Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

South African films rise to prominence at Diff

The country produced three of the six films in contention for the AsiaAfrica award at the Dubai International Film Festival.

South Africa dominates the list of African films airing at this year's Dubai International Film Festival (Diff). Of the six African movies vying for the prestigious Muhr AsiaAfrica film award, three are from South Africa.

"The crop of African cinema this year has been particularly rich, and we are confident that this year's showcase will prove very popular with Dubai audiences," said Nashen Moodley, Diff's director for AsiaAfrica. "These African films stand alongside the best of international cinema and will ensure a very diverse and close competition."

The best known film competing in this year's competition is the adaptation of the novel Chandra's Secrets, called Life, Above All. The story of a young Aids orphan in Sub-Saharan Africa debuted at Cannes ,where it received a standing ovation and won the François Chalais prize.

The award is given every year to the film that best "captures the reality of the world". Previous winners have included the famous biopic of Ernesto Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries.

Mr Moodley was present at the debut in Cannes.

"It was amazing, the film received a 20-minute standing ovation after the screening," he said. "I think it's the type of film that works fantastically with viewers."

He attributes this to the film's universal message and the strength of the performance by the film's young actresses. "I think people will be very impressed by the mature performances by very young actresses."

As a South African, Mr Moodley is most excited about the chance to showcase work by the director of Life, Above All, Oliver Schmitz. "For me, as a film watcher, Oliver Schmitz is one of the greatest directors that South Africa has ever produced," said Mr Moodley. "One of the great tragedies is that his work was never appreciated in South Africa as it should have been. I think that this is the film that will not only give him the attention he deserves globally, but also at home."

Other films include the story of a small town in South Africa plagued by xenophobic violence against Zimbabwean migrant workers. A Small Town Called Descent takes a dark look at South African politics and society.

Rounding up the entries from South Africa is the crime thriller, State of Violence. Fana Mokoena, best known for his role as General Augustin Bizimungu in Hotel Rwanda, plays Bobedi, whose former life in the underworld comes back to haunt him when his wife, Joy, is murdered before his eyes.

From Ghana comes the movie, The Nine Muses, which follows the travails of immigrants to the UK from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

From Cameroon comes A Screaming Man and Koundi and the National Thursday. A Screaming Man, which won the jury prize at Cannes, depicts the troubled relationship between a father and son in war-torn Chad.

Rounding out the entries from Africa this year is the sci-fi drama from Kenya, Pumzi. The film, set in a post-apocalyptic Kenya, where humans live in underground cities, garnered critical acclaim at this year's Sundance Festival.

While Pumzi will not compete for a Muhr award, it will feature as part of Diff's African cinema showcase.

Awards are given in three categories: feature films, short films and documentaries. First prize for feature films is Dh183,625 with Dh146,900 for the other two categories.



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National