Film producer Anant Singh who is currently in Los Angeles attending the Academy Awards said today that there was a positive buzz about South Africa and the South African film industry at the Awards Ceremony as a result of the South African themed films, District 9 and Invictus which received Oscar Nominations.
The sci-fi thriller District 9 which was written and directed by South African born Neill Blomkamp and which was shot in South Africa received four nominations in the categories Best Picture, Achievement in Editing, Achievement in Visual Effects and Adapted Screenplay. Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood and based on the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation by John Carlin, received the Best Actor nomination for Morgan Freeman who played Nelson Mandela, and the Best Supporting Actor nomination for Matt Damon who played Francois Pienaar.
Singh had the opportunity to meet a number of stars, including Oscar nominees at the Awards, among whom were Best Supporting Actor nominee, Christoph Waltz (Inglorius Basterds) who has done a few films in South Africa and specifically mentioned his fondness for Cape Town; Best Supporting Actress nominee, Mo‘Nique (Precious); Ben Stiller who is one of the most prominent actors in the world who had just returned from South Africa after looking at shooting his new film in the country and was very excited about having visited South Africa. He also met Samuel L. Jackson and his wife LaTanya, Quentin Tarantino and Jamie Fox all of whom have a special affinity for South Africa.
Singh is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and this year marks the tenth Academy Award ceremony that he attended. After the ceremony he was a guest of Elton John at his annual Oscar bash, and also attended the much coveted Vanity Fair Party.
Singh‘s company, Videovision Entertainment, also acquired the Oscar nominated films An Education and The White Ribbon for distribution in South Africa. An Education was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Carey Mulligan) and Best Adapted Screenplay (by Nick Hornby). Singh‘s longtime producing partner, David Thompson (Sarafina!, Red Dust) also produced the Oscar nominated, An Education. The White Ribbon was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Achievement in Cinematography.
Speaking from Los Angeles, Singh said, “It really is heartening to see the world‘s leading filmmakers speak so positively about South Africa. Whilst Invictus told the inspirational story of Madiba‘s influence on the Springbok rugby team that won the World Cup in 1995, it was District 9 that captured their attention. The production values that were clearly evident in District 9 was largely the hard work of talented South African film crews. It illustrated to the world that the South African film industry can hold its own against the top filmmaking countries of the world. We at Videovision Entertainment are also pleased to have acquired An Education and The White Ribbon for distribution in South Africa and to have released An Education prior to its Oscar nominations. The White Ribbon will be released in South Africa later this year.”