South African films making global impact

2 October 2015

Following the critical success earlier this year of The Endless River, the feature film from Cape Town director Oliver Hermanus, at festivals in Venice and Toronto, two new South African movies are making their marks on international film festivals in the US and Europe.

For Love And Broken Bones, directed by Tebogo Malope, and Ayanda, by Sara Blecher, are small, independent films that tell local stories in interesting and unusual ways. They both have a strong South African identity that is winning fans around the world.

At home, this is a boost for the local film industry. Such recognition helps to grow the professional reputation of the film and television industry, which does much to create new job opportunities for South African talent, both in front of and behind the cameras. Outside the country, it also positions South Africa as a growing cultural brand in a global context, as per the Chapter 7 outcome of the National Development Programme.

For Love and Broken Bones

For Love and Broken Bones won the Portland Film Festival’s flagship Best Film award, and beat 220 entrants for the US independent festival’s Jury Narrative Feature award. The festival ran from 1 to 7 September in the American city, and the awards were announced on the last night.

The film has now been selected to be screened at the esteemed New York City Independent Film Festival, which starts on 12 October.

Produced for the Mzansi Magic television channel by The Bomb Shelter, For Love and Broken Bones is directed by Tebogo Malope, based on his screenplay with talented storyteller Libby Dougherty. It is the latest success for The Bomb Shelter, the company responsible for the highly acclaimed, ground-breaking Yizo Yizo television series.

This is Malope’s first feature film, following the success of his documentary The Pavement Bookworm. He is considered one of South Africa’s rising creative talents, with a storytelling flair that may help to change the landscape of local filmmaking.

Malope on his filmmaking process

The film tells the story of a lonely and ruthless debt collector who falls in love with a feisty and passionate wedding planner, who also happens to be his latest assignment. It features stand-out performances from leads Lerato Mvelase and Mduduzi Mabaso.

“We are so delighted that (the film) has been recognised with such a prestigious award,” producer Desiree Markgraaff said this week. “All credit to (director) Tebogo who really poured his heart and soul into this project to deliver a stunning debut. (with great support from) cinematographer Zeno Petersen and art director Dylan Lloyd, a very passionate filmmaking trio.”

Film critic Chris Lambert from Film Colossus.com calls For Love and Broken Bones “an immersive and hypnotic experience. This is why it has the potential to be a seminal film in what could be a golden age of South African filmmaking.”

Ayanda

Ayanda is the highly anticipated new film by award-winning director Sara Blecher, who is currently riding high from the critically acclaimed Afrikaans-language feature Dis Ek, Anna. It was co-produced by actress and producer Terry Pheto, the star of the 2005 Oscar-winning Tsotsi.

International film festivals have been snapping up the local movie, which tells the poignant story of a determined South African millennial attempting the heady transition to adulthood on her own terms.

In June, the film won the Special Jury Prize at the prestigious Los Angeles Film Festival, following its debut screening at the World Fiction Competition, where it received rave reviews.

Ayanda opened the 36th Durban International Film Festival, the most prestigious international film event in South Africa, in July.

The film is currently being shown at the Vancouver International Film Festival, joining 375 films from 70 countries seeking expansive international distribution for small, independent movies made outside the usual Hollywood and European industries.

In October, it will be screened at two British film festivals. At the BFI London Film Festival, Britain’s leading film event, Ayanda will join a select group of films from 57 countries for competition.

It will also be screened at the Cambridge African Film Festival at the end of October, joining the best of contemporary African films, before returning for wide release in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

Blecher calls her film “an African Juno“.

“The international attention from audiences around the world demonstrates that Ayanda is a high-quality title,” says Helen Kuun, the chief executive of the film’s distributor, Indigenous Film Distribution.

“Local media have responded extremely enthusiastically to the film, and we are looking forward to seeing how local movie fans react. In terms of plot, character, and production values, Ayanda represents an exciting new direction in local filmmaking.”

Source: News24Wire