Locally produced film, Life Above All, won 6 Awards at the South African Film And Television Awards (SAFTA’s), received a 10 minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, was shortlisted by the Academy Awards committee in the Best Foreign Feature Film category (but didn’t make the final list) and received praise at the Toronto Film Festival, London Film Festival and Dubai Film Festival.
So we were a bit anxious when we scored an invite to the official SA premier at Montecasino. We were anxious to see what the rest of the world was raving about. And we weren’t disappointed! Director Oliver Schmitz and his cast that includes Lerato Mvelase, Harriet Manamela, Aubrey Poolo and newcomers Khomotso Manyaka and Keaobaka Makanyane, produced an amazing movie!
In the movie, the issue of HIV/AIDS is told through the life and struggles of a young rural girl whose parents suffer with the disease and the stigma that people attach to it. But it’s multi-layered and also deals with universal issues that women face such as abuse, unemployment and raising children in poverty.
I know it sounds somber, and I suppose it is but it’s also bold and inspiring. It showcases our country’s cinematic brilliance and young, new talent. The movies lead actress, 13 year-old Khomotso Manyaka won Best Lead Actress in A Feature Film at the SAFTA’s and this was her first ever acting role. And supporting actress, Keaobaka Makanyane (13), who is also a newbie played her role convincingly, her performance was years beyond her age. We look forward to seeing what these local starlets will do next.
The movie will be released nationally on Friday 11 March.