NFVF funded short film, “As I Am” has been selected for the 23rd edition of the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF).
This will be the world premiere of the film, which first screened at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) in 2014. “As I Am” is director and screenwriter Sihle Hlophe’s fiction directorial debut. The talented young filmmaker has directed and written a handful of documentaries.
The film is about a soft, sensitive man who has to learn to assert himself when his chauvinistic younger brother tries to hijack their father’s funeral arrangements. The film is unique in that it is in SiSwati, a minority language that is largely underrepresented in the local film industry. “I would go so far as to say it is probably one of the first SiSwati films of cinematic quality”, says Hlophe, who is very excited about promoting the use of her mother tongue in the local and international film industry. Although the story is set in Mpumalanga, the film was shot on location in Magaliesburg. The film was funded by the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) and produced by veteran filmmakers Ramadan Suleman and Neville Josie and highly regarded academic Professor Bheki Peterson. The film has given a platform to emerging SiSwati speaking actors, particularly the two lead actors, Badidile Mazibuko and Jabulani Nkhabinde.
“I’m honored to be part of such a reputable international film festival”, says Hlophe. PAFF was established in 1992 and has gone on to become the largest and most prestigious black film festival in America. PAFF is geared towards presenting and showcasing a broad spectrum of creative works by filmmakers of African ancestry from the USA, Africa and the diaspora. PAFF has premiered well-received films such as “Think Like A Man”, “Love & Basketball” and “Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day”. Every year PAFF recognizes top industry players of African descent, past recipients include Forest Whitaker, Idris Elba, Sydney Poiter, Phylicia Rashad and David Oyelowo. Hlophe is excited about her upcoming trip to Los Angeles where she will attend the film festival and promote her film. The festival will take place in Los Angeles, California in February 2015.
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