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Local film to premiere for African audiences

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — Award-winning film, The Forgotten Kingdom, is set to be unveiled for African audiences at the Durban International Film Festival in July. Andrew Mudge, the director of the film told XpressPeople the Africa showing is the “most anticipated” premiere.

“After many Basotho complained to me about screening TFK (The Forgotten Kingdom) in other countries before Lesotho, the film will have its African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in July and from there we will bring it to Lesotho in early December, right before Christmas,” he said.
The film won the Audience Awards at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, and Sarasota Film Festival. “In each festival, TFK was in competition with approximately 10 other feature films. I am very happy about the awards because it means that the American audiences are responding well to TFK,” he said.
“It gives me confidence that people outside Lesotho and South Africa want to see this film. Also, it means a lot to me that people get to experience and see Lesotho for the first time. I feel honoured to be able to share your country with them.”

Mudge said he had received a number of complaints by Basotho over the failure to screen the film in Lesotho. “They said that it’s not fair that other countries are screening TFK before Lesotho,” he said.
Mudge said film festivals do not screen films that have already played to general audiences.
“If we had screened TFK in Lesotho first, we would be ineligible for all film festivals, and therefore the film would never have a life outside of Lesotho.”

“I have told them that when the film finally comes to Lesotho, it’s only fair that everyone gets to see it, and not just a small invite-only crowd of cast and crew. It should be experienced by all,” he said. “But for TFK to be presented to all, we first have to arrange for proper distribution at theatres and this takes time.” He added: “For the film to succeed, it needs to first play at the film festival circuit, as this is where it creates a buzz, and gets the buyers interested.”

Mudge said next month TFK would be screening at the Seattle International Film Festival (in Washington) and the Berkshire International Film Festival (in Massachusetts). “In July we will have our African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival. There are still lots of other film festivals coming up, but we are still waiting to hear if they will play TFK.”

Mudge said they haven’t shown the film to international audiences yet. “We don’t have feedback yet. And it is sad that one newspaper in South Africa, I think maybe the City Press incorrectly reported that we have already secured distribution in Europe. I don’t know
where they got that information from, it’s not correct.”

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