Colours of The Nile Film Festival is honoured to open its second festival with the South African emotional and universal drama, Life, Above All which won both the Best South African Feature Film Award and the Best Actress Award at the Durban International Film Festival, and was one of 9 films shortlisted to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film Category.
It is beautifully filmed and masterfully edited, with astounding performances which highlight the film’s “universal resonance”.
First-time actress, Khomotso Manyaka - who stunningly performs the lead role of Chanda in the film gives a natural and touching performance that movingly portrays the resilience, determination and integrity of her character. We are very glad that she will join us in Addis to present the film on the festival’s Opening Night.
Life, Above All is the story of a young girl who fights the fear and shame that has poisoned her community. The film captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart and is directed by South African filmmaker, Oliver Schmitz. The film is based on the international award-winning novel “Chanda’s Secrets” by Allan Stratton.
“In my opinion, films and the stories they tell have to touch people emotionally first and foremost,” says director Oliver Schmitz. “If, in addition, they change people’s consciousness in a positive way, then that’s a great accomplishment. Obviously Life, Above All does send a strong message, but first and foremost, it’s Chanda’s story. The intimacy of this inside out view of the telling of the story is what make the experience so gripping, so moving.”
Schmitz, who is currently shooting his next film, is one of South Africa’s most accomplished directors of Award winning films such as Mappantsula and Hijack Stories both of which are showing in the South African Cinema Focus in this year’s festival. He sends us the following message:
Dear Colours of the Nile film festival!
I view it as a great honour that you will be opening this years festival with LIFE, ABOVE ALL. I am very proud of the film and the achievements of my actors, especially Khomotso Manyaka and Keaobaka Makanyane in the roles of Chanda and Esther, respectivelly. They had never acted before and have shown brilliantly that even if one comes from a small rural town, never having even been on a theater stage, talent and determination are never to be underestimated and once encouraged, their light shines bright.
I regret not being able to attend the festival, due to work committments but what better ambassador of the film can there be than Khomotso Manyaka. She will be there for the opening. I wish the festival all the best and hope to attend the next time!
Very best regards,