The South African films Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, iNumber Number, Berea, Unogumbe, Khumba, and Of Good Report are screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which runs until 15 September.


This year's TIFF programme includes 288 feature films and more than 140 world premieres. There are 15 separate programmes, featuring films from 70 different countries.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is the eagerly awaited screen adaptation of Nelson Mandela's autobiography of the same name and stars Idris Elba (The Wire; Luther) in the title role. Justin Chadwick (The First Grader; The Other Boleyn Girl ) is the director.

Vincent Moloi's Berea is part of the African Metropolis Short Film Project Series. It is a compelling drama about the anxiety of an elderly gentleman disoriented by the radical urbanisation of his neighbourhood.

iNumber Number, written and directed by Donovan Marsh, is an action-packed heist thriller about a pair of cops battling corrupt colleagues as well as a gang of armoured-car thieves.

Jahmil XT Qubeka's Of Good Report, about an illicit affair between an introverted high school teacher and his pupil that spirals out of control, hit the international headlines when it was first banned, and then unbanned, by South Africa's Film and Publication Board at the recent Durban International Film Festival.

Directed by Anthony Silverston, Khumba is an animated 3D release which features the voices of Liam Neeson, Laurence Fishburne, and Steve Buscemi. The film tells of a semi-striped zebra on a quest for a legendary watering hole.

From the rest of Africa are two other films from the African Metropolis series: Homecoming by Kenyan Jim Chuchu and To Repel Ghosts, from Ivoirian Philippe Lacôte. Homecoming casts a voyeur's obsession with the girl next door, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, science fiction and fiction, while Jean-Michel Basquiat's voyage of spiritual atonement to the Ivory Coast shortly before his death is the inspiration for To Repel Ghosts.

African feature films at Toronto include Nigerian Biyi Bandele's screen adaptation of Half of a Yellow Sun, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton. It is set during the Biafran War.

There is also the Kenyan / German co-production, Something Necessary, from Judy Kibinge. The film is described as an uplifting parable about atonement, set against the deadly violence that followed the 2007 elections in Kenya.

Bastardo, directed by Nejib Belkadhi, is a Tunisia / France / Qatar co-production. This combination of film noir and magic realism follows a downtrodden orphan — now grown but still saddled with a cruel nickname — who has a reversal of fortune and takes on the thugs who control his ghetto.

The Eygpt / US documentary epic, The Square, is the result of director Jehane Noujaim (Control Room) and her crew's dogged chronicling of activism, unrest and revolution in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Source – ScreenAfrica