Rights of Passage is an anthology of 8 short films linked by a thematic thread and African proverbs. Directed by first time filmmakers Ntombizodwa Magagula, Mapula  Sibanda, Lerato Moloi, Valencia Joshua, Zandile Angeline Wardle, Tony  Miyambo, Rethabile Mothobi, Yashvir Bagwandeen, the film has been Officially selected in Competition to participate in the  international feature section of the 36th edition of the Durban International Film Festival.

Under the sub-theme Love and Loss in the Time of Mandela, it is a fictional feature-film made by first-time young black filmmakers who were born around the time when Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected President and who entered young adulthood during the last years of Mandela’s remarkable life.

South African producers Natives at Large and Jungleworks partnered with the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa  and the KZN Film Commission to give first time film graduates an opportunity to develop their short scripts. The producers wanted to create a platform for young filmmakers to produce quality films that meet both national and international criteria and standards.

Actresses Dolly Louw and Soso Rungquin a scene from Awakening written and directed by Ntombizodwa Magagula-photo credit Youth Filmmaker Project

Initiallyfifteen (15) projects were selected for development, ranging from stories of sexuality, gender, domestic violence, a search for a missing father to freedom of expression. After a five months script development process, eight (8) scripts were short listed for production.

Under the guidance and mentorship ofBhekizizwe PetersonNeville Josie and Ramadan Suleman, international partners (Jacques Bidou) and script consultant (Franz Rodenkirchen)developed the scripts which were then produced by Natives At Large and Jungle Work. Ramadan Suleman mentored the young directors to shoot and edit their films while the skilled Vuyani Sondlo supervised the young editors.

Actresses Soso Rungqu and Dolly Louw in a scene from Awakening written and directed by Ntombizodwa Magagula-photo credit Youth Filmmaker Project

Rights of Passage portrays the search for love, belonging and healing amidst the rites and turmoil of everyday life. It offers a rare, honest, resilient and creative insight into the concerns and experiences of black youth in contemporary South Africa.

The Durban International Film Festival is the premiere of the film and serves as a Launchpad for an intensive youth outreach programme across the country to raise awareness and promote film as a major opportunity within the creative industries.

“The NFVF is excited about this three (3) years project with a new intake each year that will result in more than 25 young filmmakers writing and or directing their first professionally produced short films” says NFVF CEO Zamo Nkosi.

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“Furthermore, this project provides a blueprint and model to develop and structure ongoing incubator programs for young filmmakers. This is only the beginning.” he added.

Rights of Passage will screen on 17th July at the Sun Coast Hotel at 20h15.

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