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Cathy Henkel


Cathy Henkel and Jeff Canin


IF Award for Best Documentary 2004 ; Tribeca Film Festival Best Feature Documentary 2004. Audience Choice Award at the London Australia Film Festival. 


AFI AWard; Film Critics Circle of Australia Award; Finalist at the Cape Town World Cinema Festival.


Hot Docs (Toronto) Tribeca Film Festival (New York), One World Film Festival (Prague), Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane International Film Festivals and over 30 more.



Hope Road is a quiet jacaranda-lined street in a white middle-class suburb in Johannesburg, South Africa. Two days before Christmas in 1988, a 59-year-old woman is sexually assaulted and savagely beaten in her home by a young white teenager. Fourteen years on, the woman has still not recovered from this assault. The police bungled the investigation, the neighbours disputed her version of events and her son blamed her for letting the perpetrator into her house. The teenager, identified from a school photograph, was never charged and remains a free man. The woman’s daughter is film-maker Cathy Henkel, and the film is her search for some form of justice and whatever it takes to help her mother heal and move on from this trauma. The journey takes her back to Johannesburg, city of her birth, to confront the past and the present climate of violence. The police re-open the case, but they run into numerous obstacles and the film-maker has to take matters into her own hands. What she discovers and the answers she brings back for her mother form the climax of this compelling, and ultimately uplifting, film.

What begins as a search for justice becomes a revelation about the process of healing.