I’ll return with individual highlights of those we haven’t already covered, but let me remind you of this intriguing coming of age story titled Otelo Burning, which opened last year’s Durban Film Festival, when we first profiled it.
Filmed on location in Durban, written by Sara Blecher, James Whyle and The Cast Workshop, and directed by Blecher (Surfing Soweto), Otelo Burning centers on a group of township surfer kids, set in late 1980s, against the backdrop of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.
It stars some familiar South African actors attached to previous films we’ve covered, like Kenneth Nkosi (Paradise Stop and White Wedding – South Africa’s entry in the 2009 Oscars in the foreign film category.
Sihle Xaba, Thomas Gumede, and Jafta Mamabolo (as Otelo) star.
Since its Durban Film Fest debut, the film has traveled the international film festival circuit, racking up acclaim and fans along the way, leading up to its commercial debut in South Africa this past weekend.
No word yet on whether it’ll play commercially outside of South Africa; but maybe the below news is a good start.
The South African National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) in association with the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) will lead a South African delegation to the 65th Cannes Film Festival (which officially begins tomorrow).
Per the press release… This year’s delegation is the highest compared to the previous years, with 130 filmmakers already confirmed as registered with the festival. The goal here is to demonstrate that South African cinema can compete on the international stage, and demonstrate that stories by South African filmmakers can resonate in the international market place.
Worth noting, while in Cannes the country, lead by the Ministry of the DAC, will sign a co-production treaty with Ireland. The treaty will enable productions from both territories to qualify for the different incentives associated with home-grown content and enable collaborations between producers.
South Africa already has co-production treaties with other countries including Canada, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Austrialia and New Zealand.
Films we’ve covered on S&A like Skin, (SA/UK), and The Bang Bang Club (SA/Canada), were produced under these treaties.
This year’s showcase of South African films will include 20 projects – 12 feature films and 8 documentaries, including the aforementioned Otelo Burning, as well as Semi-Soet, Blitz Patrollie, 31 Million Reasons, Five Finger for Marseillas, One Last Look, The Umbrella Man, Tok Tokkie, RollaBall, Sobukwe, Wandering Fever and I am Craig.
Like I said, I’ll return with individual profiles.
For now, watch the trailer for Otelo Burning (its full poster underneath):