Midlands schoolgirl wins Durban award for her short film

2009-08-03 00:00

MIDLANDS schoolgirl Amber-Jay van Rooyen has added another trophy to her growing collection of awards after her film Coming Home scooped top honours in the South African short film category at the 2009 Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

Speaking to The Witness after Saturday night’s ceremony at uShaka Marine World, 14-year-old Amber-Jay, from Mooi River, said: “I was shocked. I really didn’t expect this … but it means so much, because it’s an award from home.”

Explaining why they chose Coming Home as the Best South African Short Film, the jury said they found it touching with a deep, sincere story, and a strong message of personal strength.

The Diff award comes hot on the heels of accolades at the CIAK Junior Film Festival Awards in Treviso, Italy, where Coming Home was named Best Film and won the Unesco Fellini medal for the film that best embodies the spirit and culture of its country.

In her personal capacity, Amber-Jay also won the CIAK award for Best Actor for her role in the film, which tells the story of a young city girl who moves to a midlands farm and battles to settle in. On the farm she meets an old Zulu Sangoma (played by Hlomla Dandala), who teaches her three important life lessons.

Coming Home is based on Amber-Jay’s story, Learn To Be Yourself, which was the winning entry from KwaZulu-Natal in the SABC’s Lights Camera Action film project in 2006.

The Diff screenings marked the first time the filmhas been shown in South Africa. It is scheduled to be flighted on SABC 1 early next year.

Other South African films honoured at the event were Shirley Adams, which won the prizes for Best South African film, Best First Feature Film and Best Actress for Denise Newman; The Silver Fez, which won Best South African Documentary; and Rough Aunties, a documentary that won the Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award.

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