Fulu Mugovhani stars as Ayanda
Fulu Mugovhani stars as Ayanda alongside Nigerian actor OC Ukeje, backed up by a strong South African cast. The film is due to be released in local cinemas on 28 August.

Highly anticipated film Ayanda, set in Johannesburg's vibrant Afropolitan community of Yeoville, has been announced as the opening night film of the 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which takes place from 16 to 26 July.

The film, directed by Sara Blecher and produced by Real Eyes in association with Leading Lady Productions, had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on 13 June after a successful screening at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

Ayanda tells the story of 21-one year old Afro-hipster Ayanda, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery when her late father's motor repair shop is threatened with closure. Fighting to keep the shop going, she is thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars, which she brings back to life with a young woman's re-inventive touch.

Fulu Mugovhani of Scandal fame plays Ayanda alongside Nigerian actor OC Ukeje, backed up by a strong South African cast including Ntathi Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Jafta Mamabola, Thomas Gumede, Sihle Xaba, and veteran actress Vanessa Cooke.

"We are pleased that this feel-good film will open this year's festival," DIFF director Pedro Pimenta said in a statement earlier this month. "The opening film of this, the most prestigious international film event in South Africa, needs to reflect a clear priority established by the festival to reach and develop local audiences."

Pimenta said the National Film and Video Foundation's recently published audience research report had shown that, while the industry has been successfully structured and supported to allow a regular flow of South African content, much still needed to be done for this content to reach local audiences.

"By once again opening the DIFF with a strong South African film, we endorse this objective," he said.

This will be the second opening night film at DIFF for director Sara Blecher, whose film Otelo Burning opened the 2011 festival to critical acclaim.

"Ayanda offers an interesting and positive convergence of talents, style, resources and distribution potential for the film market," Pimenta said. "There is a real sense that reaching an audience has been the most important motivation, equally shared by the filmmakers and their financiers in its creation."

Co-producer Terry Pheto said the film "celebrates the diversity of our country and revels in the fact that we are a multi-cultural, colourful and exciting melting pot of Africa."

Ayanda is due to be released in local cinemas on 28 August.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission