SA film chosen for Berlin International Film Festival

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A South African film is set to make its world premiere at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival next week. The film, Shepherds and Butchers, is based on Chris Marnewicks book of the same name and tells a story that made headlines across South Africa in 1987.

Prison warder Leon Labuschagne, 19, was working in the Death Row cells at the Pretoria Maximum prison when he was accused of killing seven members of a Diepsloot karate team in an incident of road rage.

It was up to Labuschagnes lawyer to create a defence that would save his client from facing Death Row as an inmate. The author, Marnewick, wove this case, involving real people, into a novel.

The movie follows a jaded lawyer, Johan Weber, who takes on the apparently hopeless murder case, to defend Labuschagne.

Produced by Anant Singh and Brian Cox, what ensues is a compelling charge against the death penalty itself, in a case that changes history.

Speaking to The Times, Singh said the Berlin film festival was one of the three biggest festivals, with Cannes and Toronto.

Singh said: To have a South African film in the official selection category is important. It helps our profile as South African filmmakers when our films are recognised.

Shepherds and Butchers is directed by multi award-winning director Oliver Schmitz and stars Academy Award and Golden Globes nominee Steve Coogan, Andrea Riseborough and newcomer Garion Dowds.

Apart from being a South African story told by South Africans, it features local talent - including Deon Lotz, Robert Hobbs and Eduan van Jaarsveldt.

Its exciting times for the South African film industry. There are many young filmmakers with huge talent and its refreshing. We need to make films of a certain quality, but theres not a formula. Filmmakers just need to continue being creative, Singh said.
Source: Times Live 5 February 2016