While You Weren't Looking is an original story, set in Cape Town. The protagonists are gay and lesbian, from all walks of life, whose intertwining tales present a humourous, inventive and dramatic take on contemporary life in South Africa. It is through the eyes and experiences of a cross-section of queers - black, white and coloured, cruisy singles, married couples with children, city and township dwellers, apartheid survivors and born frees, professionals and skollies - that we see the South African contemporary landscape unfold.

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Critic Reviews (3)

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Critic Score Distribution
Highest score:
Lowest score:
Average score:
  1. Positive: 1 Out of 3
  1. Mixed: 1 Out of 3
  1. Negative: 1 Out of 3
Critical Consensus: Average. Mixed reactions.
13 Mar 2017
The 2015 film, While You Weren’t Looking, is a drama set in modern day South Africa which follows the lives of Terri and Dez, a wealthy, middle aged, mixed-race lesbian couple and their adopted daughter Asanda. At the beginning of the film, Terri a ...

Perdeby Newspaper

13 Mar 2017
The thesis of Catherine Stewart’s new film While You Weren’t Looking, which opened on 2 October, is made explicit by the lovelorn, gay lecturer Mack (Lionel Stewart) who tells his students, “If you can ‘queer’ gender, you can ‘queer’ an ...

Smells like Screen Spi

13 Mar 2017
Catherine Stewart’s While You Weren’t Looking tells the story of two star-crossed lovers from different sides of the proverbial tracks in Cape Town. Asanda (Petronella Tshuma) is the daughter of an affluent mixed-race lesbian couple, Dez (Sandi S ...

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Release Date(s):

May 2, 2015 (Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, USA)
June 20, 2015 (Frameline Film Festival, USA)
July 20, 2015 (Durban International Film Festival, South Africa)
September 25 2015 (Cinema Queer International Film Festival, Sweden)
October 28, 2015 (South Africa)
April 30, 2016 (Kansai Queer Film Festival, Japan)
November 2016 (Da Bounce Urban Film Festival, Netherlands)

Executive Producer:

Sharon Jackson, Nodi Murphy


Amelia Henning


Vanessa Herman, Amy Jephta, Matthew Krouse, Nodi Murphy


Ronelle Loots

Production Designer:

Warren Gray


Derek Mansvelt, Kerry Lindeque-Joshua


Simon Attwell

Production Company:

Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Phat Free Films, Puo Pha Productions


English, Xhosa, Afrikaans


104 minutes


ZAR 8,000,000 (estimated)

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