‘Freedom Road’ a short film by Cape Town production house Media Village has won the 2013 Best International film award at the scripture-themed 168 International Film Festival.
The movie which explores giving and receiving forgiveness as a result of devastations of the apartheid era, also picked up five additional awards (Best Director — Shane Vermooten, Best Screenplay — Diane Vermooten, Best Actress — Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa-Kobus, Best Scriptural integration — Diane Vermooten, and Best Production Design — Diane Vermooten) at the awards evening in Los Angeles at the weekend.
It was a good contest for South Africa Christian filmmakers, with another Cape Town production, ‘Scapegoat’, produced by John de Vries, Howard Fyvie and Nevil Sandama, scooping the Best Comedy and Best Screenplay — Comedy, awards.
More than 150 teams of filmmakers entered the contest in which teams received a luck-of-the-draw Bible verse plucked from scriptures that relate to ‘Atonement’, this year’s theme. They were given seven days (168 hours) to complete a 10-minutes film.
Seven international teams (South Africa, 2; Australia, 4; and Canada,1) were among the 22 finalists. The rest of the finalists were from the USA.
The Best Film award went to a California-based team for ReMoved, a short film about a girl’s journey through extreme hardships in the foster care system and later toward healing and restoration. The winner’s prize includes an award of up to $1 million for the production of a feature length movie. Inspired by her foster parent training, the film “ReMoved” was written by Christina Matanick and lensed by Tony Cruz. .
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
“Freedom Road,” which was produced by Diane Vermooten and Ardeen Munnik and shot in Cape Town was based on Exodus 30:15 (The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. — NIV). It is about an apartheid widow who faces the man who tortured her husband, only to discover that political amnesty does not bring freedom. The film includes scenes inspired by historical accounts of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“Scapegoat” is based on Exodus 30:16 (Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives. — NIV). It is a rite of passage story involving an African boy, an American tourist, and a goat.
Commenting on the entries in the 2013 festival, 168 founder and executive director John David Ware said: “The depth of these films is astounding, especially considering the short 168-hour production window. This is why the jury deadlocked on five awards, including Best Film. Only after a re-vote were we able to discern the winner from the wondrous tapestries woven by these artists. My hat is off to them.”
View Freedom Road trailer:
View Scapegoat trailer: