SA film Four Corners gets the VIP treatment in 2014 Oscar race
There is an escalating buzz around director Ian Gabriel's Cape ganglands coming-of-age thriller Four Corners, South Africa's official entry in the 2014 Academy Awards, “Best Foreign Language Film” category.
Gavin Hood, director of the 2006 Academy Award winning South African film Tsotsi will be introducing the film at a VIP screening (its debut screening) and reception – attended by AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) voters, Hollywood executives and ‘tastemakers' this Sunday, 24 November, at the Aidikoff private screening room, on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
In a note to the South African filmmakers, Gavin Hood said: “Watching your beautifully made, heartfelt film brought tears to my eyes. Tears of sadness, and of pride.” Hood specifically acknowledged the outstanding performances of undiscovered, bright new talent alongside more seasoned actors. “This is a story about a group of young people, many of whom have never acted before, seeing their community on screen for the first time, making a searingly honest piece of art.”
“We're delighted that Gavin has generously made himself available for South Africa's quest for a second Oscar gold,” says Gabriel.” “Four Corners is a story of family lost, and family regained. It's a story of hope that focuses on the choices a young boy must make as he's coming of age in tough circumstances. “
Giant Films' Cindy Gabriel and Moonlighting Films' Genevieve Hofmeyr produced the independent and South African-financed Four Corners - which is director Ian Gabriel's second feature film, following the highly acclaimed Forgiveness.
In his somewhat edgy human drama – set in the gritty urban reality of the Cape Flats – Gabriel unapologetically gets a grip on the harsh realities of a unique and volatile gangland sub-culture, but at the centre of the narrative is a vital message of inspiration and hope. These strands are weaved together by universal themes of love, loss, kinship, betrayal and redemption.
Gabriel's cast combines veterans including Lindiwe Matshikiza (who delivered a powerful rendering as Zindzi Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), beginners and ‘real people' non-actors, and includes several first time teenage actors, drawn from schools, chess clubs and communities across the Cape Flats. “As South African filmmakers we're proud to be introducing Four Corners to the world; for the young people of the film, seeing their community on screen will strengthen their pride, and feed into the themes of upliftment and aspiration that we've worked hard to achieve,” says Cindy Gabriel.
In its article titled South Africa Comes of Age, the preeminent industry trade publication, The Hollywood Reporter, enthused about “the high hopes for the child gang thriller Four Corners, the country's contender in the foreign language Oscar race”.
The trailer for the film, released last week has already generated fresh Oscar buzz on line, with Indiewire and Indietrailers & Festivals USA, Screen Rush UK and Kino Zeit in Germany all immediately picking up the trailer, described as 'bristling' by Hollywood Oscar blog Shadow and Act.
Four Corners opens on the South African theatrical circuit on February 7th, 2014. “It's a great privilege for us to be representing such a prestigious film,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, the local distributor of the film. “As it is South Africa's official submission for the Oscars, we are all keen to see how the world responds. It's an ambitious film that delves deep into the human story behind the longstanding gang warfare that has a daily impact on the lives of people living on the Flats.”
Producer, Genevieve Hofmeyr, acknowledges that they were able to produce the picture – which was in development for four years – with the assistance of the National Film and Video Foundation and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa. The Little Film Company is handling international sales.