A South African film, ‘Of Good Report’, directed by Jahmil X. T. Qubeka has left an indelible mark on the minds of film stakeholders at the 3rd African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in Calabar Nigeria.
The film opened the festival last Sunday night with a lot talks among participants. Though everybody unanimously agreed it was a technically good film, some stakeholders were not comfortable with its controversial graphic nature. But others believed the level of exposure was tastefully done.
Earlier this year in July, the film was planned to open 34th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). But it was not screened as a result of the refusal for classification by South Africa’s Film and Publications Board.
However it was subsequently cleared on appeal and screened at the last day of the festival.
Eventually the director of the film was honored at the DIFF with a new award for artistic bravery.
The film, tells the story of introvert and seemingly gentle high teacher, Parker Sithole, who is posted to a new school in rural South Africa as a man of good report. In local bar, Parker meets a mesmerizing young woman and falls for her -but the next day, she walks into his classroom.
The film is currently stimulating worldwide discussion and highlighting important issues in South African society and beyond.
It sparked a lot more discussions on salient African issues among delegates who attended the AFRIFF opening ceremony on Sunday.
“Let me commend the organizers of AFRIFF. They started off yesterday with what I believe was a very powerful, emotional, slight controversial and graphic movie but a beautiful way to open the festival,” Silverbird TV’s Michael’s described the film.
“The movie was absolutely brilliant in my opinion. I love it for many reasons; one, it had nothing to do with communism, slavery or racism or any of the traditional issues that we know. It just presented a complex theme in a complex situation and somehow the filmmaker simplified everything so you really have his idea of character. It was controversial to some; I don’t know why it would be controversial. The subject matter, I don’t want to give anything away but it happens every day in Africa, in America. It is a real thing and so we have to look obviously at complex and complex circumstances in life, which are our various lives. I really was inspired as an artiste by the movie,” Hollywood actress, Lynn Whitfield said at a press conference on Monday.
Nollywood actor and producer, Desmond Elliot was of the opinion that, though the film is technically good, it won’t break commercial barriers in Nigeria, because it was just made for festivals.
But Rita Dominic, an actress and producer, who is also an AFRIFF ambassador, thinks otherwise. She said the controversy surrounding the film had great potentials of making it a commercial success.
The ongoing AFRIFF will end on Friday. It is a weeklong world class film showcase under the theme, “Africa Unites.”
Its vision is to raise awareness in Africa about the vast potential the entertainment industry holds and the impact it can generate in the African economy and establish bridges for partnership with international counterparts to ensure quality, expertise and global standards access the local industry, accelerating its sustainable development.
Sunday opening was attended by top filmmakers from around the world. Notable among them were recognized actors and producers Kunle Afolayan, Uche Jombo, Desmond Elliot, Segun Arinze, Rita Dominic, Ghana’s darling girl, Lydia Forson, Chioma Akpotha, Omoni Oboli, Hollywood’s Lynn Whitfield and a host of others.
A lot other top African movies were screened at the festival as well as workshops and seminars. Ghana’s actress Lydia Forson gave a talk about acting at one of the seminars. There were also acting classes and a number of parties as part of the festival.