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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom... The Movie


Nelson Mandela gained international recognition for rebuilding his country as President, in post-Apartheid South Africa. His effortless grace and leadership have made the man a living legend, one who has been portrayed by Danny Glover in Mandela, Sidney Poitier in Mandela and de Klerk, Dennis Haysbert in Goodbye Bafana, Clarke Peters in Endgame, Morgan Freeman in Invictus, Terrence Howard in Winnie and now Idris Elba in the adaptation of his Long Walk to Freedom autobiography, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

The growing list of fine actors who have portrayed Mandela is testament to the great man's character. Each actor has tried to capture the honorable Madiba's essence with the utmost respect and fallen short of his true greatness. Morgan Freeman was touted as the most suitable actor to do the part justice, a man who exemplified grace in his own rite, and while he succeeded to some extent - he too wasn't able to claim the definitive performance. Long Walk to Freedom was first choice for Freeman in the 1990s with Shekhar Kapur to direct, but it didn't materialise.

The long-awaited adaptation is backed by Singh's Distant Horizon and Pathe. The rights to the Long Walk to Freedom project were personally awarded to Anant Singh with full endorsement over a decade ago, which explains comparisons with Richard Attenborough's 20 year struggle to make, Gandhi.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will span from Mandela's childhood to his inauguration as South Africa's newly elected president. Singh said: “It will be the largest South African production ever mounted and will provide an opportunity for thousands of South Africans to participate in the making of the film, including the best of South Africa’s acting talent.”

The task of adapting Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was undertaken by a screenwriter, whose writing credits extend to Gladiator, Shadowlands, Nell, First Knight and more recently, Les Misérables. William Nicholson was a fitting choice, not only because of his experience of sprawling epics, but also because of his local experience, having written Sarafina!

Justin Chadwick, director of The Other Boleyn Girl and The First Grader, brings his understanding to the adaptation, having directed the Kenyan-based film The First Grader, an intense, gripping and inspiring true story. Chadwick returns to the continent to direct a number of actors from this film, including Naomie Harris as Winnie.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom stars Golden Globe-winning actor, Idris Elba, in the title role as Nelson Mandela. The actor is best known for roles in Prometheus, Thor, RocknRolla and 28 Days Later... - as well as Luther and The Wire. While a surprising choice, if you consider he was rumoured to be the next Bond, this is the sort of role that could really cement Elba's film career, after regular appearances in high profile productions. His co-star, Naomie Harris, who also starred in 28 Days Later... plays Winnie Mandela and is quickly becoming a household name, having appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, with a pivotal role as Moneypenny in the latest Bond, Skyfall.

The rest of the ensemble is made up of up-and-coming to established South African actors, including: this year's SAFTA Best Actor Riaad Moosa, Tony Kgoroge, Terry Pheto, Fana Mokoena, Carl Beukes, Mark Elderkin, Grant Swanby, Garth Breytenbach with a debut by Nomfusi Gotyana as Miriam Makeba, and Gys de Villiers as FW de Klerk. There has been some concern that the central figures of Nelson and Winnie Mandela have once again been portrayed by non-South Africans, as in Winnie.

Nelson Mandela's First Television Interview

'Hitchcock' pre-release screening with Spling (27 & 28 March)

Stephen "Spling" Aspeling will be hosting special screenings of HITCHCOCK, starring Academy award-winners Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. Ster-Kinekor Movie Buffs screenings will take place at 7:30pm for 8pm on Wednesday 27 March at Tygervalley and then on Thursday 28 March at Cavendish Square, Cape Town. Book Tickets

About the film

This Golden Globe-nominated bio pic tells the story of the relationship between “Master of Suspense” director Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife, Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), during the making of his seminal film, Psycho.

The 1960 film Psycho was adapted from a book written by Robert Bloch and Hitchcock reportedly bought the rights anonymously from the author for $9,000 US and then bought as many copies of the novel as he could so that he could keep the ending a secret. Hitchcock ended up shooting it in black and white because he thought it would be too gory in colour. The film has since gone on to become one of the director's most recognized titles, even spawning a remake in 1998.

About the event

The special screenings will be held at Ster-Kinekor cineplexes at Cavendish Square and Tygervalley shopping malls. As your host, Spling will introduce the HITCHCOCK preview, which will then be screened and followed by a discussion for those wanting to explore the film further. Normal ticket prices and discounts apply and several movie goers will go home with prizes.

About the host

Stephen "Spling" Aspeling has been a film fanatic since he first watched the psychedelic elephant dance in Dumbo in the early '80s and a movie critic since 2007. More About Spling

Oscars 2013: Winners, Predictions and Snubs...


Argo vs. Life of Pi

Argo won Best Picture at last night's 85th Academy Awards ceremony. It was always going to be a race between the feel good films... Argo and Life of Pi. Argo was the safest bet, having won several Best Picture awards already - representing a great all-rounder team effort from the United States. Life of Pi was this year's Avatar, visually breathtaking, but lacking the performance nominations necessary to anchor it in dramatic credibility.

The Other Contenders

Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained were too violent and controversial. Amour's Best Foreign Language film makes its Best Picture nomination an echo. Lincoln was simply a vivid Civil War history lesson with a brilliant lead with an Academy Award regular in Steven Spielberg. Beasts of the Southern Wild was too art experimental and ambitious, especially afterThe Artist won last year. Silver Linings Playbook - a dark horse was dependent on winning all its acting nominations. Les Miserables was too long, depressing (and French) with Tom Hooper'sThe King's Speech win still too fresh in minds.

