One Table Two Elephants_Poster

Festival / Official Selection 2018 / One Table Two Elephants


One Table Two Elephants

DIRECTOR : Jacob von Heland, Henrik Ernstson
COUNTRY : South Africa
YEAR : 2018
TIME : 84min

Nu Metro 5, 19 Oct @ 10am  | SK Nouveau 5, 12 Oct @ 8pm


This is a film about bushmen boys, a flower kingdom and the ghost of a princess. Entering the city through its plants and wetlands, the many-layered, painful and liberating history of the city emerges as we see how biologists, hip hoppers, and wetland activists each searches for ways to craft symbols of unity and cohesion. But this is a fraught and difficult task. Perhaps not even desirable. Plants, aliens, memories and ghosts keep troubling efforts of weaving stories about this place called Cape Town. This film follows different ways of knowing and tries to be a vehicle toward difficult yet urgently needed conversations about how race, nature and the city are intertwined in our postcolonial world. Based on the explorative idea to treat film-as-research/research-as-film, the film makers use cinematic and audio-visual registers to texture our understanding of Cape Town—from intimate relations to structural issues—to move us beyond simplistic understandings while providing possibilities to translate what is happening “there” to wider conversations about race, nature, and the city in other places of the world.

One Table Two Elephants_Henric Ernstson
One Table Two Elephants_Jacob von Heland


Jacob von Heland and Henrik Ernstson are researchers and filmmakers who are born in Sweden but have worked scholarly and professionally in southern and eastern Africa for more than 15 years. They share a mutual research focus on urban political ecology, knowledge politics, visual science-and-technology studies (STS) and the use of artistic practices, with a particular interest in environmental politics of cities of the global South. Heland is a filmmaker and researcher at the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory in Stockholm where he leads the arts-science project “Towards a Visual Environmental Humanities in the Digital Era: Filming and Writing as a Bimodal Research Practice”. Ernstson, with a past as theatre producer and with long-term collaborations in Cape Town and South Africa, has held various research positions, including at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, Stanford University, and currently at The University of Manchester, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, and recently appointed UCT Honorary Research Associate. Since 2014, Ernstson and Heland has collaborated with co-workers to expand “The Situated Ecologies Platform,” which develops art-science practices to richly and eloquently speak into environmental and political questions.