Critical acclaim for Son of Man
Not only did independent South African film Son of Man win the Festival Award for Best Feature at the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles in March 2006, it has been chosen for the World Cinema competition category at the Sundance Film Festival in America and will be screened at the Sundance Institute @ BAM in New York in May, as part of the celebration of 25 years of Sundance.
Cinema critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described Son of Man as continuing "the South African film renaissance" and "one of the most extraordinary and powerful films at Sundance".
The film also received the Seattle Weekly award for Best Film at Sundance, with the Los Angeles Times describing it as "...some of the most exciting filmmaking of the entire festival" and London's The Daily Telegraph calling it "...a vivid, thrilling, visually awe-inspiring piece of cinema".
The film will be screened at churches in Cape Town over the Easter weekend, at the Durban Film Festival in June, and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July.
"We want to ensure that as many people as possible get to see the film so we're looking at ways of alternative distribution. South Africa should look to the models created in Nigeria and India, as well as the standard European and American one," says director Mark Dornford-May. "The positive response of church leaders to Son of Man enables us to open it within this core constituency first, following a similar pattern as that established by The Passion of the Christ."
Son of Man is the second film by theatre company Dimpho Di Kopane, makers of 2005 Golden Bear winner U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, and was made in association with Spier Films and Film & Music Entertainment, with support from Nando's. The film translates Jesus' life to modern day Africa, with Jesus inciting revolution during a military dictatorship. It was written by Mark Dornford-May, Andiswa Kedama and Pauline Malefane, the star of U-Carmen eKhayelitsha.
The biggest Black History Month event in the US, the PAFF was attended by over 150 000 people. Over 150 films made by or about people of African descent - from the US, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Europe and Canada - were screened. PAFF also included a section of international films from the developing world.
Churches in Cape Town where Son of Man will be screened between 8-18 April are the Emmanuel Methodist Church in Gugulethu, Athlone Methodist Church, Central Methodist Church in Long Street, Langa Methodist Church, Rosebank Methodist Church and Trinity Methodist Church in Nyanga East.