More Than Just A Game, the film about the inspirational story of organized football played among prisoners on Robben Island had a screening at House Of Lords in London last night (12 May 2009), hosted by Baroness Jan Royall, the Leader of the House and Chief Whip Lord Bassett, with producer Anant Singh and co-producer Lord Ted Rowlands in attendance. Lord Rowlands who is a Member of the House, facilitated the screening. Also present was Prof Chuck Korr, author of the book, More Than Just A Game: Soccer vs Apartheid. The screening ended with a thunderous spontaneous applause from the assembled audience. More Than Just A Game stars Presley Chweneyagae (Tsotsi), Wright Ngubeni (Generations), Tshepo Maseko (Isidingo) and is directed by Junaid Ahmed.
The event is significant as Jan Royall is a senior member of the Labour Party which strongly supported the struggle against apartheid and the sports boycott against South Africa. The screening of the film was also a tribute to the anti-apartheid movement and the many activists who made huge personal sacrifices in their fight against apartheid, especially those who were incarcerated on Robben Island. In his address to the audience, Lord Rowlands paid special tribute and thanked Tony Suze, Mark Shinners, Lizo Sitoto, Marcus Solomon and Sedick Isaacs – the five men on whose real life story More Than Just A Game is based – who also sent notes which Lord Rowlands read to the audience.
Among the high profile guests in attendance were anti-apartheid activist, Lord Bob Hughes; sport and human rights activist, Lord Richard Faulkner who was charged with revitalizing football in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s; Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights member and UNICEF Trustee, Baroness Whitaker and North Wales member of the House, Betty Williams; BBC Film’s Carol Sennett who announced that the film will be broadcast on BBC’s main television channel as a lead-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Danny Goldman of Sony Pictures Entertainment which is the worldwide distributor of the film. Also in attendance were a host of people that were involved in the anti-apartheid movement and football in the United Kingdom.
Producer Anant Singh commented, “I am delighted with the fantastic reaction to the film at the House Of Lords, especially that the audience was moved and impressed by our little film about football on Robben Island. It was truly an amazing experience have More Than Just A Game screen in the House of Lords. I am especially pleased that a number of those in attendance were involved in the anti-apartheid movement and football, and made a special effort to be there.”
Singh now heads off to the Cannes Film Festival where the film will be marketed and screened to international buyers. The film will be rolled out internationally in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
More Than Just A Game is a Videovision Entertainment production in association with Filmex (Pty) Ltd, Distant Horizon, and the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa. The film stars Presley Chweneyagae, Wright Ngubeni, Az Abrahams, Tshepo Maseko and Merlin Balie. It is executive produced by Sudhir Pragjee and Sanjeev Singh and produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring with Chuck Korr, Lord Ted Rowlands, Double Jab Productions and Hannelie Bekker co-producing. The screenplay is by Tom Eaton and it is directed by Junaid Ahmed.