NFVF-FUNDED SHORT FILM ‘THE SUIT’ SELECTED FOR MAJOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

‘The Suit’, a short film adaptation of the celebrated short story by Drum legend Can Themba directed by Jarryd Coetsee and produced by Luke Sharland of Mandala Films, has been selected and nominated for the Best Narrative Short Award for the 25th Pan-African Film Festival to be held in Los Angeles from the 9-20th February 2017. ‘The Suit’, which stars Atandwa Kani, Phuthi Nakene and Dr John Kani, has already won the Short Film competition of the Scotland African Film Festival – Africa in Motion held in Edinburgh and Glasgow earlier this year, as well as the Audience Award of the Cape Town leg of the Switzerland-based Shnit International Short Film Festival. The film was selected for the Oscar-qualifying Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. Though not part of the official competition, ‘The Suit’ was given a Special Mention by the jury of the Zanzibar International Film Festival, where it held its official African premiere in July. The film was shown to local audiences as part of the Red Bull Amaphiko Film Festival in Soweto and opened the Mauritius International Film Festival.

Director Jarryd Coetsee commented: “2017 marks fifty years since Can Themba’s untimely death in exile in Swaziland. It is a great honour to share my adaptation of his most famous short story with thousands of different people in Los Angeles which is a city renowned for its vibrant, free-spirited multiculturalism, much like 1950s Sophiatown in which the film is set. It is also a unique opportunity to share and debate the story’s powerful and pertinent message specifically with myriad people of African heritage as well as the broader international community.”

The Pan-African Film Festival, which attracts over 100,000 people yearly, is dedicated to the promotion of cultural understanding among people of African descent. The festival is also committed to racial tolerance through the exhibition of film, art and creative expression.

‘The Suit’ was filmed in Sophiatown in some of the few buildings that survived the forced removals. The James Hall Museum of Transport supplied a bus that actually ran the Sophiatown route in the 1950s when the film is set.

Coetsee says: “On the surface, ‘The Suit’ is about the negative consequences of adultery. But the story actually makes a more substantial comment about the impact of oppression on personal relationships. This is obviously highly relevant in South Africa which continues to grapple with the legacy of colonialism, but it is just as resonant in other countries where oppression exists in many guises. ‘The Suit’ is also a reminder that without a continued cultivation of mutual awareness, the oppressed can become the oppressor.”

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