Yesterday the first-ever isiZulu feature film had a gala screening at the World AIDS Conference in Bangkok on Wednesday night (14 July 2004). The film screened at the Conference under the auspices of The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS. In attendance producer Anant Singh, writer/ director Darrell James Roodt and lead star Leleti Khumalo. Former President Nelson Mandela and his wife, Mrs Grace Machel also attended the World AIDS Conference.
Yesterday is the first feature film to have the support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation which will use the film as a resource in its Social Development Programme, especially its HIV/AIDS and Education focus areas. The Nelson Mandela Foundation also promoted its worldwide anti-AIDS campaign “46664 – The Message” at the Conference and will also use Yesterday as a tool in this campaign and as a result, the film will enjoy global exposure.
Speaking at the Bangkok screening, Anant Singh said, “We are very proud to be here at the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok at the first screening of Yesterday outside South Africa. We really believe that we as a nation and people around the world have to come together to deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic and our film, Yesterday is one little way in achieving this goal. I also want to acknowledge the support of HBO Films and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS which is a very important organization in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”
Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, John Samuel, in his address at the Yesterday screening said, “When Anant Singh approached us about the making of the film, we had no hesitation in responding. You will see this evening that the story of Yesterday is a very simple, yet powerful one. In our fight against HIV/AIDS, we need these kinds of stories which tell us about challenges, about difficulties and the tragedies. We also, at the same time, need stories that tell us about hope and Yesterday is about hope. Mr Mandela has been full of praise for this film because he sees this as an important way of fighting discrimination and stigma that is attached to the AIDS pandemic.”
The International AIDS Conference has attracted a number of high profile individuals and celebrities who have committed their support in anti AIDS campaigns. Singh and Yesterday‘s writer/director, Darrell Roodt met with Richard Gere who was enthusiastic about Yesterday and committed his support for 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 Exciting Films. Yesterday is executive produced by Sudhir Pragjee and Sanjeev Singh, produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring and written and directed by Darrell James Roodt.
Yesterday will be released in South Africa at the end of August through United International Pictures.