Cape Town - A searing South African film about sugar daddies and marital rape, Thina Sobabili: The Two of Us has lifted the coveted Audience Award at Danny Glover’s Pan African Film Festival (Paff) in Los Angeles.
Director Ernest Nkosi and his team met at film school. They made the film on a shoestring budget, with no state or private funding. The film debuted at the Durban International Film Festival last year to half empty houses – and now is the darling of the American festival scene.
City Press spoke to an ecstatic Nkosi last night just after the film’s win: "Dreams do come true. We are so emotional, wow wow!" he said.
"This is the hardest award to win. There were 16 500 votes in the entire festival and we won by a landslide," said Nkosi.
Thina Sobabili is marked by excellent performances and a huge dramatic twist. It is a witty, gritty and unflinching exploration of life in Alexandra township.
The film tells the story of Zanele, raised by her strict, criminal brother, and the difficult choices she must make when she is proposed to by an older man.
"This is by far the most overwhelming experience of my life,” said Nkosi from LA. "We’re the only South African film to take anything home this year."
Three other South African films, Four Corners, Hear Me Move and Cold Harbour were also in competition. Four Corners was South Africa’s entry in the Oscars this year, Hear Me Move is the country’s first dance movie, and Cold Harbour is a compelling smuggling gang film set in Cape Town.
Glover began Paff to "showcase the broad spectrum of black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes".
The fest has previously honoured the likes of Forest Whitaker, Loretta Devine and Idris Elba, as well as films like Free Angela and Blackbird, putting Thina Sobabili in esteemed company.
After opening in Durban it was picked by a few festivals, recently being recognised as one of the 12 best films to show at the African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York. It’s there that the Paff selectors saw it and scheduled it for LA.
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