Iconic SA Sailing Documentary to Star at Adventure Film Festival

Greg Bertish’s sailing documentary “Optimist” has been selected to debut at the Cape Town Adventure Film Festival.

Cape Town, South Africa (10 April 2024) – A Capetonian ocean and charity hero’s sailing documentary has been selected to be screened on the opening night of one of the nation’s top film festivals.

Optimist, a 51-minute minute movie about Greg Bertish’s medical journey and his epic adventure around the Cape of Storms in his Little Optimist dinghy, will be shown at the Cape Town Adventure Film Festival on 12 April.

The film, directed by Robert Whitehead, focuses on Bertish’s mission to raise money for a local children’s hospital by sailing 200kms around one of the most dangerous stretches of ocean, in a tiny children’s dinghy. He was inspired to do this after meeting a baby, when he himself was hospitalised for 200 days due to a killer tropical bacteria.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the challenge, Bertish said,

“It was a promise made to my father about a journey I would take. After almost losing my life, I met a baby in the hospital who reminded me of my childhood promise and how adults forget their childhood dreams. I wanted to inspire and help thousands more dream bigger, and this journey was a step in that direction.”

Bertish is the founder of The Little Optimist Trust, a Cape Town-based organisation focused on uplifting and supporting marginalised children, primarily through sailing therapy. Sailing therapy uses sailing to facilitate mental and physical healing and to promote general well-being and quality of life.

The Little Optimist Sailing Academy uses small dinghies, like the one featured in Optimist, and the teachings of The Little Optimist Children’s Books to teach young sailors new skills and help them develop a love for the ocean and sailing.

Bertish said he was delighted to have his film selected to be shown at the Cape Town Adventure Film Festival.

“After being shown at festivals around the world, I am honoured to have Optimist showing in my home city, where it all began.”

The film festival is one of the premier events on South Africa’s creative calendar and features a host of critically acclaimed local and international films.

The opening night of the 4th edition of the Cape Town Adventure Film Festival will also feature other films from acclaimed South African directors. These include Academy Award winner Pippa Ehrlich’s Older Than Trees and Dean Leslie’s Ode To Failure.

The Cape Town Adventure Film Festival will begin at 18:30 on Friday 12 April. Throughout the festival, various local and international adventure films will be showcased until the festival draws to a close on 20 April.

Tickets for the opening night of the festival and the rest of the festival are on sale now and can be purchased via Quicket.

Greg Bertish approaches Cape Point in his Little Optimist children’s dinghy, on his epic adventure that raised over R1.3-million to paint the biggest Children’s Hospital in the Southern Hemisphere. Picture: Jeremy Bagshaw