South African movie wins at top European children’s film festival

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Felix, the feel-good South African family film, has won the €7 500 award for Best Children’s Film at the 36th Lucas International Children’s Film Festival, which ended on Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lucas, Germany’s premier children’s festival, received over 400 entries from across the globe. Four children joined industry experts on the jury to select Felix as the winning film.

“We get a multifaceted insight into South Africa today,” the jury said at Saturday’s award ceremony at the German Film Museum. “The film tells an entertaining and exciting story with ease, great actors and good music.”

In Felix, 14-year-old Felix Xaba (Hlayani Junior Mabasa) dreams of becoming a saxophonist like his late father, but his mother Lindiwe (Linda Sokhulu) thinks jazz is the devil’s music.

When Felix leaves his township friends to take up a scholarship for grade eight at an elitist private school, he defies his mother and turns to two aging members of his father’s old band (Royston Stoffels and Thapelo Mofokeng) to help him prepare for the school jazz concert.

“We had two incredible screenings at Lucas, complete with ovations and whistles,” says director Roberta Durrant. “The audience absolutely loved the film but I didn’t expect to receive the main award as the competition was stiff.”

Felix, which also won the Audience Award at this year’s Durban International Film Festival, is currently screening at The Hamburg Film Festival in Germany.

Felix has already sold out its two upcoming screenings at the BFI London Film Festival, considered one of the best in the world, and will also screen at Vancouver International Film Festival in October 2013.

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