Cape Town - The Western Cape will definitely get its moment on the red carpet at next month’s prestigious Academy Awards, with two films shot here being nominated for that sought-after gold statuette.
the Swedish/British co-production Searching for Sugar Man, which features Cape Town from its opening scene, was named as one of five nominees in the documentary feature category. In addition, locally filmed Somali story Asad has been shortlisted for the short film live action Oscar.
Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Swede Malik Bendjelloul, tells the story of South Africans Stephen Segerman and Craig Bartholomew-Strydom, who go on a search for American musician Sixto Rodriguez – an artist fairly unknown in the US but hugely popular in South Africa.
Segerman owns Mabu Vinyl music store in Rheede Street, Gardens, which features in the film.
On Friday he said he was ecstatic to learn last month that the film had made the shortlist of 15 titles in the category, from a total of 126.
Then came Thursday’s news of the official five nominees.
“It was a stressful, long wait. This is very exciting. This is hyper-crazy. I am at a loss for words and am very thrilled,” he said.
Segerman and Bartholomew-Strydom will attend the official Academy Awards ceremony in the US next month. “We would love to win. I have heard chatter that we are one of the favourites. The other titles are political. Searching for Sugar Man is different. It is about music and is a feel-good film. A win would mean the world.”
Following the making of the film, Rodriguez appeared on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman, and will be a guest on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno soon.
“The Oscars will bring millions more attention to the film,” Segerman predicted.
The film can be viewed on iTunes and Netflix online.
“Rodriguez has created a new conscience about what happens when you don’t pay for music,” Segerman said. Customers have been coming into the shop to buy Rodriguez’s CDs to ensure he got paid, rather than downloading.
The film, which was released to Ster-Kinekor theatres at the end of August last year, topped the group’s Nouveau Top Ten between October and December.
It has already won awards at film festivals in Amsterdam, Athens, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Moscow, Oslo and Durban, and two prestigious awards at Sundance (Audience Award and Special Jury Prize). Grant Pascoe, mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing, said the film’s Oscar nomination would help Cape Town with destination marketing.
“Cape Town is now a popular venue for shooting and the city is prominently displayed in both these films.”
Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism chief executive, said the documentary was a great showcase of Cape Town’s iconic landmarks.
“The international screening and distribution of the film is leading to tremendous international exposure for Cape Town, and we are very excited about the Oscar nomination.”
Amid all the Oscar excitement, Big Concerts announced on Friday it would add a fourth concert to Rodriguez’s February shows at Grand Arena, GrandWest. Tickets for February 9 are now on sale, priced from R310 to R520. They are available from their website (www.bigconcerts.co.za) and via Computicket. His five Joburg shows are all sold out.
Meanwhile, 18-minute short Asad has already scooped honours at film festivals in Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Rhode Island and at Tribeca.
It was shot in Paternoster in 2011 and featured a cast of Somalis, mostly from Bellville.
The film was directed by American Bryan Buckley, owner of the US production company Hungry Man, and co-produced by Capetonian Rafiq Samsodien, of production company The Asylum.
Due to the political instability in Somalia, Buckley decided to shoot the film here. It tells the story of a Somali seaside village where little Asad has to choose between a life as a fisherman or a pirate. Paternoster was transformed into the village in the film.
Samsodien said an Oscar win would go a long way towards helping South African Somalis find “acceptance in a country which has not always welcomed them with open arms”.
Alan Winde, MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, said: “We are very proud that a Western Cape-produced film has been nominated for an Oscar.”