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'Otelo Burning' Director Sara Blecher Talks Next Project Johannesburg-Set 'Andani And The Mechanic'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 19, 2014 3:36 PM
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otelo burning

It was one of 18 projects by African filmmakers selected for the finance forum of the Durban FilmMart (DFM) last summer; At the time, all we really knew about it was its title. And now, thanks to a recent interview the filmmaker gave to our friends at Smart Monkey TV, we know a bit more.

The Durban FilmMart, which is a 

co-production, finance market, and filmmakers networking event, is a joint program of the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). The event, an important event on the South African film calendar, is an opportunity for filmmakers, financiers and top film experts to gather and share expertize, explore new ventures and keep up to date with industry trends.

The finance forum of the DFM provides filmmakers from across Africa an opportunity to pitch their projects to international financiers, distributors, sales agents and potential co-producers, as well as meet experts in master classes, attend meetings and engage with industry professionals.

Sara Blecher
Sara Blecher

A total of 113 submissions, comprising 31 documentaries and 82 features were received, out of which 8 documentaries and 10 fiction projects were selected. 

South African filmmaker Sara Blecher's Andani And The Mechanic was one of the 10 fiction projects. 

If her name sounds familiar, it's because she directed an S&A feature film highlight in 2012 (one of our favorite films of that year) the South African coming-of-age drama Otelo Burning - a gripping story of township kids as they discover surfing, set in late 1980s, against the backdrop of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

After capturing 17 International Awards, the film enjoyed a limited theatrical run, starting at New York’s new cinemas at MIST Harlem - an affair that was attended by the filmmaker, and one of the stars of the film, Sihle Xaba.

Now many more of you can see it, since the film is now available through Sundance Institute, as a result of the partnership between Sundance Institute and IFP, who release several of their alumni films a year through this collaboration. You'll find it on several platforms including iTunesAmazon Instant VideoMicrosoft XboxSony Entertainment NetworkSundanceNOWVUDU and YouTube

Filmed on location in Durban, written by Sara Blecher, James Whyle and The Cast Workshop, and directed by Blecher (Surfing Soweto), Otelo Burning was further honored at the 2012 African Movie Academy Awards, where it won 2 of 13 total nominations, including the prize for Best Cinematography and Best Child Actor (Tshepang Mohlomi).

You really should see it! Trust me!

Now Blecher is hard at work on her follow-up feature, Andani And The Mechanic, a new film about a young woman who inherits a garage from her father and struggles to make it work in Johannesburg's "African district," Yeoville.

In the below video interview with Smart Monkey TV, Blecher talks a little further about the upcoming project and its setting.

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