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‘Yesterday’ Receives South Africa’s First Oscar Nomination

Yesterday, the ground-breaking isiZulu feature film has become the first ever South African film to receive an Oscar nomination in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. The announcement was made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences in Los Angeles this morning. The film, produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring, and written and directed by acclaimed director, Darrell James Roodt, stars Leleti Khumalo of Sarafina! fame.

Yesterday is a watershed film for South Africa as it is a film of many firsts. It is the first isiZulu feature film and the first South African film to receive an Oscar nomination. It was made with the support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, M-Net and the National Film And Video Foundation.

Anant Singh, speaking after the announcement of the nominations said, “We are ecstatic and proud to have received South Africa’s first Oscar nomination. Yesterday is a South African film, in an indigenous language and one that showcases our country’s amazing creative talent in a local story. The nomination is certainly encouraging for the South African Film Industry and it is a testament to all who were so passionately involved in the film.”

Director, Darrell James Roodt commented, “What an honour ! It is absolutely thrilling to receive this recognition. I really enjoyed making this film, especially doing it in isiZulu.”

Carl Fischer, head of M-Net’s Local Production division said, “We at M-Net are proud to have been involved in the production of Yesterday. We are delighted that the film has received the Academy Award Nomination in the Best Foreign Language category. This nomination is already a credit to South African creative talent who were responsible for the production of Yesterday. This is a boost for the South African film industry as the film is in the running for the ultimate film award.”

Eddie Mbalo, Chief Executive of the National Film And Video Foundation said, “NFVF is proud to have been part of the creation of Yesterday. We are pleased that the film has received South Africa’s first-ever Oscar nomination. This nomination is certainly encouraging for the South African film industry and illustrates the country’s creative competency in filmmaking.”

John Samuel, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation commented, “Yesterday is the first film project for the Nelson Mandela Foundation and we are absolutely thrilled that it has been nominated for an Academy Award. Mr Mandela has been full of praise for this film because he sees the film as an important way of fighting discrimination and stigma that is attached to the AIDS pandemic.”

Yesterday opened in South Africa on 3 September 2004 to rave reviews and was re-released last Friday to raise awareness that the film was South Africa’s official entry for Oscar consideration. The film is currently playing at MonteCasino, Nu Metro Benoni in Johannesburg; Menlyn in Pretoria; Nu Metro V&A, Canal Walk and Cinema Starz Grandwest in Cape Town; Nu Metro Pavilion in Durban and Cinema Starz Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth. All the cinemas will offer schools discounts on ticket prices for group bookings.

HBO Films will release Yesterday in North America and is also handling the worldwide distribution of the film. Yesterday is a Videovision Entertainment production in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, M-Net, The National Film And Video Foundation, Distant Horizon and was shot on location in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The music was composed by Madala Kunene and it is executive produced by Sudhir Pragjee and Sanjeev Singh, produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring and written and directed by Darrell James Roodt.

The Oscars will be broadcast live on M-Net on the morning of Monday, 28 February 2005.

Yesterday was released in South Africa by United International Pictures

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