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‘Dear Mandela’ film launches countrywide Human Rights Campaign

22 March 2012 –

Set in Durban, the producers of Dear Mandela have launched a country-wide campaign aimed at highlighting human rights violation in commemoration of human rights month.

Endorsed by international human rights group Amnesty International, the film will commemorate Human Rights Day (21 March) at a special screening held on Friday March 23 at the Steve Biko Lecture Theatre at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN). The campaign, launched on Monday 19 March at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS,) will also honour Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary. The campaign involves year- long screenings of Dear Mandela which will run throughout 2012 until Human Rights Day 2013. The film, produced by Fireworx Media together with New York based Sleeping Giant Films, is set to screen at public venues such as schools, community halls, universities, churches, and informal settlements around the country.

The Producers are currently finalizing the details of an Africa wide broadcast deal. Watch press for details. “We hope the screenings will encourage interaction and spark new relationships between members of society who might otherwise be divided by race, class or geography,” said South African co-producer of the film Neil Brandt.

Dear Mandela explores the hopes, lives and challenges of three young people living in the informal settlements of Durban. The film was screened at the Kennedy Road Informal Settlement, as part of an initial outreach campaign funded by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). An “amazing” audience reception inspired the film’s producers to subsequently create a national campaign that would deliver the widespread message of the film.

“We truly want young people in every city, town and village to be inspired by the film, and to work towards positive social change within their communities, schools, churches and workplaces”, said Brandt.

Dear Mandela was awarded the Best South African Documentary Award at the Durban International Film Festival last year, where it also had its world premiere. Producers of the film are “thrilled” to be working alongside Amnesty International, who they believe “share the same commitment to human rights”.

The film has garnered international interest and has been screened at the Camden international Film Festival, which is recognized as one of the top 25 documentary film festivals in the world. It has also been selected for the One World International Human Rights Documenatry Film Festival in Prague (8-11 March 2012), and the Movies that Matter Film Festival in The Hague (26-28 March 2012). The film has also been nominated for 2012 Best Documentary Award at the African Movie Academy Awards set to take place in Lagos, Nigeria on 22 April 2012.

Brandt, a local filmmaker based in Johannesburg is also a Durban FilmMart past participant. Brandt’s feature film The Dream of Shahrazad was chosen as an official project at Durban FilmMart 2010, a coproduction and finance forum created through a partnership between the Durban Film Office and the Durban International Film Festival.

Brandt’s involvement in Dear Mandela is based on his desire as a filmmaker to create a “platform for energized debate and free expression”.

“Every day, protesters around the country hit the streets to demand an end to broken promises, corruption and unlawful evictions. Films have a way of starting conversations, and we hope that all over the country, people of all stripes will be inspired to reach across socio-economic barriers, to come together and make South Africa the country it deserves to be,” said Brandt.

Human Rights Day honors the 69 people who died and the 180 people who were wounded in Sharpeville on 21 March 1960. Police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered to protest against the Pass laws. The Sharpeville massacre was a turning point in the struggle to end apartheid, and was a brutal reminder of the sacrifices that come with standing up to injustice.

The campaign will call for a reaffirming of human rights in South Africa: freedom from eviction, freedom of expression, dignity and equality for all.

Dear Mandela will have a public screening on Friday March 23 at 17:00 for 17:30 at the Steve Biko Lecture Theatre, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, UKZN, 719 Umbilo Road. Entry is R20.

For more information on upcoming screenings please go to www.dearmandela.com or join the films Facebook page

For more information on Fireworx Media please go to www.fireworxmedia.co.za
PREPARED FOR: The Durban Film Office

FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Megan van den Heever, FBI Communications
cell: +2784 282 7674. E-mail: megan@fbicommunications.com / info@fbicommunications.com

NOTES :
The Durban Film Office (DFO) is the film industry development arm of the eThekwini Municipality, mandated to position Durban as a world-class film production destination and facilitator for the development of the local film industry. The DFO drives activity and development in the sector in order to boost tourism, job creation and the development of core skills and SMME’s in the region. www.durbanfilmmart.com

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