SAFF Canada 2021

Toorbos (plus bonus live group discussion)

Expired November 15, 2021 5:00 AM
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Toorbos is set in the 1930s in the time of the final forest dwellers of the incredible Knysna forest. It tells the story of Karoliena, a young forest child who is born into poverty and raised in similar circumstances. She’s the only daughter of an unsympathetic and hateful mother. Her loving father dies when Karoliena is seven years old, after which she “adopts” the forest as her only guardian. She becomes a smart and beautiful young woman who quickly attracts the attention of Johannes, a successful businessman from town who promises to take her away from her impoverished existence.

Enchanted by him and the prospects of his life, she agrees to go to Knysna where she’s trained to become a respectable lady. But the town and forest are in stark contrast with each other. The forest is magical, mythical and spiritual. The town is centred around a selfish desire for money. When Karoliena realises that she has exchanged her precious freedom for a cage, it’s too late, and she’s petrified. Our story follows Karoliena while she’s trapped between her love for the forest and the man she’s married to, while she tries to overcome the obstacles on her journey to decide where her place in the world really is. 

Contains some scenes with sexual content as well as some scenes or language that is biased or prejudiced with regard to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or other identifiable group characteristics.

Community Partner: Hogan's Alley Society

BONUS FEATURE: at this year’s festival we are hosting a series of live online discussions for several of the films featured.



To sign-up for the 1 hour live group discussion of Toorbos on Sunday November 7 at 4pm PT / 7pm ET, please click here


Shy-Anne, a disabled Afro-Indigenous-Irish land defender and mother, is committed to the Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek) protests on behalf of her loved ones and all future generations. She stands in solidarity with all Indigenous people, fighting against colonial-capitalist systems that have deeply impacted their lives, robbing them of their land and natural resources for centuries. 


After experiencing first-hand one of the magnificent ancient cedars in Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek), Susan was shocked when police allowed industry access and the tree, estimated to be between 1,000-2,000 years old, was cut down and the entire area clear-cut in five days. Since then, Susan has paused her life to stand with Indigenous and allied forest defenders to protect the few remaining ancient grandmother and grandfather trees and slivers of unmolested forest. 


Both women have been arrested numerous times.  

  • Year
  • Runtime
    120 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    South Africa
  • Director
    René van Rooyen
  • Producer
    André Scholtz, Dries Scholtz
  • Cast
    Elani Dekker, Stiann Smith, Ira Blanckenberg, Clare Marshall, Ivan Abrahams, Gretschen Ramsden
  • Cinematographer
    Brendan Barnes
  • Editor
    Ronelle Loots, Dries Scholtz
  • Production Design
    Waldemar Coetsee
  • Sound Design
    The WorkRoom Audio Post
  • Music
    Andries Smit