Vija (Bongile Mantsai) and the initiates in a scene from Inxeba. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town - The filmmakers behind the controversial film Inxeba (The Wound) said on Saturday that they have submitted a complaint to the SA Human Rights Commission after cinema staff were threatened by protesters. 

The release of the award-winning movie in South Africa on Friday sparked renewed calls for a boycott and screenings were cancelled for “security reasons” by Nu Metro Cinemas at Canal Walk and Walker Park in Port Elizabeth.

The movie, played entirely in isiXhosa, depicts a story of unrequited love between two initiates in an initiation school setting.

Producer Elias Ribeiro said that protesters at several cinemas warned staff that they would follow them home and kill them if the screening of the film went ahead.

“Nobody is forced to see ‘Inxeba’. But South Africans have every right to watch and engage with it.” said Ribeiro. “Protestors at several cinemas warned staff that they would follow them home and kill them if the screening of the film went ahead. This is not acceptable in a democratic society.”

Indigenous Film Distribution, the company releasing the film in South Africa, said a claim by Man and Boy Foundation executive director Nkululeko Nxesi in an interview that "99% of the South Africa population are against this movie" contradicted actual attendances where the movie was screened. According to figures released, Inxeba was the best performing film at 7 of the sites where it was released.

“Ahead of its opening weekend, pre-screenings were held around the country, and 85% of people who attended gave it the thumbs up," managing director Helen Kuun said in a statement.

Read: #Inxeba: Threats force cancellation of film's release

REVIEW: Inxeba (The Wound)

Another producer Cait Pansegrouw said: “We took the film into several spaces across the country, particularly those that do not have access to cinemas in their communities and made absolutely sure to do this in the Eastern Cape above all.”

She also slammed Nxesi's claim that they purposely excluded certain people and organisations from seeing the film.

The film's director John Trengrove said that Inxeba is not the first piece of work to speak about initiation and "I’m certain it won’t be the last”.

“It’s a complete fallacy to say that the film exposes anything that is not already known.

“Inxeba is not going to go away and we are invested in making sure that people who do want to see the film will get to do so,” said Trengove.

Also read: Local celebs weigh in on critically-acclaimed 'Inxeba (The Wound)'

The Wound divides opinion