South African drama “Ayanda and the Mechanic,” directed by Sara Blecher (“Otelo Burning”), has been announced as the opening night film of the 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which takes place from July 16 to 26 this year.
Set in the vibrant, Afropolitan community of Johannesburg’s Yeoville, “Ayanda and the Mechanic” is a coming-of-age story of a 21-year-old “Afro-hipster,” who embarks on a journey of self-discovery when she has to fight to save her late father’s legacy – a motor repair shop – when it is threatened with closure. She’s thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars once loved, now in need of a young woman’s re-inventive touch to bring them back to life again.
The film stars Fulu Mugovhani and Nigerian actor OC Ukeje, with a star South African cast that includes Ntathi Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Jafta Mamabola, Thomas Gumede, Sihle Xaba and veteran star of stage and screen Vanessa Cooke.
“We are pleased that this feel-good film will open this year’s festival,” says Pedro Pimenta, Director of the DIFF. “The opening film of this, the most prestigious international film event in SA, needs to reflect a clear priority established by the festival to reach and develop local audiences.”
“The recently published NFVF report on audiences in this country, is very informative and revealing in that while the industry has been successfully structured and supported from all quarters to allow a regular flow of SA content, much still needs to be done for this content to reach local audiences. By once again opening the DIFF with a strong SA film, we endorse this objective.”
This is the second opening night film at DIFF for director Sara Blecher. Her “Otelo Burning” (covered quite extensively on this blog) opened the 2011 edition of DIFF to critical acclaim.
“We are very proud of “Ayanda and the Mechanic” and are thrilled to have it selected as the opening film at this year’s festival. The film had a very successful screening in Cannes last month and we look forward to screening it to festival-goers in Durban,” says Blecher.
“Ayanda and the Mechanic” was a project that participated in the 2013 Durban FilmMart, the co-production and finance forum of the DIFF and the Durban Film Office, so it’s a film that’s been part of the DFM process over the years, culminating in its South African premiere at DIFF.
The 2015 festival is expected to include over 200 screenings and a full seminar and workshop program, as well as the Wavescapes Film Festival, and various industry initiatives, including the 8th Talents Durban (presented in cooperation with the Berlinale Talents) and the 6th Durban FilmMart co-production market (presented in partnership with the Durban Film Office).
For more information go to www.durbanfilmfest.co.za.
No trailer for “Ayanda” yet. But here’s a poster: