The 2017 South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) are getting closer. Here is a look at the contenders for Best Feature Film.
Noem My Skollie
Noem My Skollie, or Call Me Thief, was South Africa’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards. Though it ended up not being nominated, being SA’s official entry speaks very highly of this film. The Afrikaans-language Noem My Skollie tells the true story of a young Capetonian man in the 1960s who became a storyteller in jail. After his release from jail he pursues a new life as a writer before his friends rope him into a difficult situation that his storytelling skills help him get out of. According to FunDza, Noem My Skollie is a “demonstration of how stories can transform your life.” Noem My Skollie is based on the life of scriptwriter John W. Fredericks. The drama was directed by Daryne Joshua and stars Dann Jaques Mouton as Abraham and Sandi Schultz as Kettie. This moving and thrilling film features powerful performances and is the favorite to win this year. It received a total of 10 SAFTA nominations, ahead of the other nominated films.
Shepherds and Butchers
The English-language film Shepherds and Butchers is an adaptation of a novel by Chris Marnewick. The drama takes place during the height of apartheid in South Africa and tells the story of a white prison guard who goes on a shooting spree, killing seven black men. Much of the story focuses on the lawyer who argues that his client’s actions were the result of the traumatic work environment of the prison, hoping to spare him the death penalty. Shepherds and Butchers received the Panoroma Audience Award at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. It stars Garion Dowds as the prison guard and Steve Coogan as the lawyer. Shepherds and Butchers features brilliant cinematography and good historical detail. This film received nine total SAFTAs nominations, including Best Achievement in Directing for Oliver Schmitz and Best Actor for Garion Dowds.
Sink was right behind Shephards and Butchers, with eight total SAFTA nominations. Sink is an emotionally devastating Afrikaans-language drama. It tells the story of Rachel, a Mozambican domestic worker living in Johannesburg whose daughter tragically dies while under the care of her employers. Writer and director Brett Michael Innes describes the film as “a uniquely South African story” that can also translate universally. The film stars Shoki Mokgabe as Rachel, who also received a Best Actress nomination.
All three films are worthy of their nominations and any one of them could grab the Golden Horn. Taken as a whole, the three films very much celebrate what South Africa has got.