KwaZulu-Natal director wins coveted award with first feature film

2009-05-25 00:00

IZULU Lami (My Secret Sky), the first feature film directed by KwaZulu-Natal’s Madoda Ncayiyana, has been awarded the coveted Dikalo Best Feature Film prize at the International Pan African Film Festival in Cannes.

The film, one of only eight shot in South Africa last year, has been invited to be part of the Tarifa Film Festival, the Dubai International Film Festival and the Nara International Film Festival in Japan.

Written by Durban filmmakers and scriptwriters Julie Frederikse and Ncayiyana, Izulu Lami tells the story of two young children who leave their rural homestead after their mother’s death and wind up on the streets of Durban.

“What is unique and compelling are the performances of the young children who star in the film,” said Frederikse, who co-produced the film for Durban’s Vuleka Productions with Johannesburg’s Dv8 Films. “A film starring children needs a really good director to make it work and Madoda formed a strong bond with these children, who were all first-time actors.”

Watching the young actors on screen proved to be a special experience for Ncayiyana. “Not long ago, when I first cast these children from the Inanda-Ntuzuma-KwaMashu area of the eThekwini Municipality and from rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, they would look down and smile nervously at the idea that they would be on a film set,” he said.

“Now I watch them giving stunning, professional and confident performances on the big screen, and I marvel at what we have achieved together.”

Commenting on the film’s award, Tony Monty of the Durban Film Office said: “The Dikalo award is terrific recognition. The fact that it was made in Durban makes us even more proud.”

Izulu Lami was inspired by The Sky in Her Eyes, a short film made by Vuleka Productions as part of a collection of films about HIV and Aids. And that first film, like the longer one it inspired, also won an award — the Djibril Diop Mambety Award for Best African Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2003.

Izulu Lami can be seen in cinemas nationwide from August, after its South African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in July. The film will be available on DVD through Ster-Kinekor Home Entertainment and will be broadcast on SABC2 towards the end of the year.

Vuleka is producing a faciliator’s guide for any organisations wanting to use the film for group screenings to spark discussion around issues relating to children orphaned by Aids.

For details, phone 083 309 8956 or 031 261 9650, or e-mail

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