Fanie Fourie's Lobola, Henk Pretorius's romcom, will be shown at the Seattle International Film Festival under the inaugural listing of its African Pictures Programme. The 25-day American festival runs from 16 May to 9 June.

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The South African romantic comedy, Fanie Fourie's Lobola, has been selected for screening at the 39th Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). This festival is renowned for presenting more than 250 features and 150 short films from over 70 countries each year.

Paul Mashatile, the minister of arts and culture, has commended the film by saying that it does the country proud. Co-writer and producer Janine Eser said: "We are very excited that the movie will be screened at the Seattle International Film Festival, which is a high-profile, big event. To have the programmers of this event show such interest in the film is a coup for South African cinema."

Founded in 1976, SIFF allows people to discover extraordinary films from around the world through the main festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education. Recognised as one of the top film festivals in North America, SIFF is the largest, most attended film festival in the United States. Each year, more than 150 000 people attend.

SIFF Cinema exhibits leading theatrical items, repertory, classic, and revival film showings 365 days a year on four screens at the SIFF Film Center and the historic SIFF Cinema Uptown. SIFF Education offers educational programmes for all audiences, serving more than 11 000 students and youth with free programmes each year. SIFF received the 2012 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences multiyear grant for its African Pictures Programme and will run the programme for three years.

"The grant has given SIFF an unprecedented opportunity as a major international film festival to showcase a substantive programme of films from Africa and we are delighted that a South African film has made it into the inaugural programme," said Helen Kuun from Indigenous Film Distribution, the South African distributor of Fanie Fourie's Lobola.

"The festival has a well-established reputation as a great audience festival that filmmakers love to attend and it provides them with an excellent opportunity to show their movies to a wide audience."

Fanie Fourie's Lobola opened in South Africa on 1 March. It tells the story of a couple from two different backgrounds, one an Afrikaner and the other a Zulu, who fall in love and have to navigate their way through the complicated process of lobola.

It stars Zethu Dlomo, Eduan van Jaarsveldt, Chris Chameleon, Lillian Dube, Motlatsi Mafatshe, Jerry Mofokeng and Marga van Rooy, among others. It was produced by Lance Samuels, Kweku Mandela and Janine Eser. The movie was directed by Henk Pretorius, who co-wrote the script with Eser.

It won Best Audience Award at the Jozi Film Festival in February.