Best Achievement in Directing

Spling's Prediction: Michael Haneke - Amour

Ang Lee won Best Director on the back of Life of Pi's wins for Best Visual Effects, Cinematography and Best Original Score. The award was well-deserved with Lee serving up an excellent adaptation, directing young Suraj Sharma in his debut performance, managing a CGI tiger and a lush 3D environment. Ben Affleck wasn't nominated for Best Director in Argo, a snub he shared with Zero Dark Thirty's Kathryn Bigelow.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Spling's Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln

This year featured a strong set of lead actor performances, including: Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables, Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Joaquin Phoenix for The Master and Denzel Washington for Flight. However, it was to be Daniel Day-Lewis, who made history by becoming the first actor to win three Best Actor awards with a captivating performance in the titular role of Lincoln. Day-Lewis was given a standing ovation, after which he delivered an amusing and unusual acceptance speech featuring a role reversal comment about Meryl Streep's The Iron Lady and Lincoln as a musical - possibly trying to get into the spirit of Seth McFarlane as host.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Spling's Prediction: Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

This category made history for featuring both the youngest and oldest nominees in Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild and Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. While many tipped a win for Jessica Chastain on the back of her Golden Globe win for Zero Dark Thirty and a strong two-year build up, the night belonged to young starlet, Jennifer Lawrence, for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. The actress looked like a princess, wearing such a long dress that she tripped on her way up the stairs to give her acceptance speech. Her co-stars were beaming with pride for the young woman, who has only just started what should be a long and blossoming career in Hollywood.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Spling's Prediction: Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

Christoph Waltz was brilliant in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, winning a best supporting actor Oscar for that role. So it didn't come as much of a surprise when he was nominated and then won again for Django Unchained, an unofficial Tarantino sequel. His charming and complex performance as a cold-blooded killer was the backbone of Django Unchained and many would agree that the film would have benefited from even more Christoph Waltz.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Spling's Prediction: Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables

Anne Hathaway's performance in Les Miserables was breathtakingly powerful. The actress had limited screen time and still managed to deliver a heart-wrenching and soulful performance, worthy of an Oscar.

Noteworthy Wins

South Africa was backing Searching for Sugar Man for Best Documentary (Feature) and it won. The sensational documentary has already racked up a number of awards, telling the powerful and magical true rags-to-riches story of Rodriguez and his revival, which started in South Africa. Brave won Best Animated Film of the Year, ousting other hot favourite Wreck-It Ralph and Michael Haneke's Amour won Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. While a rare tie for Best Sound Editing of the Year went to Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty.

You can find the full list of nominees and winners here.



SAFTA Film Nominations, Predictions and Winners 2013...

This year's SAFTA film nominations are dominated by several films: Die Wonderwerker (10), Semi-Soet (8), Otelo Burning (7), Material (8), Little One (3), A Million Colours (2) and Adventures in Zambezia (2). With one of the most tightly contested years to date, it's going to be interesting to see who takes home the most coveted accolades.

Best Director is anyone's guess with Katinka Heyns delivering Die Wonderwerker, Craig Freimond hitting comedy gold in Material, Darrell Roodt serving up South Africa's Oscar representative in Little One and Wayne Thornley breaking new ground in Adventures in Zambezia. Best Actor will probably be a battle between a wistful Dawid Minnaar (Die Wonderwerker) and a charming debut from stand-up comedian, Riaad Moosa (Material). A powerhouse "supporting" performance from Vincent Ebrahim in Material should have Best Supporting Actor sewn up. Best Actress features several excellent performances, while Best Supporting Actress is anyone's guess with three equally deserving performances.

The big match-up of the evening is undoubtedly Die Wonderwerker and Material for Best Feature Film. Both films feature strong performances, firm direction and solid writing. Die Wonderwerker's cinematography and production values make it entrancing and visually-captivating, but Material's well-balanced comedy drama and heart should give it the edge. Surprisingly, Little One, South Africa's submission hasn't garnered a nomination in this category.

The SAFTAs ceremony commenced on 15 and 16 March with a live broadcast on SABC 3 on March 16, including highlights from the previous day. The winners are highlighted in bold.

'Zero Dark Thirty' Pre-release Screening with Spling (7 & 13 Feb)

Stephen "Spling" Aspeling will be hosting special screenings of the Best Picture nominee, ZERO DARK THIRTY, by Kathryn Bigelow, Academy award-winning writer and director of The Hurt Locker. Ster-Kinekor Movie Buffs screenings will take place at 7:30pm for 8pm on 7 February at Cavendish Square and then on 13 February at Tygervalley, Cape Town. Book Movie Tickets for Zero Dark Thirty

About the film

ZERO DARK THIRTY is a gripping drama and thriller based on the greatest manhunt in history, starring Jessica Chastain and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, award-winning writer and director of The Hurt Locker. "A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011. (IMDB)".

About the event

The special screenings will be held at Ster-Kinekor cineplexes at Cavendish Square and Tygervalley shopping malls. As your host, Spling will introduce the ZERO DARK THIRTY preview, which will then be screened and followed by a discussion for those wanting to explore the film further. Normal ticket prices and discounts apply and several movie goers will go home with prizes.

About the host

Stephen "Spling" Aspeling has been a film fanatic since he first watched the psychedelic elephant dance in Dumbo in the early '80s and a movie critic since 2007. More About Spling

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