South Africa Celebrates Freedom in Cannes

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South Africa has brought its 20 years of freedom celebrations to Cannes this year with a record four movies and one South African Showcase to be screened during this year’s Film Festival.

South Africans at the Cannes Film Festival
Actor David Kau, journalist Nadia Neophytou, Naomi Mokhele (NFVF) and producer Pascal Schmitz. Photo: Anthoni Panayis

Unfortunately none of the SA films have been selected for competition this year, but with these screenings they are being exposed to international buyers, agents, distributors and investors.

South Africa - flying the flag in Cannes
South Africa – flying the flag in Cannes. Photo: Anthoni Panayis

And for the first time in SA’s Cannes history, all of these films – presented by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) – are being screened within the prestigious Palais which forms the heart of the Cannes Film Festival.

In previous years the South African films have been shown in public cinemas in nearby Rue d’Antibes. Close but not as convenient or as prestigious.

The NFVF’s underlying theme this year is a celebration of 20 years of freedom.

To mark this occasion, most of the movies selected reflect this theme – including “Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me” and “One Humanity ” (a documentary about the 1988 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert and 1990’s International Tribute for a Free South Africa).

The other two movies are “Miners Shot Down” and “Inumber Number”.

Embracing the theme of Freedom, the NFVF has erected a large poster of Nelson Mandela at the Pavilion’s entrance for worldwide visitors to sign and write messages.

This poster will be taken home to South Africa at the end of the Festival where it will be put on display.

Based on last year’s figures, NFVF events co-ordinator Carla de Gavino Dias estimates that at least 2,000 people will visit the South African Pavilion in Cannes this year.

South Africans at the Cannes Film Festival
Producer Sizwe Mzolo and NFVF’s communications manager Naomi Mokhele.

Last night the SA Pavilion kicked off the festival with a cocktail party on the beach (that became so popular some people had to be turned away). Actors, producers, directors and journalists mingled to discuss work and play.

Today the first screenings were held for “Miners Shot Down” and “Inumber Number”.

And tomorrow night South Africa will be hosting its annual party at Rado Plage – the hottest ticket in town! Honestly. People without invitations push, shove and beg to be allowed in because it’s renowned as the best catered, most fun party of the festival!

South Africa Rocks!

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Jenni is the co-founder and chief editor of SAPeople.com, co-author of The Expat Confessions and co-parent of three gorgeous daughters. After graduating, she worked as a TV producer, political researcher and journalist in South Africa, before moving to London to interview movie stars for international magazines and to tackle British teen angst for London Weekend Television. She has also lived in Australia, and currently lives in France. Jenni is happiest paddle boarding on the Med or sipping rooibos in the bush in Africa. Contact jen@sapeople.com