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Queer South African filmmaker, Victoria Wigzell, sets out to make a documentary on the value of a trophy as cold, hard currency in winning and losing. She tracks the lifecycle of a trophy through the sites of its expression around the city of Johannesburg; from production line and the hands that carefully assembled it; to a Church in Christ gospel choir competition; to an innercity Jozi Vogue Nights Ballroom; into the arms of the winners and their mantlepieces and, equally, into bargain bins of thrift stores – in their afterlife. The filming and post-edit of ‘World of Trophies’ fall on either side of a global pandemic and a series of harsh lockdowns. In the post-edit period, Wigzell, finding herself alone with the protagonists of her film, begins to contemplate her own body, as a queer person, in the spaces where a trophy marks the loser in its absence. As the camera pans row upon row of shiny, plastic figurines of men and women engaged in sporting activities, eagles with their wings at full span, shooting stars and other archaic and familiar signifiers of victory, Wigzell visually interrogates the trophy as an object-gate-keeper, historically denied to those bodies it does not signify. ‘World of Trophies’ is a story about finding a critical value in something ‘with so little weight’, told by those who have historically been denied but who have, nonetheless, claimed their victories.

Director: Victoria Wigzell
Camera: Simon Gush, Zen Marie, Victoria Wigzell, Amelia Le Roux
Sound recordist: Victoria Wigzell, Jarret Erasmus
Sound Design: Andrei van Wyk (Healer Oran)
Editing: Victoria Wigzell & Simon Gush
Script: Victoria Wigzell
Script editing: Eliot Moleba

Created with the support of a documentary script development grant from the National Video
and Film Foundation.