Award-winning documentary from KwaZulu-Natal Midlands at Hilton Arts Festival
Buddha in Africa, the award-winning documentary, by KwaZulu-Natal Midlands based filmmaker, Nicole Schafer, will screen at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival next weekend (14 and 15 September).
This powerful documentary that follows the intimate story of a Malawian teenager growing up in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, was recently awarded “Best South African Documentary” at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). DIFF is included as a Documentary Feature Qualifying Festival by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences, which means that Buddha in Africa, automatically qualifies for consideration for an Oscar nomination.
The film had its World premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in April, and opened the Encounters Documentary Festival in Cape Town and Johannesburg in June where it received a Backsberg Encounters Audience Award. It was also in the official selection at this year’s Sydney International Film Festival in June.
The film has its European Premiere coming up at the Visioni dal Mondo International Documentary Festival in Milan over the same weekend as the Hilton Arts Festival (14 Sept) and will also show at the Unicef Innocenti Film Festival in Florence in October to commemorate 30 Years of the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Knysna residents can also look forward to seeing the film at the Knysna film festival at the end of October.
First-time feature director, Nicole Schafer, says: “Its been hugely rewarding to see the different responses the film has generated amongst audiences locally and internationally and I am encouraged by the conversations that have emerged around the film. I am also overwhelmed by the incredible support we have received from local audiences with full houses for nearly every screening to date.”
The film is an international co-production with Momento Films in Sweden and Paris-based documentary sales company, CAT and Docs is representing the film internationally. AfriDocs is the African broadcast partner.
Nicole Schafer is an independent documentary filmmaker from South Africa and founder of Thinking Strings Media based in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. Her long-term vision is to support the production of creative documentaries and content in the province. The company also provides services in video production and editing. They are also in the process of organizing the Umbono Film Festival aimed at the youth in partnership with Michaelhouse School and the Michaelhouse Community Partnership Trust.
Trailer Link Facebook:
Screening dates & times: Hilton Arts Festival, Hilton College, KwaZulu-Natal
Sat 14th 5:30 pm, CFI Lecture Theatre (Director in attendance for a Q&A)
Ticket bookings: https://www.hiltonfestival.co.za/events/buddha-in-africa/
Sun 15th 10:00 am, Lecture Theatre B - Durban Film Festival Programme (Free Admission)
BUDDHA IN AFRICA
HD Documentary: 93 min (South Africa/Sweden) 2019
“Best South African Documentary” Durban International Film Festival
Opening Night - Encounters South African Documentary Festival
World Premiere - Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Sydney International Film Festival
Enock Alu, a Malawian teenager growing up in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage, feels torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock, in his final year of school, has to make some tough decisions about his future. Will he return to his relatives in his home village or study abroad in Taiwan? Set against China's expanding influence on the continent, Buddha in Africa provides a unique insight into the forces of cultural soft power on the identity and imagination of an African boy and his school friends growing up between two cultures.
Nicole Schafer (1980) has lived in Malawi where she produced award-winning stories for Reuters pan-African magazine show Africa Journal. Other production credits include South Africa’s leading investigative programme Carte Blanche, Lonely Planet TV’s Six Degrees and Sport Traveller broadcast on Discovery Channel. She has an MFA degree in Film and Television production from the University of Cape Town. Her thesis film, The Ballad of Rosalind Ballingall was shown at the Frijbourg Film festival in 2006.