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Special praise for ‘Ayanda’ in LA

2015-07-07 10:27

AYANDA, the new film by award-winning director Sara Blecher, and produced by Terry Pheto, Busi Sizani and Robbie Thorpe, has been awarded a “special mention” by the prestigious Los Angeles Film Festival (Laff) jury.

The announcement was made following its screening in the world fiction competition.

Ayanda had its world premiere in Los Angeles on June 13, with The Examiner saying: “The Los Angeles Film Festival’s 2015 mission to find ‘… diverse stories and storytellers … who exhibit true and singular voices’ is fully realised with Ayanda.

“Shot in South Africa, writer Trish Malone and director Sara Blecher create a vibrant, colourful film about a young woman looking to make her mark in today’s South Africa.”

The film tells the story of a resolute 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani), who has a talent for taking neglected pieces of furniture and “bringing them back to love”.

Eight years after her father’s death, his prized auto-repair garage is in deep debt and in danger of being sold, but Ayanda does everything in her power to hold onto his legacy. Entertainment blog Indiewire called the film “an important and fascinating piece that is absolutely worth seeing for its representation of a modern African story, which is uniquely, distinctively African, but also urban, fresh, and contemporary in a way that is far too rare. Anchored by a standout performance by the magnetic Fulu Mugovhani, the vibe and milieu of Ayanda is as refreshing as a light summer breeze.”

The film also stars Nigerian actor O.C. Ukeje, winner of the 2015 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award for best actor, Jafta Mamabolo, Nthati Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Sihle Xaba and Vanessa Cooke.

Pheto and Blecher were at Laff to promote the film, among a line-up of 74 feature films from around the globe. “We could not have wished for a better response from a discerning American audience,” said Blecher. “The film was praised for being distinctively African while exploring universal themes of love, friendship and growth. We cannot wait to share the film with South African movie goers.

“As a female team, we are proud to have made such a strong and vibrant film about women in contemporary South Africa.”

Ayanda is the opening film at the 36th Durban International Film Festival, from July 16 to July 26. The film is in cinemas on October 2.

— Arts Editor


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