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TIFF 2013 – A Pair Of South African Thrillers Attract Sales, Distribution

TIFF 2013 - A Pair Of South African Thrillers Attract Sales, Distribution

The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off today, September 5. And while I’m not there myself, Zeba already is, and will be reviewing some of those 22 Diaspora films that made my list (HERE if you missed it). 

And even though it’s only day-one, deals are already being made, with 2 announced this morning that are definitely worth mentioning.

The first: iNumber Number, the violent action/drama from South African filmmaker Donovan Marsh (his third feature directorial effort), has been picked up by Fortissimo Films.

The company has acquired worldwide distribution rights (excluding North America and South Africa however) to the film, which stars Sdumo Mtshali, Presley Chweneyagae, Israel MakoeHlubi Mboya, and Owen Sejake.

Described as “the Reservoir Dogs of South Africa,” here’s a synopsis:

When Chili Ngcobo, an honest but ambitious undercover cop, is cheated out of a major reward by his corrupt superiors, he infiltrates a cash-in-transit heist gang, and instead of busting them, he decides to participate in a one off score. He must face off against his partner who refuses to let him do it and one of the gang members who recognizes him as a cop.

The film is set to make its World Premiere at the TIFF, which started today, and runs through the 15th. 

TIFF calls it action-packed and adroitly-written and directed by Marsh, with an oddball cast that provides some comic relief.

Let’s hope a North American distribution company picks it up. 

Second: Another South African film and filmmaker – Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s Of Good Report, certainly didn’t hurt after all the controversy following its banning at Durban in July. On the contrary, it seemed to actually help raise the film’s profile in the international film marketplace. And I’m sure the film’s strengths also were of some influence.

It’s been picked up by sales agent 6 Sales ahead of its international premiere at Toronto. 

The company will act as sales agent for the film, which first screens at TIFF tomorrow, September 6. 

By the way it’s film festival fortunes continue, as it has also been selected for the Official Competition of the London Film Festival, which runs next month. 

Following the refusal to classify the film, citing that it “promotes child abuse & pornography,” the South African Film and Publications Board reversed their decision and gave the film the US equivalent of an R-rating. 

Durban Festival manager Peter Machen awarded it for Artistic Bravery. 

Described as an homage to classic film noir, Of Good Report tells the story of a demented school teacher’s attempts to get away with the brutal murder of a teenage beauty queen. 

The filmmaker calls it a “serial killer origins story about how a social misfit turns into an inadequate man hell-bent on satisfying his shameful lust. It is Little Red Riding Hood, told from the wolf’s perspective.

TIFF, where it’ll screen next, says Of Good Report is “superbly filmed in black and white,” and that it “takes us well out of our comfort zones with the boldness of an artistic and political maverick. Audiences should be forewarned: the film’s depictions of Sithole’s crimes and their aftermath is heavy viewing that may disturb even seasoned cinema-goers, and is bound to jolt and to challenge usually complacent representations of South African — and universal — morality.

Mothusi Magano stars in the film, along with Petronella Tshuma

It’s produced by Mike Auret and Luzuko Dilima (Spier Films).

It’s out in theaters in South Africa; let’s hope it makes it to the USA soon.

Here’ the first full trailer for the film (promo poster underneath):

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