out this week is "Ten Years Of Freedom - Films
from the New South Africa," which is the biggest event
in the US marking the 10 years since Nelson Mandela was elected. This
was the first free and democratic election in the nation's history.
It was also a remarkable moment in twentieth century history. The
festival will be in New York April 27 - May 2 at the Clearview on Broadway
and 62nd Street.
Ten Years of Freedom: Films from the New South Africa, presented with
the support of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is a full scale film festival
in New York. The week-long events will be the largest celebration in the
United States commemorating the 10th anniversary of the election of Nelson
Mandela, which marked the death of apartheid and inaugurated the first
10 years of South African freedom. Americans have long been inspired by
the South African struggle for freedom, and as the tenth anniversary of
its victory approaches, South Africa continues to energize people who
are committed to true democracy everywhere.
The festival will feature 43 films over six nights. The films will includedocumentaries,
features, shorts, and animation, highlighting the work from a new generation
of South African filmmakers. They include world, U.S. and New York premieres.
A number of events are planned around the festival: a gala opening at
the Schomburg Center in Harlem on April 26th; a special screening at the
American Museum of Natural History; an AIDS benefit; an all-day symposium
at NYU featuring panel discussions on South African issues; a free program
for local schools; a photography exhibition, and more.
The festival opens to the public on April 27th, South African Freedom
Day. Films featured in the festival: "A Lion's Trail," the story
of one of the most recorded song in history "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
which left its originator penniless after an American songwriter stole
the rights,"Guguletu Seven," an investigation of the killing
of seven black men in apartheid South Africa; "Karoo Kitaar Blues,"
a delightful trip into the world of South African music in the tradition
of "The Buena Vista Social Club"; "Cosmic Africa,"
about the first black South African astronomer Thebe Medupe (presented
with the Hayden Planetarium at the AMNH LeFrak Theater--the astronomer
will be present for a Q&A session); and "The Sky in her Eyes,"
a short film about a young girl coping with losing her mother to AIDS.Ten
Years of Freedom is principally organized by Sean Jacobs, a political
analyst and journalist, and a South African citizen; Danny Massey, project
coordinator of The Documentary Campaign and a producer of the critically
acclaimed Sundance-selected film "Persons of Interest"; and
Emmy-award nominated screenwriter and filmmaker Lawrence Konner. The festival's
co-presenting organizations include: The Documentary Campaign, The American
Museum of Natural History, the South African National Film and Video Foundation,
the New York State AFL-CIO, New York University, the Schomburg Center
for Research in Black Culture, the South African Consulate-General New
York, Shared Interest, and Virgin Atlantic Airways, among others.Tickets
are $10, student tickets are $8.
Here are some notable films that will be at the festival
Born into Struggle
Dir: Rehad Desai
70 min., color, video
A Special Work in Progress World Premiere Screening
Wednesday, April 28, 2004 9:00pm
Sunday, May 2, 2004, 2:30pm
A complex story of political exile and a son trying to find his
place in the new South Africa
Rehad Desai, a South African filmmaker, departed South Africa as
an infant, with his politically exiled family bound for England,
where he became an activist following the Soweto uprising of 1976.
He returned home in 1990 with his well-known father, who is soon
negotiating the transition with the apartheid regime. After his
father's death in 1997 Rehad fell into grief and depression. South
African liberation combined with the death of his father are precursors
to Rehad’s grasp of a newfound political and creative freedom
Through an almost brutally intimate portrait of one family, “Born
into Struggle” achieves a searching meditation on the complexities
of political exile and return.
Q&A with director to follow.
Karoo Kitaar Blues
Dir: Liza Key
In English and Afrikaans, with subtitles
60 min., color, video
North American Premiere
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 7:00pm
Saturday, May 1, 2004 10:00pm
A South African “Buena Vista Social Club”
“Karoo Kitaar Blues” is a rousing documentary about
a group of wildly talented but utterly isolated musicians who eventually
come to tour South Africa to rapturous crowds.
In the Karoo, a spare and desolate swath of South Africa, tobacco
farms, cattle ranches, and bare plains dominate a landscape populated
by white landowners and poor, Afrikaans-speaking, “colored”
farm workers. In their isolation, these workers evolved a unique
musical style played on homemade instruments, the Karoo kitaar blues.
In this film, part music documentary and part road movie, musician
David Kramer seeks out the Karoo’s hidden artists, offering
a rare glimpse into a distant social and musical world.
Wa ‘N Wina (Sincerely Yours)
Dir: Dumisani Phakathi
In English, Sotho and Zulu, with subtitles
52 min. color, video
Friday, April 30, 2004 1:30pm
A conversation about sex in Soweto
Filmmaker Dumisani Phakathi returns to his old neighbourhood. With
a camera on his shoulder, he engages with friends to discuss relationships,
sex, and love. Strong characters like Phumla and Timothy expose
their emotions as they talk intimately about the realities of their
street and the choices they have been forced to make. It’s
a rock and roll journey that both reveals the gaps between everyday
life and AIDS campaigns that often talk past the very people they
are supposed to address and people’s will to survive in the
age of AIDS.
Q&A with director to follow
Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony
Dir: Lee Hirsch
In English, Zulu, Xhosa, and Afrikaans with subtitles
108 min., color, 35mm
Sunday, May 2, 2004 10:00pm
A joyous celebration of South African freedom music
The power of song to communicate, motivate, console, unite and,
ultimately, beget change lies at the heart of “Amandla! A
Revolution in Four-Part Harmony,” winner of the Audience Award
and Freedom of Expression Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
“Amandla!” celebrates the freedom music that sustained
and galvanized black South Africans through more than forty years
of struggle against racist white rule. It is an expressive portrait
of South African life, a chronicle of the country’s struggle,
and most of all a love song to its music, featuring inspiring performances
by Vusi Mahlasela, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, and others.
Q&A with director to follow
The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela
Dir.: Thomas Allen Harris
6 min., color, video
A Special Work-in-Progress Trailer Screening
Thursday, April 29, 2004 9:00pm
Friday, April 30, 2004 9:30pm
The year is 1960 and the South African government has just outlawed
the African National Congress, forcing its leaders underground or
into exile. This is the story of the first wave of South African
exiles, members of the ANC youth league, who left their home in
Bloemfontein to broadcast to the world the inhumanity of apartheid.
Their mission, to raise support for the African National Congress
and its leaders, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo.
Together, they created their version of an "underground railroad"
that thousands would follow, leaving South Africa for freedom in
|For more information on the festival, go
If you are press and would like to speak to any of the filmmakers,
Director, Film Division
Rogers & Cowan
640 Fifth Avenue, 5th Fl
New York, NY 10019
P: 212-445-8413 F: 212-445-8290