Grey Matter Media is a documentary production company founded in 2003. It focusses mostly on human rights based, cutting edge, feature length documentaries for festivals for television that push political and aesthetic boundaries.

Typically, our films have been shot over many years providing very intimate portraits of people who have endured injustice and trauma. We strive to reach new audiences through partnerships and strategic outreach campaigns.

We are also committed to training which is done through a combination of working with film schools but mostly on production.


Mark J Kaplan was held in solitary confinement and deported from Apartheid South Africa. He has devoted his filmmaking career to human rights and is an Emmy Award winner. (The Lion’s Trail).

He is also the recipient of numerous International Awards including Best International Documentary at One World, 1999 (Where Truth Lies) and Award of Excellence, 2006, The Society for Visual Anthropology, USA, (Between Joyce and Remembrance). The Village Under The Forest received the Audience Award for Best South African documentary at The Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, 2013.

Mark Kaplan


“The Return”

“The Return”, is a documentary film that explores the afterlives of Nazism, anti-semitism and the Holocaust, revealing connections to the rise of white supremacist politics and the return of fascism today. The film moves between South Africa and Germany and from there to the special relationship that Germany has to the State of Israel.

Between Joyce and Remembrance

Through the intimate unfolding of personal narratives, the film raises far reaching questions about the nature of truth, forgiveness and reconciliation.  It illustrates the ripple effect of an injustice perpetrated three decades ago to show how fragile the ‘miracle’ of South Africa’s transition actually is.

” A triumph of documentary filmmaking…”

Robert Greig The Sunday Independent, October 19, 2003

Award of Excellence, American Anthropological Society, 2006

The Highgate Hotel Massacre (2009)

A 30 minute documentary on a group of survivor’s of an attack designed to derail the 1994 elections. For 13 years they thought their attackers were black, now they know that it was a Third Force, white soldiers who they may well have grown up with. Exactly who the perpetrators were and who issued the orders remains elusive.

Selected for
Tri-Continental Film Festival, 2009

Mark Kaplan talks about his documentary The Village Under The Forest about a former Palestinian village covered by a forest paid for by South African Jews. The interview covers: how the former Palestinian village became part of a forest created by the Jewish National Fund; how a group of South Africans found out what the money raised from South African Jews was being used for, which led to the documentary being made; the history of the village; talking to both sides about the history of the village; where the movie will be shown; the idea of Memoricide; and the work of Zochrot. Village Under The Forest Links Khulumani.net audience responses to “The Village under the Forest”

Netwerk24 review of “The Village under the Forest”

http://www.chrflagship.uwc.ac.za/events/films-e/the-village-under-the-forest/ Published on 10 May 2013

The Village Under The Forest

Winner of the Audience Award for Best South African Film at Encounters Documentary Festival 2013.

Unfolding as a personal meditation from the Jewish Diaspora, The Village Under The Forest explores the hidden remains of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya, which lies under a purposefully cultivated forest plantation called South Africa Forest.

Using the forest and the village ruins as metaphors, the documentary explores themes related to the erasure and persistence of memory and dares to imagine a future in which dignity, acknowledgement and co-habitation become shared possibilities in Israel/Palestine.

The Village Under The Forest is co-directed by Emmy-winner Mark Kaplan and scholar and poet Heidi Grunebaum.

The Village Under The Forest funded by


A story of Forgiveness and Restitution following a series of bomb blasts set of by extreme Right Wingers in the South African town of Worcester on Christmas Eve 1997. Four people were killed and sixty seven wounded. All but one of the victims has now forgiven the youngest of the bombers, Stefaans Coetzee,  who was seventeen when the bombs went off. He has just been provisionally parolled and hopes to make good in the town of Worcester which is still today the site of massive social ills.

Black Christmas funded by

JEJU ISLAND – One of the Seven Wonders of Nature, also known as The Island of Stone, as Peace Island and also as Woman’s Island – is an island of beauty and wonder, with more UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites than any single geographic location on planet earth.

But, there is trouble in this paradise. It is being transformed – militarized. Its fragile ecology is currently being devastated by the construction of a naval base that is a globally dangerous provocation that imperils the island’s future.

The “spirit” guide of the film, the main “driver” of the film, is Dohee Lee, a native of Jeju, who grew up on naval bases and is now living in America. Dohee Lee, an extraordinary performance artist and her work centres on jeju and its life forces. For her this is also a personal story, a plumbing of her memories as well as an expression of her political and spiritual beliefs.


Village vs. Empire funded by



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