Johannesburg: Two films produced by South Africa’s leading production house, Videovision Entertainment took top honours at the inaugural Jozi Film Festival today: My Hunter’s Heart won the Best Documentary Film award and The First Grader won the Audience Prize.
My Hunter’s Heart which focuses on the Khomani San, was shot over a period of three and a half years. They are the last group of hunter-gatherers that live in South Africa and who represent a way of life that has flourished for tens of thousands of years. The film follows members of the Khomani San of the Southern Kalahari, the oldest living indigenous tribe in the world, who are genetically linked to every human being on Planet Earth. In modern times, their traditional nomadic way of life has changed and westernisation has severed their link to the land and the animals. The film trails younger members of the clan, /Urugap and his family, as they embark on an epic journey to try to recapture some of the knowledge and skills of their ancestors.
Filmed in Kenya, The First Grader, is set in a remote primary school in the Kenyan bush where hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge, an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied – even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds. The film has garnered a host of awards internationally including Best Picture and the coveted Audience Awards at prestigious film festivals around the world.
Commenting on the success of the films, producer Anant Singh said, “We are delighted with the Best Documentary Award for My Hunter’s Heart and the prestigious Audience Prize won by The First Grader at the Jozi Film Festival. My Hunter’s Heart is an important record of the Khomani San and preserves their rich history and legacy for posterity while The First Grader is an inspirational film with a simple message that one is never too old to learn. Both films tell unique African stories and, as filmmakers, we have a responsibility to take stories from our country and continent to the rest of the world and showcase the talent of our artists.”