SA YouTuber's short film catches on at international film festival

The 29-year-old from GaRankuwa said he is over the moon that his film has been selected for an international film festival

Mpho Koka Journalist
Kgothatso Mmoledi produced a short film on how young black men can combat the scourge of suicide.
Kgothatso Mmoledi produced a short film on how young black men can combat the scourge of suicide.
Image: Supplied

The short film made by SA YouTuber Kgothatso Mmoledi using a smartphone from the comfort of his bedroom has cracked a nod at an international film festival.

Mmoledi's 11-minute short film, Suicidal Black Man, that debuted in September on YouTube is among 110 film dramas selected for the Lift-Off Sessions Film Festival that began on October 18 and runs until November 1. 

The 29-year-old from GaRankuwa, northern Pretoria, said he is over the moon that his film has been selected for an international film festival. It is being streamed to millions of people around the world on Vimeo On Demand.

The organisation behind the film festival, The Lift-Off Global Network, is based at the headquarters of world acclaimed Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, a village north of London.

Mmoledi’s film is about how suicidal young black men can avoid the scourge.

“It feels incredible. This is a validation that I am on the right track as a film producer. No matter what matters, my film is being watched by millions of people around the world. It means a lot to me,” said Mmoledi.

Mmoledi portrays the lead character and the film opens with him lying flat on the floor in his bedroom, next to a brown night stand, with his eyes wide open and firmly staring at a knife next to him – presumably about to take his own life.

It’s a riveting, yet uncomfortable scene to watch.

Mmoledi said he is proud to be flying the South African flag high with his achievement.

“Most of the films I watched from the festival were done by a crew of people and were shot using cameras. I just used a cellphone alone to shoot my film and it was selected. This shows that I know what I am doing and I am good at it,” he said. 

The top five films that receive the most number of votes after voting lines close will be rated by Lift-Off’s official judges and the film that is scored the highest by the judges will win an official selection for a live screening later this year at Pinewood Studios in the UK and Raleigh Studios at Hollywood, US.

Enthusiasts can visit the website https://checkout.liftoff.network/P1-lift-off-sessions-october-2021/ to watch, at a fee, and vote for their favourite films. Voting closes on November 1.

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