Ayanda, the new film by award-winning director Sara Blecher, co-produced by actress and producer Terry Pheto of Tsotsi fame, is quickly building a global audience. Film festival organisers have been snapping up the local movie that tells the story of a young Afro-hipster making the transition to adulthood.
The resolute 21-year-old, Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani), who has a talent for taking neglected pieces of furniture and “bringing them back to love”, takes on the task of saving her father’s failing auto garage, eight years after his death.
She does everything in her power to hold onto his legacy, while confronting the ups and downs of her own life.
The film also stars Nigerian actor OC Ukeje, and South Africans Ntathi Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Jafta Mamabola, Thomas Gumede, Sihle Xaba and Vanessa Cooke.
“The international attention from audiences around the world demonstrates that Ayanda is a high-quality title,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution. “Local media too have responded extremely enthusiastically to the film, and we are looking forward to seeing how local movie fans react.
“In terms of plot, character, and production values, Ayanda represents an exciting new direction in local filmmaking.”
In June, Ayanda won the Special Jury Prize at the prestigious Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF), following its screening in the World Fiction Competition, and also debuted there to rave reviews.
Subsequent to that, Ayanda was the opening night film of the 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), the most prestigious international film event in SA, which was held in July this year.
That was followed by a screening at the 34th annual Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) which is on now, until October 9. The VIFF is host to some of the world’s finest films and this year presented 375 films from 70 countries, and hosted many international guests.
From October 7 to 18, the film will screen at the 59th BFI London Film Festival, Britain’s leading film event and one of the world’s oldest film festivals, which featured a select group of films from 57 countries. It introduces the finest new British and international films to an expanding London and UK-wide audience.
It will also be screened at the 14th annual Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) from October 16 to 24. CAFF, the longest running African film festival in the United Kingdom, screens the best of contemporary African films, and has built a reputation as a high-profile and important cinematic, entertaining and educational event in Cambridge.
Ayanda was produced by Real Eyes Films and Terry Pheto’s Leading Lady Productions, with the support of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Africa Magic, the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Gauteng Film Commission.
It opens nationwide in local cinemas on October 2.