SA film-maker scoops top award at festival

2012-01-26 00:00

SOUTH African filmmaker Ettiene Kallos is one of four people awarded the 2012 Sundance Institute’s Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award.

The award, given in recognition and support of emerging independent film-makers around the world, was presented to him during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Tuesday.

Kallos, who is currently working on the film Vrystaat, received $10 000 (R80 116), year-round mentoring from staff at the Sundance Institute and other creative advisers, and participation in a feature film programme laboratory.

The other recipients were Australian Ariel Klei­man, for Partisan; Dominga Sotomayor from Chile, for Late To Die Young; and Shonali Bose from India, for Margarita, With A Straw.

Kallos’s new film, Vrystaat, is set during the annual maize harvest in the Free State, and explores the rites of passage into manhood for a new generation as they navigate identity and sexuality.

Developed at the Cannes Cinefondation Residence programme in Paris, the film is the New York-based film-maker’s latest offering and follows his award-winning Eersgeborene, the first Afrikaans-language film to be awarded a Lion for Best Short Film at the 2009 Venice Film Festival.

Eersgeborene, Afrikaans for “firstborn”, was his thesis project for his master’s degree in film directing at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Eersgeborene tells the story of incestuous brothers on a remote ostrich farm, who descend into matricide and madness.

Another of his short films, Doorman, was screened at the Cannes film festival in 2006 to critical acclaim.

Kallos frames much of his work around his unique perspective as a Greek from South Africa, as well as the exploration of sexuality and masculine identity.

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