Durban-produced film ‘The First Grader’ to premiere at London Film Festival

2010-10-23 00:00

THE First Grader, a film produced by Durban-based Videovision Entertainment, will have a gala premiere at the London Film Festival at the prestigious Odeon Theatre in Leicester Square on Tuesday.

Guests expected to attend include the South African High Commissioner, Dr Zola Skweyiya, and his deputy, Cyril Ndaba, the film’s stars — Kenyan Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris — director Justin Chadwick and the producing team.

The First Grader was written by South African-born Emmy winner Ann Peacock and was shown at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals last month.

It was the runner-up in the audience prize competition in Toronto.

Based on a true story, the film is set in a remote primary school in the Kenyan bush where hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for free education promised by the Kenyan government.

One new applicant causes a stir when he knocks on the door of the school.

He is Maruge, an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who fought for the liberation of his country and feels he must have the chance of an education, even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds.

He faces fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste precious school space on such an old man.

The film will be released in South Africa early next year.

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