Two SA films to feature at film festivals in Canada

Maeshni Naicker from Keeping up with Kandasamys. Picture credit: : Mduduzi Ndzingi.
Maeshni Naicker from Keeping up with Kandasamys. Picture credit: : Mduduzi Ndzingi.

Local is lekker — in Canada‚ it seems.

Two homegrown movies Keeping up with the Kandasamys and The Number have been selected to feature in film festivals in the North American country.

Keeping up with the Kandasamys — a box office hit in South Africa — was recently showcased at the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival.

Shot in Chatsworth‚ Durban‚ the locally-made movie raked in over R16-million in earnings.

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission announced on Friday that The Number — directed by award-winning director Khalo Matabane of State of Violence and Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me‚ fame — made the list of movies to be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It will feature in the Contemporary World Cinema section.

Shot on location at Durban’s Clairwood hospital — which was partly converted into a prison — the gritty film is based on the novel by award-winning writer Johnny Steinberg on Cape Flats prison 28 gang leader Magadien Wentzel.

 According to production company Born Free Media : “A young inmate’s murder confirms Magadien‘s misgivings about his life inside‚ so he decides to join a reform-minded warden’s efforts to improve the prison‚ eyeing it as a path to early release. Gaining fulfilment and self-worth‚ he becomes a valued partner in the prison reforms‚ before explosive gang resistance forces a deadly choice between the gangster he was and the changing man he knows he is now becoming. After he leaves prison‚ his life is irreversibly changed and he becomes a strong anti-gang proponent.”

The cast includes Presley Chweneyagae‚ of Tsotsi fame‚ and Kevin Smith.

The commission‚ which partly funded The Number‚ said: “This is a really proud moment for the KZNFC as we are starting to see a lot of good feature films coming out of the film fund.

“We have also recently seen Keeping up with the Kandasamys generate over R16-million in box office earnings which is a huge achievement for a local production.

“The Number spent over 70% of its production budget in the province and created employment for local filmmakers and providers of related services.

“With the film being screened internationally‚ this will go a long way in establishing KwaZulu-Natal as a choice film destination‚” said Carol Coetzee‚ KZNFC head.