RapidLion — the South African International Film Festival — aims to be Africa’s top flight movie awards

Photo courtesy of RapidLion

RapidLion – The South African International Film Festival aims to be the premier marketing platform for films made by moviemakers on the African continent, in the African diaspora and from BRICS nations.

The festival, together with all parties who share the vision of creating a financially prosperous filmmaking industry in the regions referred to above, aim to be a top-tier international film festival, with the highest calibre of films vying for the RapidLion-In-Platinum, an award on par, in stature and design, with the Oscar and the Palme d’or.

The festival and award premise their existence on the fundamental idea that filmmaking is a business, and aim to equip participating filmmakers with an annual event that will awaken the world to the existence of universe-class films outside of the mature territories of North America and Western Europe.

Fostering collaboration is a very big part of the RapidLion quest to achieve this aim. Aspects, a section of the festival, is centered around this concept of connecting film lovers, filmmakers, film distributors, and other parties with an interest in developing the film industry in the RapidLion chosen territories.

Essentially, Aspects is a part of the festival that will focus on issues hindering the process of exposing the world to the talent in the RapidLion territories. The initial Aspects will be held during RapidLion 2016. It will be called Distributor Aspects and will address African cinema’s absence from the international market and what to do about changing this.

“Ultimately, the best awards are geared to improve the industries they are rooted in”, says RapidLion, Eric Miyeni, “The RapidLion-In-Platinum is no exception”. This award, the highest award at RapidLion, is a fusion of an ancient African symbol of excellence and a lioness in full flight.

It is platinum-plated, 280mm tall, weighs 8.4kg and is made by R.S Owens & Company, the Chicago based awards manufacturer that also makes the Oscar award. The idea is to have an award and award ceremony that are on par with the best in the world in order to acknowledge and award the best in the world from outside Hollywood and Cannes.

In a nutshell, RapidLion – The South African International Film Festival is designed to unearth the best filmmaking talent from the new world and expose it to rest of the world.

Tthe first South African film festival to focus on African cinema, names its lifetime achievement award after the father of South African cinema, Dr. Lionel Ngakane.

Dr. Ngakane, a South African who started his film career in 1950, acted opposite Sydney Poitier in Zoltan Korda’s version of Cry The Beloved Country. He went on to be the first indigenous South African to direct a film. His debut fictional movie, the short film “Jemima and Johnny” won first prize at both the Venice and Rimini film festivals.

Dr. Ngakane was instrumental in the formation of the Pan-African Federation of Film Makers, which aimed to foster cooperation between African moviemakers. Having lived most of his life in exile, he returned to his native South Africa in 1994 where he received the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for “…outstanding achievement in the field of movie-making and contribution to the development of the industry in South Africa and on the continent” from the South African government.

“It is an honour for us as a family to have our beloved uncle celebrated in this way”, said lawyer Lungile Ngakane, who represents the Lionel Ngakane Family.

“When we thought of this lifetime achievement award at RapidLion”, said RapidLion Eric Miyeni, “we could not think of a more suitable name than The Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award. This award aims to recognise any individual who contributes greatly to the advancement of African cinema. Uncle Lionel was a Pan-Africanist at heart and he did a hell of a lot to move African cinema forward. We are very ecstatic to be working with the Lionel Ngakane Family on this”.

Film producer Anant Singh will be the first recipient of The Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Singh has been a film producer since 1984 and has made over 84 films. Among some of Mr. Singh’s most memorable works are his anti-apartheid films A Place Of Weeping, Sarafina!, Cry, the Beloved Country and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Yesterday is one of Mr. Singh’s most celebrated work. It received South Africa’s first Academy Award Nomination in the Best Foreign Language Picture category in 2005, an Emmy Nomination in 2006 in the Outstanding Made For Television Movie category and won the Peabody Award.

The 2007 Palm Beach International Film Festival conferred the World Visionary Award to the Mr. Singh for his contribution to world cinema and his production of socially evocative films. Mr. Singh has also been awarded the Golden Horn Award for Outstanding Contributor at the first South African Film and Television Awards in 2006.

His company Videovision Entertainment is internationally renowned, and one of the leading media and entertainment bodies in South Africa, and Africa. There is no dispute that Mr. Singh is a fitting recipient of the first Dr. Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award.

Entries for the 2016 edition of the festival opened July 1, 2016. To enter your film or find out about this African Film Festival, visit the RapidLion website for more.

Source: a RapidLion press release

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