PASSING OF A SOUTH AFRICAN FILM INDUSTRY STALWART
It is with great sadness that the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) was informed about the passing of Junaid Ahmed, an international award winning writer, director, and producer of Happiness is a Four Letter Word, Hard to Get and the upcoming film, Keeping up with the Kandasamys.
“Junaid Ahmed’s contribution to the South African and International film industry is unparalleled and the news of his passing caught us by surprise. Junaid will forever be remembered not only for his belief that it is essential that young aspirant filmmakers are given every opportunity to develop their craft, but also for his humour, sharing nature, and hard work. His memory will live on through the tears, the laughs and the motivation he has given South African audiences through the films he has created over the years. We send our deepest condolences to the Ahmed family and wish them strength during this difficult time,” says Zama Mkosi, CEO of the National Film and Video Foundation.
Ahmed’s journey with the NFVF began with the films Stockholm, Zululand. His relationship has continued to grow with the NFVF family through the years. Ahmed’s hard work and persistence allowed him the opportunity to become one of the first slate fund recipients from the NFVF, through his unique proposition to develop a program targeted at sourcing and developing emerging black talent within the local film industry.
Ahmed’s many accomplishments include his recent blockbuster film Happiness is a Four Letter Word which opened at local cinemas in February, 2016 and drew audiences that South Africa had never seen before. By his own admission, the audience reception for Happiness is a Four Letter Word was awe-inspiring, paving the way for the South African Film Industry. His earlier accomplishments include, The Vow which he directed for Miramax and Channel 4 Films which was sub-titled into 13 European languages and broadcast throughout Europe, Lucky which was screened at more than 80 international festivals in 2006 and nominated for the 2006 British Academy of Film and Television Arts for the Best Short film award, and More Than Just A Game, produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring was bought by Sony Pictures International for world-wide distribution and was successively broadcast in more than 40 countries.
The National Film and Video Foundation will in due course organize a memorial service in honour of Junaid Ahmed for the industry.
May his soul rest in peace and his stories live on.
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