Cannes ovation for South African film

19 May 2010

Life, Above All, directed by South African born Oliver Schmitz and shot on location in South Africa, received a 10-minute standing ovation at its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday.

Shot on location in a small South African town of Elandsdoorn, the film is based on the international award-winning novel Chanda’s Secret by Canadian Allan Stratton.

It tells the story of 12-year-old Chanda, whose mother is forced to flee her village because of rumours that she is HIV-positive. Chanda fights the fear and prejudice that has poisoned her community, leaving home and school in search of her mother and the truth.

Praised for their outstanding performances were 13-year-old Khomotso Manyaka as Chanda, Lerato Mvelase as her mother, and Harriet Manamela as Mrs Tafa.

Present along with director Oliver Schmitz at the screening were Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana, National Film and Video Foundation CEO Eddie Mbalo, and producer Oliver Stoltz.

Stoltz said he believed that films should first and foremost convey stories that evoked emotions that people could relate to. “If they change people’s consciousness in a positive way, then that’s a great accomplishment.

“Obviously, Life Above All sends a strong message, but first and foremost it’s Chanda’s story.”

SAinfo reporter

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