16 April 2014
South African feel-good movie Felix has added to its long list of accolades by winning three more awards at international film festivals in March and April.
The film won the youth jury prize for best film at the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth in Vancouver, Canada, the best film award at the Kikife International Children’s Film Festival in Schwabisch Gmund, Germany, and the adult jury prize for best picture at the Augsburg Children’s Film Festival in Germany.
This brings the number of awards the film has won to 13, both locally and internationally, since it started showing on the festival circuit in October last year.
Announcing their choice at an awards presentation on 10 April, the Canadian youth jury (aged between 9 and 12) explained why they’d voted for the film.
One young juror said: “I liked Felix because it showed happy people working together to achieve a good end-goal. With great music and numerous comedy touches, Felix was my favourite film.”
They also reacted positively to the way that Felix portrayed South Africa. “I liked Felix because it was really engaging, it made you share his hopes along the way,” said another juror. “I also liked getting a window into current South African culture and the way Felix never gave up.”
Director Roberta Durrant and Hlayani Mabasa, who plays Felix in the movie, travelled to Germany to attend the Augsburg Children’s Film Festival, which ran from 31 March to 13 April. They were awarded “Die Goldene Klappe Award” for best picture by an adult jury, and were guests of honour at the launch of the festival, which opened with a screening of Felix.
Written by Shirley Johnston, Felix tells the story of 14-year-old Felix Xaba, who dreams of becoming a saxophonist like his late father, against his mother Lindiwe’s wishes. When Felix takes up a scholarship at a private school, he defies his mother and turns to two ageing members of his father’s former band (Royston Stoffels and Thapelo Mofokeng) to help him prepare for the school jazz concert.
The 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 Mabasa, who was chosen from over 400 hopefuls across the country.
The film is currently in competition at the Toronto International Film Festival for Kids, which runs from 8 to 21 April.
SAinfo reporter and National Film and Video Foundation