Videovision Entertainment’s Director of Acquisition and Distribution Sanjeev Singh, announced today that the company will screen five films, at the 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) which runs from 18 to 28 July.  DIFF will host the World Premiere of the powerful Sophiatown film, BACK OF THE MOON and South African premiere of the Cannes Film Festival Jury Award-winner, LES MISÉRABLES, while SARAFINA!, MORE THAN JUST A GAME and FREEDOM SQUARE AND BACK OF THE MOON will be screened in the section, Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy.

“We are delighted to be participating in the Durban International Film Festival in its milestone 40th edition and we are proud to continue our association which spans these four decades,” said Sanjeev Singh. “It is exciting to have two South African premieres with BACK OF THE MOON and LES MISÉRABLES, and to screen SARAFINA!, MORE THAN JUST A GAME and FREEDOM SQUARE AND BACK OF THE MOON in the commemorative section, Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy.  Each of these films tell unique stories of South Africa’s liberation history,” concluded Singh.

BACK OF THE MOON is directed by Academy Award® nominee, Angus Gibson and stars Richard Lukunku, Moneoa Moshesh, Lemogang Tsipa, Siya Zulu and Thomas Gumede.  1958 Sophiatown. On the eve of his home being demolished by apartheid police, Badman a notorious gangster decides to fight them to the death. But then Eve, a gorgeous torch singer is thrust into his orbit. On the last day of his life Badman finds something worth living for.

Inspired by the French riots of 2005, LES MISÉRABLES, is the first feature film by director Ladj Ly. LES MISÉRABLES follows Stéphane who has recently joined the Anti-Crime Brigade in the Paris suburb of Montfermeil. Alongside his new colleagues, he quickly discovers that the tensions between neighbourhood gangs are running high. When the team find themselves overrun during the course of an arrest, a drone captures their every movement, their every action. Inspired by the riots of 2005, director Ladj Ly explores contemporary Montfermeil, the same place where novelist Victor Hugo chose to set Les Misérables in 1862. More than 150 years later, the similarities between today’s angry, hoodie-wearing youth and Hugo’s protagonists are only too clear.

SARAFINA! based on the student uprising of 16 June 1976,  is a film that burns with a raw truth about life in apartheid South Africa while affirming the highest values of the human spirit.  It is the story of Sarafina who, like other young students of the time, adopted a campaign of resistance against the police presence in their schools.  She imagines the support of her role model, Nelson Mandela, and finds an ally in her teacher, Mary Masombuka, who supports the students in their cause. Based on Mbongeni Ngema’s stage musical, ‘Sarafina!’, the film is produced by Anant Singh and directed by Darrell James Roodt, and stars Leleti Khumalo, Mbongeni Ngema, John Kani, Robert Whitehead, Miriam Makeba, Somizi Mhlongo and Academy Award® Winner, Whoopi Goldberg.

Told through the stories of five former prisoners, MORE THAN JUST A GAME follows the story of how political prisoners on Robben Island in the 1960s rise above their incarceration by creating a football league, the Makana Football Association, and find an outlet for their passion and commitment to discipline through football. Directed by Junaid Ahmed and produced by Anant Singh and Helena Spring, MORE THAN JUST A GAME stars Presley Chweneyagae, Wright Ngubeni and Tshepo Maseko.

FREEDOM SQUARE AND BACK OF THE MOON focuseson Sophiatown the closest place to the city centre of Johannesburg, occupied by black South Africans. It was home to writers, journalists, artists, politicians – the black intellectual heart of the city. It is not surprising then that it was the first area to be targeted by the Nationalist Government for removals which took place from 1955 to 1959. In this documentary, the directors, Angus Gibson and William Kentridge, use interviews, archive material, drawings and extracts from the 1986 protest play ‘Sophiatown’, to explore the life and destruction of Sophiatown.

Angus Gibson commented, “My interest in the unique world of Sophiatown was born in the eighties when William Kentridge and I made the documentary, FREEDOM SQUARE AND BACK OF THE MOON, about its life and destruction. Thirty years later, in the feature film, BACK OF THE MOON, I recreate the world of those gangsters, singers and intellectuals that I met back then. It is a curious genre brew of gangster film and romance. I am thrilled that both films will be shown at DIFF this year.”

Videovision Entertainment is also a proud sponsor of the Durban FilmMart since its first edition ten years ago. The company returns as the sponsor of the “Best South African Film Project” prize.  Valued at R75 000, and valid for four years, the prize guarantees the winning film a commercial release once it is completed and includes marketing and distribution support from Videovision Entertainment. The Durban FilmMart runs from 19 to 22 July.