South African film ‘Otelo Burning’, which tells the story of three young Lamontville boys who escape their township lives by discovering the joys of surfing, topped the list of nominations for the 2012 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) announced in Banjul, Gambia on 24 March.
The film bagged 13 nominations including Best Film, Best Directing and Best Cinematography. The film also received nominations for the screenplay, editing, sound, visual effects, soundtrack and production design categories. The winners will be announced on 22 April 2012 in Nigeria.
“The nominations are particularly thrilling because this is a young, vibrant African story that has been acknowledged by the continent’s own film industry buffs,” says Sara Blecher, director of ‘Otelo Burning’. “Few people can imagine young black kids surfing in the late 80s. That’s what makes it so striking, so unique and so local.”
Jafta Mamabolo who plays the title role was nominated for the Best Actor award. He is best known for his role as the young Kunene in the 2008 feature film Jerusalema, and for his role as Thapelo in the third and fourth seasons of the SABC1 youth drama series Soul Buddyz.
Thomas Gumede and Sihle Xaba were both nominated for Best Young/Promising Actor. Gumede plays Otelo’s friend New Year and is currently appearing in the new reality show Forever Young which will be on Vuzu, South Africa’s first interactive television channel. Xaba appears in the role of experienced surfer Mandla Modise.
In real life Xaba is a South African champion body boarder and a lifeguard who was the lead actor in the SAFTA award-winning drama series Bay of Plenty. He is also an eThekwini Municipality life-guard. Otelo Burning is based on some of his own real-life experiences.
Tsepang Mohlomi (Ntwe) received a Best Child Actor nomination. He was awarded the Best Supporting Actor prize at the 2010 South African Film & Television Awards (SAFTAs) for his portrayal of the street urchin ChiliBite in Izulu Lami/My Secret Sky, and the award for best child actor at 2011’s African Academy Awards held in Nigeria. He also appears in At Ellen’s Age (2010).
On the same night, ‘Otelo Burning’ also won the Best South African Feature Film award at the fifth Cape Winelands Film Festival (CWFF), which had its last screenings on 24 March 2012 in Stellenbosch and Cape Town.
“In addition to the CWFF award and the AMAA nominations the film is getting massive festival attention around the world where audiences are responding extremely positively,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution. “Following on from the huge successes of ‘Semi-Soet’ and ‘Material’, it seems that culturally specific films are the way to go in South Africa. This all bodes well for ‘Otelo Burning’ which is in isiZulu with English sub-titles, and is very much about real life in KwaZulu Natal.”
OFFICIAL TRAILER: Otelo Burning
‘Otelo Burning’ opens nationwide on 11 May. To download the Official Movie Mixtape* for free click here: www.oteloburning.com
*Available from April 2nd
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