Sony Pictures Classics has picked up Oliver Schmitz's Life, Above All, winner of the Cannes Fest Francois Chalais Prize. The South African director is known for Mapantsula and his recent contribution to Paris, je t'aime. Life, Above All is based on Allon Stratton's young adult novel, Chanda's Secrets.
The film follows a young African girl who struggles to hold her family together through death and tragedy. SPC acquired the pic from Munich's Bavaria Film International, from whom they had also bought Run Lola Run and Good Bye, Lenin!.
Look for SPC to chase awards for the film; the distrib is usually a factor in the foreign Oscar race. It's reassuring that a subsidiary of the company trying to turn every entertainment experience into a 3-D spectacle still cares about supporting art films that tackle non-comic book topics like HIV in poverty-ridden sub-Saharan Africa.
[Photos: Khomotso Manyaka, Oliver Schmitz]