Hoping to ‘welcome back’ award

2009-02-20 00:00

The Oscar-winning Cape Town film school Afda is holding thumbs for its Honours year film Wamkelekile (Welcome Back), which was selected as the official South African 2009 entry in the 36th Student Academy Awards, which take place today.

Wamkelekile will be competing against the best film schools from Europe, China, Australia, Russia and the rest of the world. Ironically, the nominated production team is made up of a number of international students, including German, Croatian, American, Egyptian and of course South Africans, who all reached across language divides to make a film in Xhosa.

“Well, I am thrilled, of course!” Dorotea Vucic’s reaction on hearing the news while on set of her new film, being shot in Croatia.

Wamkelekile is a story about a young man coming to terms with his father’s mental illness. When Lukhanyo is forced to go back to his village and collect his father, Simpiwe, memories of his eccentric and difficult childhood return.

Starting with their script, the production team set out to find the right locations and cast, bringing a full crew together and braving the Western Cape’s wet winter to shoot this 24-minute film in 10 days.

“We have put our heart and soul into this movie for the last seven months, it is amazing,” says Daniel Morcos, the editor.

The crew were beset with worries after principal photography in that stormy winter of June 2008. They doubted whether it was worth trying to complete the film. Production problems included the death of a family member, the washing away by floods of a location, and the reluctance of a tortoise to obey its handler.

The student awards ceremony takes place at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, Los Angeles.

Afda Johannesburg is a previous award winner of this category with its 2006 entry Elaleni.

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