South African documentary Dear Mandela won big at the Brooklyn Film Festival this week.
The film, directed by KwaZulu-Natal-born Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza scooped the Grand Chameleon Award for best film and documentary at the closing night ceremony of the festival.
The film, which focuses on the eviction of shack dwellers, begins when the South African government promises to “eradicate the slums”.
The story centres on three friends who live in Durban’s vast shantytowns and refuse to be moved.
“Dear Mandela follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela’s example and become leaders in a growing social movement,” reads its description on the festival’s website.
It is inspiring, devastating and funny, and offers a new perspective on the role young people could play in political change, according to the website.
Kell is an award-winning South African film-maker and has edited documentaries about international justice and prison reform.
On the Dear Mandela website, Kell wrote: I was born in Newcastle in 1980 and grew up during the height of popular protest against apartheid... Witnessing the birth of a new nation in my early teens sowed the seeds of my film-making career.”
Nizza is a New York City-born film-maker and editor whose work includes commercials, music videos, documentaries and Emmy Award-winning television work.
The film had also won Best South African Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival, Movies That Matter’s Golden Butterfly award and was an African Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary.