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‘Otelo Burning’ Premieres in Namibia

Written by Jane Jacobs

FILMAKERS have released many films about apartheid and the struggles endured by black people during the period of institutionalised racial segregation, but more still come out in an effort to capture the true picture of that dark period in history.

Producers will release ‘Otelo Burning’, the latest film focusing on activities during racial segregation at the end of March, elevating the theme to a completely new level. Sara Blecher wrote and directed the film in 2011 and it not only focuses on the troubled times of apartheid, but is also about the discovery of new talent and adventures.

The captivating story of how a 16-year-old township boy embarked on a journey, which broke all stereotypes and introduced him to a whole new world, can inspire people from all walks of life to realise their dreams. When the situation offered Otelo, from the Lamontville Township, the opportunity to escape the violence and heartache cultivated by apartheid, he could never have imagined that his life would take such a whirlwind turn. He broke all barriers and fears that would introduce him to a new world of money, glamour, girls and superstardom by daring into the “white man’s” sport of surfing. This is a tale about life, love, jealousy, ultimatums and how a young boy rose to overcome all trials and tribulations.

This captivating South African film premieres on 31 March and Namibians will have the exclusive privilege of viewing the film before its release in South Africa. Blecher shot and directed ‘Otelo Burning’ in Durban, South Africa, with a cast of extremely talented African actors.

Movie buffs will remember the lead actor Jafta Mamabolo, who portrays the role of Otelo, as Kunene in the 2008 feature film ‘Jerusalema’. ‘Otelo Burning’ featured at the largest and most prestigious film festivals, including the 55th BFI London International Film Festival in October last year. The film scooped 13 nominations at this year’s Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), regarded as Africa’s most prestigious awards for filmmakers.

These nominations for ‘Otelo burning’ are part of the 45 nominations South Africa received in total, to come second to Nigeria who received 53 nominations. AMAA received 328 entries from across Africa, up from 220 in 2011. This includes 134 feature films, 88 short films, 57 documentaries and six animations. Africans in the Diaspora contributed 43 entries, with the rest coming from 23 countries across the continent. Sara Blecher, the recipient of the CNN African Journalist of the Year Award, received the IFP Adrienne Shelly Director’s Grant award in New York for the film.

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