Deon Lotz won the best actor award in Zurich.

Zara Nicholson

SOUTH African actor Deon Lotz says he is “ecstatic” about scooping the best actor award for his role in the controversial movie Skoonheid at the Zurich Film Festival last weekend.

Lotz played a middle-aged family man who develops an infatuation with his friend’s son in the daring movie which tackles homosexuality in the Afrikaner community.

The movie, by Cape Town director Oliver Hermanus, has been making waves since it was showcased at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Queer Palm award for its contributions to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Hermanus and his team have been travelling the world for the film’s release, winning accolades at every turn.

Two weeks ago, Skoonheid was nominated for next year’s Oscars in the category of Best Foreign Film.

At this past weekend’s 7th Zurich Film Festival, Lotz received the Best Actor award for his role in the movie, which he said inspired him for taking on a brave storyline.

Yesterday, he told the Cape Times: “I’m ecstatic. I wasn’t aware the film would be going to so many festivals. This just came out of the blue, but I am very happy and very honoured.”

Speaking from France, where the film will be released on October 12, former Independent Newspapers photographer Hermanus said: “I am very happy (for Lotz) because I know this is the first of many. The festival had a great selection of films, so he should be really proud of his achievement as I am.”

In the film, Lotz had to perform two daring sex scenes, one of them a gay orgy.

Lotz said: “I went for the audition because I wanted to work with Oliver and, when I saw the script, I thought it was a wonderful challenge and opportunity, not only as an actor, but to be able to tell a South African story like this. The two (sex) scenes in particular were difficult, but I trust Oliver and he did very well.”

Hermanus said that the Swiss audiences, known for their quiet disposition, packed cinemas in Zurich and were very enthusiastic about the film.

Hermanus will be heading home from France to Cape Town to attend tonight’s Coldplay concert and will then be a jury member at the Schnit short film festival in the city and at Rocking the Daisies this weekend.

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