Red Dust, the gripping Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) thriller received a rousing standing ovation at its South African premiere at the Cape Town World Cinema Festival last night. In attendance were the stars of the film, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jamie Bartlett, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Leslie Mongenzi, Hlomla Dandala; producers Anant Singh, Helena Spring, Sudhir Pragjee and Sanjeev Singh and director Tom Hooper.
The event was also attended by a number of dignitaries including Western Cape Premier, Ebrahim Rasool who was guest of honour; National Minister of Arts & Culture, Pallo Jordan; Deputy Minister of Arts & Culture; Ntombazana Botha, Deputy Minister of Education, Enver Surty; Western Cape MEC For Housing, Laurine Platzky, Wesgro’s Ismail Docrat, political stalwarts Ahmed Kathrada, Lalloo Chiba and Farida Omar; Sunflower’s Hakeem Kae-Kazeem; filmmakers Joel Phiri, and Sharlto Copely; designer, Gavin Rajah and members of the Italian delegation attending Sithengi. The event was also attended by members of the TRC, among whom were Mary Burton, Martin Coetzee, Denzil Potgieter and Prof Charles Villa-Vicencio.
The screening was preceded by an address by the Premier of the Western Cape, Ebrahim Rasool and a special video message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu who also served as Chairperson of the Truth And Reconciliation Commission.
Commenting on the film, Premier Rasool said, “The film deals with a set of circumstances that unfolds an entire history. It deals with human emotions of a specific time in our history. As South Africans, we take for granted and speak very glibly about the capacity of South Africans for forgiveness.
“It also deals with the human anguish that goes into the entire process of forgiveness. Red Dust is remarkable because it is told in such a sensitive manner, telling the history of South Africa and the spirit of reconciliation of the nation. Credit must be given to Anant Singh and Videovision for making a film of this nature.”
Archbishop Tutu who had seen a special preview commented, “Red Dust is a powerful film, so deeply, deeply moving. I was quite surprised after watching the film of how many of us in the audience were tear-filled. We forgot that this was just a film. It reminded us so very much, so poignantly of all that we, and so many people of our country had gone through during the process of the TRC. I just want to congratulate all those that were involved in producing this film on a superb job of work. This is something that is going to help the world heal.”
Producer of Red Dust, Anant Singh commented, “We could not have hoped for a better reaction to our film. It was great to have the Red Dust team attend the first screening of the film on our continent. We specifically chose Sithengi and the Cape Town World Cinema Festival to host our premiere as the film tells an indigenous story and has contributed to the development of the South African film industry which has seen significant growth over the last two years.”
Directed by Tom Hooper and written by Troy Kennedy-Martin (Italian Job, Bravo Two Zero), Red Dust is a Distant Horizon and BBC Films production in association with Videovision Entertainment and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Ltd and is produced by Anant Singh, Helena Spring, David M. Thompson and Ruth Caleb. Red Dust was shot on location in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape and in Johannesburg.