The much-awaited Mandela International Film Festival was officially launched on the 3rd of December 2014, at the Athenaeum Art Gallery in Port Elizabeth. The launch of the Mandela International Film Festival marks a 365-day countdown to the inaugural Festival which will take place from December 3 to 12, 2015 in the Nelson Mandela Bay, in the Eastern Cape.
As Patron of the festival, His Royal Highness iNkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela who endorses the Festival was present at the launch.
“The Mandela Film Festival inaugural year will honor the film, entertainment and media legends that made a continuous effort to keep South Africa top of mind during the apartheid era as South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom and independence. This film festival will also enable Africans to tell their stories in film and enjoy a platform to engage the film industry in using the latest technology applications that are key to the industry” he said.
Aiming to become one of the world’s most important film festivals, the Mandela International Film Festival has chosen “Hope and Reconciliation” as the theme for the inaugural event. The festival emphasizes the need to work with filmmakers who are demonstrating bravery in the manner the make their films, as such bravery is in line with the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his comrades.
Dedicated to improving both the craft and business of film, the Festival is not limited to local efforts but has adopted a totally inclusive stance, developing and welcoming contributions from the grassroots level to international players. An extensive development plan has been developed and under implementation to ensure there will be meaningful participation of local filmmakers. This development is delivered through the South African Digital Content Organisation (SADICO), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the development of a digital content industry in South Africa.
“Our icon, Nelson Mandela, was inclusive in everything he did and treated everyone with respect,” Zwelivelile said. “The festival which bears his name carries the same ethos and will play a major role in infusing our nation with those elements and characteristics which make South Africa unique. In line with this philosophy, the Festival reaches out to all film makers and will assist developing candidates with workshops in the months leading up to the festival, ensuring that there is a platform for all contributors. Although the aim is to have meaningful South African and African participation, the festival also encourages co-productions and international film makers from around the world.”
“In addition, the festival will also showcase Pan African talent within creative industries such as music, craft & arts, exhibitions and sports. The unique combination of these elements make the Mandela international Film Festival an event like no other.” Said Linda Khumalo, Festival Director of the Mandela International Film Festival and Chairman of SADICO
Internationally acclaimed actress and film producer, Ms Terry Pheto, has been named brand Ambassador of the Mandela International Film Festival. The event has, amongst others, the Eastern Cape Provincial and Local governments, the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, the South African Airways and Thebe Investment Corporation as Festival partners and local celebrities who have joined the initiative as *Friends of the Festival.”
In preparation for the Festival, the organizers participated in a number of other highly recognized international events, including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival and American Black Film Festival in New York and the Cannes International Film Festival in France.