SA Oscar hopeful goes global

The French poster, on the Paris Metro, for the South African film, Inxeba (The Wound).

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BILLY SUTER reports that a South African film, Inxeba (The Wound), which premiered at America’s Sundance Film Festival,
is to be released on 41 screens in France – and is an Oscar hopeful.
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HAVING had a successful world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and its European premiere as the opening film on the Panorama programme at the 67th Berlinale in Germany, South African film Inxeba (The Wound), was released in cinemas in France this week.

A drama about the clash between tradition and modernity, Inxeba marks the first feature from writer-director John Trengove, co-written by Thando Mgqolozana and Malusi Bengu, explains Durban publicist Sharlene Versveld.

The film is to be released on 41 screens in France, including six in Paris, seven in Lyon, seven in Marseille and seven in Bordeaux.

It stars Nakhane Toure as Xolani, a lonely factory worker, who joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini), a defiant initiate from the city, discovers his secret, Xolani’s entire existence begins to unravel.

The film, a co-production between South Africa, France, Germany and The Netherlands, attracted media partnerships with French national newspapers Le Monde and Telerama, as well as the national radio station France Culture, says Roxane Arnold, head of distribution at Pyramide Films.

The French distribution company has invested R2,5 million (approximately €165 000) into the marketing of the film and hopes to attract 50 000 viewers to cinemas in France. It is being screened as Les Inities in France.

“The film belongs to a rare class of films – those which depict a local, unique situation with humility and respect while triggering a much-needed conversation in every one of the territories where it is released,” says Marie Dubas, one of the French producers from Deuxiéme Ligne Films.

“The eagerness of the French cinemas to screen it proves the depth of the moral and political issues at the heart of the film. These complexities are conveyed by smart and sensitive characters who are sure to move audiences profoundly.”

Versfeld says in a press release that Inxeba continues to travel around the world, having been officially selected for festivals in Belgium, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Greece. It was recently awarded the Narrative Jury Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida in the US.

Thus far, the film has been licensed to distributors in 19 countries, including the US, the UK, Germany, Brazil and Australia. It will be distributed in South African by Indigenous Film Distribution.

“As an African producer, I am proud to have worked on this collaborative local film, which has been very thoughtfully and carefully crafted over several years. Inxeba (The Wound) is deeply embedded within South African culture that resonates with an international audience,” says producer Batana Vundla.

“The film touches on universal human emotions around sexual identity and self-acceptance, and it looks at the interaction between tradition and sexuality. It’s bound to be seen as controversial by some.”

The release strategy for South Africa ensures that the film will qualify as a strong contender to represent the country in the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 2018 Academy Awards.

“We are excited to be working with Indigenous Film Distribution as we begin to implement the local rollout of Inxeba,” say producers Elias Ribeiro and Cait Pansegrouw of Urucu Media, an independent production company dedicated to nurturing authentic voices in South African film.

Le Monde’ journalist Thomas Sotinel stated: “South African first feature debut by John Trengove will leave profound marks embedded in your memory.”

On other film news…  the Durban FilmMart (DFM) runs from July 14 to 17, during the Durban International Film festival (July 13 to 23). Early-bird registration opened on April 18.

Delegates will have access to the four-day event which includes access to industry sessions, networking lunches, DFM networking events, entrance into the Durban International Film Festival screenings  (subject to ticket availability) and company listing in the DFM Industry Manual.

For more information or to register go to www.durbanfilmmart.com.


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