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South African Indian's film heads for Oscars

By Fakir Hassen, IANS

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A film produced by leading South African Indian filmmaker Anant Singh is the country's nomination for the 2005 Academy Awards in the category of Best Foreign Language Picture.

"Yesterday", South Africa's first full-length feature film in the indigenous Zulu language, deals with the trials and tribulations of a rural woman fighting HIV/AIDS.

The movie has been acclaimed at film festivals across the globe in recent weeks and is drawing huge audiences locally.

"We are proud that 'Yesterday' has been chosen to represent South Africa at the Oscars next year," Singh said.

"Although we have had fantastic reactions to 'Yesterday' in South Africa and at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, the selection of the film for Oscar consideration is the first step in a long process that will see it competing against films from a number of other countries across the world.

"We hope that we will find success in this extremely competitive category."

Singh added that the selection of the film was "an achievement for the 'Yesterday' team, especially director Darrell James Roodt, actress Leleti Khumalo and all the talented cast and crew of the film."

The film was made with support from the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the National Film And Video Foundation (NFVF).

Eddie Mbalo, chief executive of NFVF, was confident about the film's chances at the Oscars: "We are delighted to have backed the production of an indigenous language film, which will be the country's entry for the 2005 Academy Awards.

"The selection of 'Yesterday' for Oscar consideration is indeed encouraging for local cinema. We believe in the film and its potential to bring an Oscar home to South Africa."

"We need films like 'Yesterday', which tell us about the challenges and about difficulties but more than that, it is about hope. Mandela has been full of praise for this film because he sees the film as an important way of fighting discrimination and stigma that is attached to the AIDS pandemic," said John Samuel, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.


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