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BACK OF THE MOON won the Best South African Feature Film Award while LES MISÉRABLES won the Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay Awards at the 40th Durban International Film Festival, it was announced at the Awards Ceremony tonight.

BACK OF THE MOON, directed by Academy Award-winner, Angus Gibson, stars Richard Lukunku, Moneoa Moshesh, Lemogang Tsipa and Thomas Gumede, and is produced by Desiree Markgraff and executive produced by William Kentridge and Anant Singh.  The film had its World Premiere last Friday at the Festival.

BACK OF THE MOON director, Angus Gibson commented, “Durban is my home town so it is especially great for us to be recognized with the Best South African Feature Film award at DIFF. I hope that this is a sign that a South African audience will embrace the film. BACK OF THE MOON was truly a collective effort and every crew and cast member should feel that this award belongs to them as well.”

Cannes Jury Prize winner, LES MISÉRABLES, is the debut feature film from director Ladj Ly who co-wrote the screenplay with Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti.  The film is produced by Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barall and stars Damien Bonnard, Djibril Zonga and Alexis Manenti.

Commenting on winning the Best Feature Film prize, Ladj Ly said, “It is indeed a great honour to win the Best Feature Film Award at the Durban International Film Festival.  It is a very special award for us as it is the first award for LES MISÉRABLES to come from Africa. I would like to thank my producers Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barall; our incredible actors and our entire team for their commitment to LES MISÉRABLES and for contributing to the creation of a film that highlights the challenges faced by immigrants and marginalized communities. Thank you Durban International Film Festival for this award, and to our African distributor, Videovision Entertainment.”

In a message on winning the Best Screenplay award, producer Toufik Ayadi said, “Thank you Durban International Film Festival for recognizing the power of the screenplay of LES MISÉRABLES. My writing partners Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti helped create screenplay that gives the film authenticity and tells the story of the affected community in a very real manner. We appreciate being acknowledged with this coveted award and look forward to the release of the film in South Africa.”

“It is really exciting to scoop three major awards at the 40th Durban International Film Festival,” said Anant Singh.  “We are very proud that BACK OF THE MOON has won the Best South African Feature Film prize.  The film is named after a famous jazz club in Sophiatown. The accounts of Sophiatown tell us that it was a multicultural melting pot, a hive of political activity and a hub of black intellectualism.  Angus has created a cinematic masterpiece which captures the essence of Sophiatown authentically, bringing it to life on the big screen. We congratulate Angus, Desiree and the cast and crew on this wonderful achievement. We are delighted that LES MISÉRABLES had its African Premiere at DIFF. Our congratulations to Ladj, Toufik, Christophe and their team who collectively have created an exceptional film that resonates with similar communities around the world.  The Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay awards are fitting accolades.” concluded Singh.

Alexandre Olmedo, Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of France in South Africa said, “It’s a very good year for the Durban International Film Festival and we are very happy that the film LES MISÉRABLES, directed by Ladj Ly was so well received among this year’s award-winning films! This success reflects the diversity and vitality of French cinema. I would like to congratulate the director and the film crew as well as the South African distributor, Videovision Entertainment, a long-time partner of our Embassy. We are very happy to support the distribution of the film in South Africa.”

Picture:  At the Durban International Film Festival Awards tonight are The BACK OF THE MOON Team (Actors Richard Lukunku, Lemogang Tsipa, Moneoa Moshesh; Director, Angus Gibson; Producer, Desiree Markgraff; Associate Producer, Kutlwano Ditsele with Anant Singh and Sanjeev Singh holding the awards for LES MISÉRABLES.

Download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wt3404x2pjcw9m2/IMG_6636.JPG?dl=0

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