Competing for an Oscar

In the year 2006, all of South Africa rejoiced over the success of the movie Tsotsi, which won international acclaim and an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. It was an unforgettable moment, not only for those directly involved in the film but for every South African, as it meant that the country’s talent was being recognized by the world. This year a new local film will be put forward for consideration by the Oscar committee, and has already caused a major stir at the Cannes Film Festival, namely Life Above All.


The Cannes Film Festival was held in May 2010, where the film Life Above All made its debut. Audiences enjoyed the film to such an extent that it received a standing ovation of approximately ten minutes. This has given the cast and all involved with Life Above All renewed hope that the film could be chosen as a nominee in the category of Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. Eddie Mbalo, Chairman of the SA Academy Awards committee, commented on the film by saying: “The storyline, high-quality direction and production, and excellent performances will stand the film in good stead when it is presented to the International Academy Awards selection committee.”

Khomotso Manyaka plays the leading role of Chanda, who deals with the pressures of rumors concerning her mother and the fact that her mother might be HIV positive. Chanda takes a big step in her life by deciding to leave school, and embarks on a journey to find the truth behind the rumors by locating her mother. The film is based on a novel written by Allan Stratton, called Chanda’s Secret. It is an inspiring tale, as this young girl copes with the shame of the rumors and pushes her fear aside to go in search of the truth.

Waiting to find out if Life Above All has made it onto the nominations list is going to be the hardest part of the process, as the list of nominations for the 2011 Oscars will only be announced in February. But everyone is optimistic, with co-producer Greig Buckle not able to contain his joy, commenting: “I’m shaking and so excited. We’ve received such an unbelievable response wherever the film is showing and we’re getting exactly the results we wished for.”