Following its 10-minute standing ovation at its world premier at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival, the film "Life, Above All" has been selected as South Africa's official entry into the Best Foreign Film category for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, the Oscars.

Life, Above All

If approved by the awards' selection committee, it will represent South Africa as the nominee for Oscars 2011. The film has been awarded the Prix Francois Chalais, which was presented to South African co-producer Greig Buckle, and the best actress award for first time actress Khomotso Manyaka, at the 31st Durban International Film Festival.

"The film has proven internationally that it is a story that resonates with the audiences by the reception it received at previous global festivals," said Eddie Mbalo, CEO of South Africa's National Film and Video Foundation and chair of the country's Oscars selection committee. "The storyline, high quality direction and production, and the excellent performances portrayed by the actresses will stand the film in good stead when presented to the international Academy Awards selection committee."

Directed by Oliver Schmitz ("Mapantsula"), the film stars Lerato Mvelase ("Home Affairs"), Harriet Manamela ("Hotel Rwanda", "Hijack Stories") and Khomotso Manyaka. It is based on the international award-winning novel "Chanda's Secret" by Allan Stratton. It is an emotional and universal drama about a young girl who fights the fear and shame that has poisoned her community and captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart.

When Azania Muendane, acting head of marketing and public affairs, announced the news to Greig Buckle, the co-producer, he said: "We've received such an unbelievable response wherever the film is shown and we're getting exactly the results we wished for.

I hope that the film goes further and brings home another statuette; the country has waited too long for another one."