SA film Vaya set to wow at prestigious Berlin Film Festival

SA film Vaya is set to fly the SA flag high when it is screened at the prestigious 67th Berlin International Film Festival in Germany next month.

The film‚ which weaves together three stories of people who have been homeless‚ will become the latest SA film to be featured at the festival. It follows in the footsteps of local film Shepherds and Butchers which screened at the festival last year.

Vaya is directed by award-winning director Akin Omotoso and stars Mary Twala‚ Sihle Xaba‚ Zimkhitha Nyoka and Warren Masemola.

The film’s producer and writer Robbie Thorpe told TshisaLIVE that he and Akin would be flying to Berlin early next month to introduce the film at the festival. He said that it was an honour to represent the country on the global stage.

“To be selected for the Berlin Film Festival is a great honour. The festival is‚ in terms of the business of films‚ in the top four or five film festivals in the world. It brings together some of the world’s most important players in the film industry. So‚ for our film to be shown on such a prestigious platform is humbling‚” Robbie said.

The film‚ which took eight years to make‚ premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September last year. Robbie said he was pleased with the reception the film received there and is hoping to have similar success in Berlin.

“The film got an incredible response at the Toronto Film Festival. We had three sold-out screenings in massive cinemas and our director Akin was signed by a Hollywood agency because they had seen the film. We hope that a similar audience will enjoy the film this time‚ Robbie said.

The film has been hailed by critics for telling the gritty story of people who are often seen as “invisible” by society. Robbie said that the film’s producers tried to do this by casting little-known actors Zimkhitha Nyoka‚ Sibusiso

Msimang and Sihle Xaba in key roles.

The festival will also feature South African director John Trengove’s film The Wound‚ which earlier this month made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah‚ America.

The film depicts the story of Kwanda‚ a gay factory worker‚ who travels from the city to the rural area of his family’s origin to be circumcised in a traditional rites-of-passage ceremony.

The Berlin Film Festival which is one of the largest independent festivals in Europe‚ will run from 9 to 19 February. Vaya is expected to be released to local cinemas later this year.