Four Corners has been selected as South Africa’s official 2014 foreign-language entry for the Academy Awards. The film is the first ‘foreign language’ entry to blend Sabela (the coded prison language of the Number gangs) Tsotsi-taal, Cape Afrikaans and English.
Set in the Cape ganglands, the coming of age crime thriller, directed by Ian Gabriel, tells the story of a young chess prodigy who must defy the odds and stay one move ahead of the gangs in a game where losing can be the difference between life or death.
Four Corners is a redemptive moral tale about a young boy coming of age facing the reality of the dangers experienced by children and teenagers in gang controlled areas in the Flats. The truth of this story is something we read about in the papers every day.
The film’s producers Cindy Gabriel and Genevieve Hofmeyr expressed their excitement at Four Corners’ ‘first steps into the outside world’. The producers feel that the film’s themes of fatherhood, family and coming of age are universal and are bound to appeal to a world audience. Four Corners should resonate with a savvy youth audience, who will love the music, performances and storytelling that reaches deep into the vibrant life of the often forgotten and unknown world on the Flats.
Four Corners features Brendon Daniels, Lindiwe Matshikiza and Irshaad Ally who deliver electrifying performances, as does newcomer Jezriel Skei who plays 13 year old Ricardo.
The Oscar selection panel singled out the outstanding and extremely believable performances of the cast. “Several of the players were first time actors and non-actors, who all deliver great performances, “says Four Corners Director Ian Gabriel. “By teaming established talent with ‘real people’ performers, we enabled both to reach deep into shared and individual experiences. This resulted in performances that clearly access the passion, emotion and conviction required for the broad palette of the characters and their roles in the film.”
The film is scored by Markus Wormstorm and features a range of South African music from Khula Chani and Felix la Band to Khyle Shepherd, Hemelbesem and others.
The selection committee’s unanimous decision in favour of Four Corners lauded the great production values in the film making particular mention of the authenticity and believability of the film, where “the line between fiction and reality is often blurred”. The recommendation concluded that it was “refreshing to see a film boldly tackling a part of our life not usually explored”.
Ian Gabriel’s previous film Forgiveness was a Golden Leopard nominee at Locarno and was listed by CNN’s African Voices as one of the top ten African films of the last decade.
The film is currently on limited release at The Bioscope Independent Cinema in Johannesburg. The general release of the film is scheduled for later in the year. Four Corners is distributed by Indigenous Films in South Africa and has already been picked up by worldwide sales company, The Little Film Company in LA.
The film is produced by Giant Films and Moonlighting Films and is funded by Giant Films, The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, The National Film and Video Foundation.