South Africa’s

2 October 2013

Competing against more than 400 other global entries, South African movie Felix won the Best Children’s Film award at the Lucas International Children’s Film Festival in Germany on the weekend. The panel of judges included four children.

The producers, in a South African first with an all-female team, were awarded with R101 816 in prize money.

The team includes Safta Lifetime Achievement winner Roberta Durrant directing; Natalie Haarhoff as the director of photography; Shirley Johnston as the screenwriter; Kate Schalk as the line producer; Surisa Surisa as the art director; Ayesha Khatieb as the wardrobe stylist; Islyn Goliath as the hair and makeup artist; and Maryke Kruger as the editor.

Rave reviews

Reviewers and film fundis alike have been gushing about Felix.

The Vancouver International Film Festival described the film as “an inspiring coming-of-age tale about finding the courage to fulfil your ambitions and the strength to let the past go”.

The Lucas International Children’s Film Festival gives a nod to the film’s South African roots, saying, “This is a film that reflects the South African ‘love for life’.”

Closer to home, local tabloid newspaper The Daily Sun calls the movie a “gentle, life-affirming tale”, while the Mail & Guardian’s Matthew Krouse says it’s “Perfect for a kiddies’ birthday party … or as a special treat for gran.”

Heartwarming story

Set in picturesque Cape Town, Felix follows the fortunes of 14-year-old Felix Xaba who hankers after being a saxophonist, just like his father. His mother, Lindiwe, however believes jazz is the devil’s music and wants her son to concentrate on his studies at the elite private school he’s won a scholarship to.

Felix rebels, looking up his dad’s old jazz buddies to mentor him to play in the school’s jazz concert.

Culturally inspired soundtrack

The movie’s score takes its cue from Cape Town’s rich jazz heritage, with musical director Murray Anderson, who’s worked with the likes of jazz great Abdullah Ibrahim, teaming with former Standard Bank Young Artists of The Year Mark Fransman and Bokani Dyer, as well as triple 2012 South African Music Awards nominee Lwanda Gogwana.

The film’s cast includes Johannesburg-born Oscar-nominee Dame Janet Suzman in her first South African film; South African Film and Television Award (Safta) Best Actress winner Linda Sokhulu (Isidingo) in her feature debut; and newcomer Hlayani Junior Mabasa, who was cast as Felix from over 400 auditions across the country.

Felix is currently showing at 40 cinemas countrywide and will be screened at both the BFI London Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival.

SAinfo reporter