First South African film made in Lesetho goes on a roadshow

2014-03-06 18:00
Johannesburg - The roadshow for The Forgotten Kingdom, the first feature film produced in Lesotho, kicks off this week, with the film being screened in the mountain kingdom until Saturday, 15 March. The film opens nationwide in South Africa on 11 April 2014.

Directed by Andrew Mudge, The Forgotten Kingdom tells the story of an unemployed young man, Atang Mokoeyna, 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.

"The mountainous scenery of the Kingdom of Lesotho provides a beautiful canvas for a profoundly visual story," says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution which is distributing the film in South Africa.

"The first film ever to be produced in Lesotho, it’s a charming and captivating quest steeped in the history and culture of the Basotho people."

The film shows how Atang feels like a stranger in the land of his birth, but finds an instant connection with one person: his childhood friend, Dineo. However, Dineo’s tyrannical father thwarts their budding romance and relocates his family to a remote village where he can better hide his shame over Nkoti’s illness. Try as he might, Atang simply cannot get Dineo out of his mind.

He befriends a precocious 11 year-old orphan boy, and together they make the arduous journey across the breath-taking, rugged mountains to find her. Along the way, the two undergo experiences that force Atang to surrender to the rhythm and traditions of the land, and to make peace with his father and the life he once led. A changed man, Atang finally reaches Dineo, but must overcome one last obstacle to win her father’s approval.

"In The Forgotten Kingdom, I wanted to make a film that was told visually, through the colours of the land and the faces of the Basotho people," says director Andrew Mudge.

"My own experience of discovering this largely unknown country was like finding something exquisitely beautiful and unique. My intention was to convey that experience to an audience through the journey of the main character, Atang Mokoenya.

"This is a man who unwillingly experiences a life transformation when he returns to a place that had he long ago chosen to forget. It was important for us as filmmakers to ensure that the people of Lesotho are able to see the film as the main protagonist of this story is the kingdom itself."

Well known cast and crew

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. He is also remembered for his supporting role in the 2005 Academy Award-winning Tsotsi. Ngqobe has appeared in the television hospital dramas Jozi-H and Hillside, and in the stage productions Township Stories and Cards. In 2013 he took over the role of Cyril in the SABC2 sitcom Ga Re Dumele.

The cast includes well known South African stars like Nozipho Nkelemba, Jerry Mofokeng, Moshoeshoe Chabeli, Jerry Phele and Lillian Dube. Starring as the young orphan boy is Lebohang Ntsane, chosen from over seven-hundred aspiring young actors, from towns and villages all over Lesotho. He lives with his family in Khubetsoana, and hopes to pursue more acting opportunities in the future.

Andrew Mudge is the writer/director of numerous award winning short films, documentaries, and music videos. His shorts have screened at over 50 prominent film festivals, including Sundance, Telluride, and Nantucket.

The music for The Forgotten Kingdom is composed by Robert Miller, a prolific composer of film, concert, and commercial music. His distinctive style has made its mark on over 1800 commercials, a growing body of film scores, as well as works for concert and the stage.

The Forgotten Kingdom was co-produced by South African production company Binary Film Works and New York-based Black Kettle films. The producers are TR Boyce Jr, Pieter Lombaard, Cecil Matlou and Andrew Mudge, and the executive producers are Terry Leonard (Strongman) and Chris Roland (Zen-HQ Films).

Screenings will be held in the following towns and settlements:

Tuesday March 4: Roma.
Wednesday March 5: Khoboatsoana.
Thursday March 6: Ha Seetsa.
Friday March 7: Ha Phuta (village near Mokhotlong).
Saturday March 8: Mokhotlong.
Tuesday March 11: Sefikeng.
Wednesday March 12: Malealea.
Thursday March 13: Quthing.
Friday March 14: Mohale’s Hoek.
Saturday March 15: Morija.

Watch the trailer here:

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