Of Good Report opens film festival in Hollywood next month

2014-01-12 14:00

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When his film Of Good Report was banned last year, Jahmil XT Qubeka’s star was rising.

But there’s no doubt the “child porn” decision by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) was somewhat of a career blessing for the 34-year-old director.

The dark, gripping story of an Eastern Cape serial killer and a teacher’s affair with his pupil was catapulted on to the international film festival circuit and Qubeka ended the year on the list of directors to watch.

This week, it was announced that Of Good Report will open the prestigious 22nd annual Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles next month.

Late last year, it was the closing film at the Africa International Film Festival in Nigeria, where it won Best Feature, just weeks after Qubeka received the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for film.

The modern-day noir thriller was supposed to open the Durban International Film Festival in July last year but was banned at the last minute. Nevertheless, it went on to open the Film Africa festival in London after screenings in Dubai, Glasgow and Chicago.

It was in competition at the illustrious London Film Festival and made its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Back home, the weeklong public outcry died down only when the FPB’s appeals tribunal unbanned Of Good Report and classified it 16SNVL.

Qubeka went on to initiate a R28?million civil claim against the FPB for loss of income and the damage sustained to the cast and crew’s reputations when the board deemed that the film contained child pornography for depicting a sex scene involving a 16-year-old character.

This week, FPB spokesperson Prince Ndamase told City Press the classification of the film will be central to the board’s submission to Parliament when considering changes due to be made to the Films and Publications Act, which was last amended in 1999.

“It will be a reference case. There are weaknesses in the act about how it speaks to issues that affect the FPB’s classifications,” said Ndamase.

He was hopeful that the legislature would use the film to clear up discrepancies around portrayals of sex in films, but was noncommittal when asked if the FPB was hoping for a stricter or more lenient set of rules.

At the time of the appeal ruling, the FPB stood by its original classification.

Asked how he felt about Of Good Report’s international success being spurred by that decision, Ndamase said: “It is in our mandate to help make South African film makers famous. It’s unfortunate that it happened this way.”

Meanwhile, Qubeka has been discussing his new projects in international interviews.

He has six films in active development.

“However, the one closest to my heart is called First Man. It’s an adventure odyssey set 50?000 years ago about a troupe of Khoisan women who embark on an arduous journey to find their missing spouses,” he wrote in a blog on Indiewire.

The FPB has responded to Qubeka’s civil claims and awaits further action from him.

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