Mayfair posterMayfair, the new film by award-winning director Sara Blecher (Ayanda, Dis Ek Anna, Otelo Burning) and writer Neil McCarthy, is already making waves around the world. The film is about an estranged son who must break the rules to save his family, and their criminal empire, when his overbearing father falters.

Due for release in South Africa on 26 October 2018, Mayfair has been officially selected for the 62nd BFI London Film festival, which takes place from 10 to 21 October 2018. The film is playing in the ‘Films in Thrill’ section of the BFI London Film festival, described as ‘nerve-shredders that’ll get your adrenaline pumping and keep you on the edge of your seat’.

A festival that celebrates the global diversity of cinema, the line-up for this year’s BFI London Film Festival includes high-profile titles from directors Luca Guadagnino, Ralph Fiennes and the Coen brothers.

Mayfair will also screen at this year’s Africa in Motion (AiM), an annual African film festival taking place in Scotland, from 26 October to 4 November. Now in its twelfth year, AiM brings the best of African cinema to Scotland, making it possible for Scottish audiences to engage with African stories and industry professionals from the continent.

“We are delighted that Mayfair has been selected to screen at these two important global film festivals,” says Blecher.  ‘The BFI London Film Festival is the UK’s most prestigious, representing one of the first opportunities for audiences to see the very best new films from around the globe. Mayfair will be one of nine international premieres at the festival. It highlights the enormous wealth of talent working in film today and we are extremely proud to be part of the programme.  AiM, meanwhile, is one of the leading African film platforms and caters to a varied and diverse audience from all over Scotland, the UK and further afield.”

Mayfair tells the story of prodigal son Zaid Randera (Ronak Patani) who is fired from his job at a refugee camp and returns home to Mayfair in Johannesburg, where his overbearing father Aziz (Rajesh Gopie) – a businessman and occasional money launderer – is facing death threats.

Zaid finds that everything at home has changed. The old neighbourhood is full of new immigrants with different ways of doing things. His father is in over his head as a result of a soured deal with ruthless Somalis. Zaid remains reluctant to become involved but when Faiza, his baby sister, is kidnapped after a failed cash drop to resolve the Somali deal, Zaid must decide how far he is prepared to go to protect his family.

Patani is one of the UK's brightest up and coming British Indian actors. Since entering the industry three years ago, he's worked at the Royal National Theatre, and made his TV and Hollywood debuts.

Rajesh Gopie is a Durban-born award-winning actor, actor-trainer and playwright. His film credits include Keeping Up with The Kandasammys, Hansie, The World Unseen, White Light, and Stellenbosch. He also has a Master’s degree in actor training and coaching from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD).

Mayfair takes the classic gangster film, which peels away the layers of moral hypocrisy beneath the crime boss’s veneer of respectability, and locates it in Johannesburg in suburb that was once defined as “Indian” by the architects of apartheid, but has since become a melting pot of new migrants from across the continent.

“Directed by a woman who has an exceptional track record, Mayfair offers a female perspective on a genre that is distinctly male, and a story that is about manhood,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “It delves into the criminal underworld in a way that is both fresh and frightening.” 

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