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Carfo ( acronym for the Christelike Afrikaanse Rolprent en Fotografiese Organisasie, i.e. the "Christian Afrikaans Film and Photographic Organisation"), was a film production and distribution company active in the 1950s and 1970s.

The acronym also foudn as CARFO.

Origins and history

In 1939 a group of Afrikaners organised themselves in what was known as the Volksrolprentbond (approx. "people's film league") with the aim of combatting the English and Hollywood dominance in film production. This later disbanded and then reappeared in 1940 as the Reddingsdaadbond-Amateurrolprentorganisasie (approx. "Reddingsdaadbond Amateur Film Organisation") or Raro, with the support of the Reddingsdaadbond.

Eventually, however, it was a group of Afrikaans clergymen from the Dutch Reformed Church, and a few former members of the defunct Raro, who founded the Christelike Afrikaanse Rolprent en Fotografiese Organisasie (Carfo) in 1947, registering Carfo as a non-profit company in September of that year, with the Reverend Rudolf Raath as managing director.

Contribution to South African theatre, film, media and performance

Over the period of its existence Carfo made approximately 40 films in all, fourteen feature films, many filmed versions of literary works, and a number of shorter educational and documentary films. Like the films made by Raro, their work was founded on Christian principles and displayed what Wheeler (1988)[1] typifies as "a Christian local realist tendency" in its themes, form and style.

They began with semi-documentary films of varying quality, then in 1959 began rpoducing full length fictional films and the quality began to improve. Besides urban screenings, the CARFO films were taken to the isolated towns of the platteland (rural areas), where they were shown in church halls and became extremely popular.

The list of films made and shown includes:

Ek sal opstaan (1959) (Carfo's first full-length film.)

Kyk na die sterre (1960)

Die hele dorp weet (1961)

Gee my jou hand (1963)

Die reën kom weer (1963)

Die voortreflike familie Smit (1965, generally considered the best film made by Carfo).

Bennie-Boet (1967)

Twee broers ry saam ()

Hulda Versteegh, M.D. (1970)

K9 Baaspatrolliehond ()

Afspraak in die Kalahari ()

Vrou uit die nag (1973)

Ridder van die grootpad ()

Terug na Thaba ()

Irma () was the last film Carfo made.


Philippus Ferdinand Wheeler. 1988. Lokale realisme in speelprente van Raro en Carfo: 'n inhoudsontleding. Unpublished MA thesis, University of the Orange Free State[2]

Christa Steyn. 2015. Die argivering van die Afrikaanse film (1916 – 2014). Unpublished MA thesis, University of the Free State[3]

Leon van Nierop. 2022. Ligte, kamera ...preek!. Rapport Weekliks. 9 October, 2022: pp. 8-9

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