18 March 2016
Anant Singh, widely acknowledged as South Africa’s pre-eminent film producer behind popular favourites such as Sarafina!, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and the Leon Schuster films, received the first Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award from the RapidLion Film Festival on 15 March 2016.
The award recognises Singh’s contribution to the advancement of the South African and African film industries.
The RapidLion Festival, founded by actor and director Eric Myeni, is a new film showcase event held in Johannesburg. It highlights not only a collection of feature films, short films and documentaries made in Africa, but includes contributions from the country’s BRICS partners, Brazil, Russia, China and India. It runs at The Market Theatre until 19 March.
The festival’s local highlight is Kalushi, a film based on the life of Solomon Mahlangu, which will end the event.
The lifetime achievement award is named after legendary South African actor and filmmaker Lionel Ngakane. Ngakane was best known for his role in the original 1956 version of Cry, the Beloved Country and his independent short film Jemima & Johnny about the 1958 Notting Hill race riots in London.
Ngakane lived in exile for most of his life, starring in many international film and television productions. He returned to South Africa in 1994 to retire, and died in 2003, shortly after he was awarded the South African Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for outstanding achievement in the field of movie-making and contribution to the development of the film industry in South Africa and on the continent.
The first film version of Cry the Beloved Country was shot in 1951 with Dr. Lionel Ngakane. Below Ngakane and friends pic.twitter.com/7epQULQaFF
— RapidLion (@RapidLionFilm) June 1, 2015
“I am truly humbled by this recognition and I thank the RapidLion Film Festival for this wonderful acknowledgement,” Singh said on receiving the award. “I share this award with the hundreds of thousands of people who have come together over the years to work on the films that I have produced. It is also a special privilege for me to have received the award tonight at The Market Theatre, the place where Sarafina! was born, and in the year that The Market celebrates its 40th anniversary.”
Singh’s latest project is the death penalty drama set in South Africa, Shepherds and Butchers, starring British actor Steve Coogan.
Source: Screen Africa