An Act of Defiance


Centerpiece Film

Date: Monday, April 23, 2018
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: The Gershman Y

Director: Jean van de Velde
Genre: Narrative Feature
Country: South Africa | Netherlands
Year: 2017
Running Time: 2 hr 3 min
Language: In English and Afrikaans with English subtitles

Sponsored by: Glenmede, and Ruth Perlmutter in memory of Archie Perlmutter and Edward W. Silver

General Admission: $15
Seniors: $13
Students: FREE! (*Student ID must be presented at the box office)

Buy Tickets Here

Based on real events, this award-winning historical thriller follows the fate of Nelson Mandela and his inner circle of Black and Jewish anti-Apartheid fighters after their arrests during a raid in Rivonia, South Africa, in the summer of 1963.

Bram Fischer (Peter Paul Muller), a tenacious Afrikaner lawyer, risks his career, family, and freedom to represent ten Rivonia trial defendants against charges of conspiracy to commit sabotage and treason against the South African government. As he fights to expose the corruption integral to the country’s system of Apartheid, he goes to great lengths to keep his ties to the resistance hidden. While the prosecution gains momentum, Bram’s defense embraces a new strategy that focuses to prove that the African National Congress’ resistance is justified in their actions. With Mandela preparing to die for his beliefs, it is clear that no matter what the verdict reads, there will be no turning back.

This exciting courtroom drama skillfully combines nail-biting political intrigue with thoughtful insight into the personal struggles of those most central to South Africa’s groundbreaking battle against racism and white supremacy. Expertly crafted, AN ACT OF DEFIANCE is a soulful account of a crucial moment in the history of South Africa.

Special Guests:

  • Dr. Sara Byala | Senior Lecturer in Critical Writing and History, University of Pennsylvania
  • Godfrey Sithole | Chairperson, Philadelphia Chapter of the African National Congress (ANC) and Co-Founder of the Coalition for a Free South Africa and Namibia (CAFSAN)


For Fans of:

  • Apartheid history
  • Courtroom dramas
  • Human rights
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Social justice
  • South African history

Official Selection:

  • Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
  • Miami Jewish Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Nederlands Film Festival
  • New York Jewish Film Festival
  • Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival
  • Seattle Jewish Film Festival
  • UK Jewish Film Festival


  • Audience Award for World Cinema Independent | Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Best Actor and Best Screenplay of a Feature Film | Nederlands Film Festival

Community Partners:

Arcadia University Media and Communication Department

Arcadia University Modern Languages and Cultures Program

Drexel University Co-Op Theatre Company

Fegelson – Young – Feinberg Post 697 Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.

Philadelphia Theatre Company


Temple University Jewish Studies Program

UArts Student Affairs

UArts Film & Video