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Kwa Zulu Natal Rules as Khumalo Wins at The Durban International Film Festival

It was announced today that KwaMashu born, Leleti Khumalo has won the Best Actress Award at the Durban International Film Festival for her powerful performance as a homeless woman in the film, Faith’s Corner which re-united the team that made the Academy Award Nominated film, Yesterday. Faith’s Corner which is written and directed by Darrell James Roodt, had its World Premiere at the Festival on Friday, 17 June, is produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring with the musical score by Academy Award Nominee, Philip Glass. Also, Weapons Of Mass Deception, executive produced by Anant Singh, which was presented at the Festival by New York-based director, Danny Schechter won the Best Documentary Award at the Festival.

Faith’s Corner also introduced Sibonelo Xulu and Thobani Khubeka, two primary school children, also from KwaMashu, who made their acting debut in Faith’s Corner. Faith’s Corner also screened at the Ekhaya Multimedia Arts Centre in KwaMashu on Saturday, 18 June where its received a standing ovation from the local audience who were thrilled to watch the film with their community members, Leleti Khumalo, Sibonelo Xulu and Thobani Khubeka in attendance.

Faith’s Corner is a powerful story about Faith and her two young sons, Siyabonga and Lucky who live on the streets of modern day Johannesburg. Faith works a busy street junction begging from passing motorists. With the little money she makes, she tries to raise her children as best as she can though they often go to sleep hungry and scared. Faith has to combat the apathy of the wealthy elite that pass her everyday and also the distrust and anger of the locals.

Videovision Entertainment also premiered Dollars And White Pipes and Weapons Of Mass Deception at the Festival. Dollars And White Pipes which is written and directed by Donovan Marsh and produced by Helena Spring of Videovision Entertainment and stars Clint Brink (Generations), is the true life story of Bernard Baaitjies who grew up in the gangland culture of the ghettoes of Cape Town. The film received a standing ovation at its premiere screening which had director, Donovan Marsh, Clint Brink and Bernard Baaitjies in attendance. Weapons Of Mass Deception, executive produced by Anant Singh, was presented at the Festival by New York-based director, Danny Schechter. The film is a comprehensive and devastating critique of the United States television news networks’ complacency and complicity in the war in Iraq and won the Best Documentary Prize at the Festival.

Anant Singh commented, “Leleti is one of South Africa’s best actresses and this is a well deserved accolade. It is also quite encouraging for Sibonelo Xulu and Thobani Khubeka, as young talents of KwaZulu Natal, who had their first acting role ever in the film. Darrell Roodt has done another great film. Dollars And White Pipes made a huge impact on the audience as it explores social issues that not only people in the Cape Flats experience, but those in other South African townships as well. We are also delighted to have won the Best Documentary Film Award for Weapons Of Mass Deception which had its South African premiere at the Festival. This film raised questions about the war in Iraq and intrigued audiences.”

Leleti Khumalo commented, “I am absolutely thrilled to receive the Best Actress Award from the Durban International Film Festival. I am honoured that the jury selected me for this award ahead of so many other actors. I am also very pleased to have had the World Premiere of Faith’s Corner in my home town, Durban and to have presented the film at the Ekhaya Multimedia Arts Centre in KwaMashu where I grew up.”

It was also announced that the Best Director Award was awarded to Hany Abu-Assad for the Palestinian film, Paradise Now, which was acquired by Videovision Entertainment for distribution in South Africa. The film is a fascinating and moving story of two suicide bombers in the 24 hours leading up to a suicide attack. The film had an exceptional response at the Festival and an additional screening was arranged as a result of public demand. Paradise Now will be released at cinemas in South Africa in January 2006.

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