Major honour in Europe for South African short film

21 April 2017


South African short film “The Suit”, written and directed by Jarryd Coetsee, and based on the celebrated short story by Can Themba, will be shown to audiences in Paris, Brussels, Rome, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Athens, Madrid, Stockholm and Vienna.

The Suite 261

Includes 24 different cities and towns across France, as part of one of the most prestigious film festivals in Europe, La Collection du Panorama des Nuits en Or (The Collection of the Panorama of the Golden Nights) which runs from the 30th May 2017 – 15th June 2017. The film will also be screened at a gala evening attended by France’s leading film-makers and actors, hosted by UNESCO in Paris.

The César Award is widely considered to be the highest honour for film in France, the French equivalent of the Oscars in the United States and the BAFTAs in the United Kingdom. Every year, the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma (Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques), the organization that gives out the César Award, holds a film festival called Le Panorama des Nuits en Or (The Panorama of the Golden Nights) which comprises all the short films from around the world that received awards from their national cinema academies during the past year.

From the Panorama, the Comité Exploitants Court Métrage de l’Académie (the Academy’s Short Film Committee) selects a shortlist consisting of the winner of the César du Meilleur Film de Court Métrage (the César Award for Best Live Action Short Film), the winner of the César du Meilleur Film d’Animation - Court Métrage (the César Award for Best Animated Short Film) and a selection of short films from around the world. This latter shortlist is known as La Collection (The Collection). The Collection will be presented in 24 cinemas in different cities and towns across France from the 30th May 2017 – 3rd June 2017. “The Suit” has been selected for the Panorama and the Collection.

The Academy invites all the directors of the Panorama to attend a ten day trip (Le Tour - The Tour) to Europe in some of the capitals that project the Panorama. Each session will be followed by a Q&A with the film-makers. The Tour will end in Paris with the glitzy Nuits en Or Gala Dinner to be held at UNESCO on Monday, 12th June 2017, attended by France’s film stars and leading film-makers.

Director Jarryd Coetsee says: “On receiving the news, I spent several hours reeling from the pleasant surprise. I think it’s phenomenal and truly a great privilege that our film will be shown in the birthplace of cinema and across most of Europe. This is a considerable milestone for Mandala Films and a fantastic achievement for our cast and crew. I can’t wait to share Can Themba’s consequential story with audiences abroad.”

“The Suit” was produced by Luke Sharland of Mandala Films in association with the National Film and Video Foundation and a partnership with AFDA. The story is set in 1950s Sophiatown and focuses on the deteriorating marriage of a lawyer named Philemon (played by Atandwa Kani) who is cuckolded by his lonely wife Matilda (Phuthi Nakene). Philemon forces Matilda to treat her lover’s suit as if it were a person, with tragic consequences. John Kani delivers a masterful cameo performance as the township gossip, Mr. Maphikela, who reveals the affair to Philemon. The film was shot in historic locations in Sophiatown.

“The Suit” won the Golden Horn for Best Short Film at the South African Film and Television Awards (or SAFTAs) in March. “The Suit” also won the Best Short Film competition of the Scotland African Film Festival, held in Edinburgh and Glasgow, in November, the Audience Award of the Cape Town leg of the Swiss Shnit International Short Film Festival and it will compete for the Golden Young African Filmmaker’s Award after showing in nineteen different Belgian cities as part of the Leuven African Film Festival in April 2017.

“The Suit” was selected for two Oscar-qualifying film festivals: Urbanworld in New York City, and the Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles where it was given a Special Jury Mention. “The Suit” also received a Special Jury Mention at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and it opened the Mauritius International Short Film Festival. “The Suit” will show in New York City at the prestigious Schomburg Center’s Best of the Fests and the New Voices, Black Cinema Film Festival both in New York City also in April 2017. The film was well-received at the Toronto Black Film Festival and the Vancouver South African Film Festival in Canada, as well as the Red Bull Amaphiko Film Festival in Soweto earlier this year.

Source: Filmcontact 18 April 2017