US award for SA animated film

A scene from the award-winning South African, animated documentary, Liyana.


AN ANIMATED film from South Africa, scheduled for next month’s 38th Durban International Film Festival, has won the best documentary award at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival.

The film, Liyana, directed by Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp, tells an Africa tale borne from the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland, who collaborate to tell a story of perseverance, drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams.

The movie will be the competing in the Fiction Feature category at this year’s Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which runs at various venues from July 13 to 23.

“The news of Liyana winning this international award ahead of this year’s DIFF, which will focus on women-led films in the African context, is further confirmation that we, indeed, are on the right track in terms of affording women film-makers the opportunity to own the narratives of our stories on the DIFF stage,” said DIFF manager Chipo Zhou.

The poster for Liyana.

Leading the production crew is Thandie Newtown, who has received many awards for her work as an actress and producer on a number of Hollywood films, including The Pursuit of Happyness and Mission Impossible.

The cast of the animated film includes Durban storyteller and poet, Gcina Mhlophe, who was also the film’s story advisor.

Liyana will first be screened as part of the Durban festival at the Playhouse, at noon on July 15. It is also scheduled for  creenings at Gateway in Umhlanga (6pm on July 20) and at Musgrave Centre (4.30pm on July 23).

The Durban International Film Festivalis one of the biggest festivals of its kind and the longest running film festival in Africa.

Over the years, DIFF has been successful in bringing together different film-makers and industry experts from around the globe, recognising talented film-makers whose work may not have made it onto the mainstream, creating platforms for learning and a breeding ground for growth within the industry.

The 38th Durban International Film Festival is organized by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with support from eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, and a range of other valued partners.

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