (2006), The Silent Army (2008), All Stars 2: Old Stars (2011), Hoe duur was de suiker (2013), AN ACT OF DEFIANCE (2017)

Richard Claus, Gemma Derksen, Jean van de Velde

Dominic Morgan, Matt Harvey, Jean van de Velde

Miles Goodall

Sander Vos

Principal Cast
Peter Paul Muller, Antoinette Louw, José Domingos, Conrad Kemp

Print Source

Film Sponsors

Ulmer & Berne LLP

Community Partners

Anti-Defamation League

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