First Sesotho film opens at number one at the box office

2014-04-09 22:30
Johannesburg - The Forgotten Kingdom, the first feature film in Sesotho, was released in Lesotho on 4 April and was the number one film on circuit in its opening weekend, outperforming Hollywood blockbusters Captain America and Noah at Ster-Kinekor’s Pioneer Mall cinema in Maseru. The film premieres in South Africa at Ster-Kinekor’s The Zone cinema in Rosebank on 9 April and opens on 11 April.

The film, directed by Andrew Mudge, has also racked up a total of nine African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) nominations, including Best Feature Film, Best Director of a Feature Film, Best First Feature Film by a Director, Best Actor (Zenzo Ngqobe) and Best Cinematography. Also among the nominations is one for Lebohang Ntsane, for Best Child Actor.

"We are very proud of the nominations, and we congratulate the entire cast and crew," says executive producer Chris Roland of ZenHQ. "Special mention must go to Lebohang Ntsane, for his excellent performance as a young orphan boy. Lebohang was chosen from more than 700 aspiring young actors in Lesotho."

The Forgotten Kingdom tells the story of Atang Mokoenya, who lives in Johannesburg, and travels home to his ancestral land to bury his estranged father. He is drawn to the mystical beauty and hardships of the land and people he had forgotten.

Atang feels like a stranger in the land of his birth, but finds an instant connection in his childhood friend, Dineo. He befriends a precocious 11 year-old orphan boy, and together they make the arduous journey across the rugged mountains to find her. Along the way, they undergo experiences that force Atang to surrender to the rhythm and traditions of the land, and to make peace with his father. A changed man, Atang finally reaches Dineo, but must overcome one last obstacle to win her father’s approval.

"I wanted the story to be told through the colours of the land and the faces of the Basotho people," says director Andrew Mudge. "My own experience of discovering this country was like finding something exquisite and unique. I wanted to convey that experience to an audience through the journey of the main character. Atang Mokoenya is a man who unwillingly experiences a life transformation when he returns to a place that had he long ago chose to forget."

The role of Atang is played by Zenzo Ngqobe, a South African actor known for his starring role as Stone Khuse on the television soapie ‘Rhythm City’. The cast includes stars like Nozipho Nkelemba, Jerry Mofokeng, Moshoeshoe Chabeli, Jerry Phele and Lillian Dube.
'The Forgotten Kingdom' was co-produced by South African production companies Binary Film Works and ZenHQ Films, and New York-based Black Kettle films and Stringman.

The producers are TR Boyce Jr, Pieter Lombaard, Cecil Matlou and Andrew Mudge, and the executive producers are Terry Leonard (Strongman) and Chris Roland (ZenHQ Films). The film is distributed by Indigenous Film Distribution.

Watch the trailer here:

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