Mandela film wins big in US
Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza's documentary film Dear Mandela walked away with two of the biggest prizes at the Brooklyn Film Festival this past weekend.
The 90-minute film was shot in 2007, when 32-year-old Kell, who was born in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, first heard about the social movement Abahlali basemjondolo (shack dwellers), which started in 2005.
It began with a protest by shack dwellers of the Kennedy Road settlement in Durban against the sale of a piece of land they had been promised by the municipality, but was sold to an industrialist.
There were forced evictions and court orders at the time.
Kell said she and Nizza met community leaders who "embodied Nelson Mandela's pragmatic idealism".
Speaking from New York yesterday, Kell said: "It's been amazing. Certain things in South Africa get really big laughs.
"People get the jokes, and there is quite a lot of humour in the film because our characters are warm and funny. I was really impressed with the international response."
The film won Best South African Documentary last year at the Durban International Film Festival and the Golden Butterfly Award at The Hague's Movies That Matter film festival.