SA human trafficking film wins international award

Media Village Productions CEO Graham Vermooten (right) receiving an award from Dr Chris Cunningham, founder of the Redemptive Film Festival.

Dear Sister, a production by Cape Town production house, Media Village, has won an international award from the Redemptive Film Festival based in Virginia, United States.

The short film tells the story of a brother and sister from a township whose lives are devastated when the young, recently matriculated girl is tricked with the promise of work, and trafficked into the sex trade.

Dear Sister is aimed at educating young South Africans who are vulnerable to being tricked, transported, trapped and ultimately trafficked into slavery. The Redemptive Film Festival, which is in its sixth year, focuses on films that depict the redemptive purposes of God and the process of redeeming and empowering victims of modern day slavery.

Dear Sister was produced with a budget of less than US$30 000, qualifying it for the Professional Low Budget category of the film festival. The movie was shot in Kayamandi, an area just outside of Stellenbosch, within the space of three days. The cast includes Siv Ngesi, Precious Kofi, Brendan Murray and South African old time favorite, Chris April. The actors worked at reduced rates, dedicating their time and energy to a project they believed could make a positive difference.

Members of the award-winning film team are (from left to right) Chris April (actor), Debbie Matthee (producer and scriptwriter), Precious Kofi (actor), Siv Ngesi (actor) and Nkanyiso Ncube (director).

The award was Media Village Productions’ 64th industry award.  CEO, Graham Vermooten, attended the awards ceremony at Regent University, Virginia on November 19.

 Vermooten said: “In the 15 years that Media Village has been operating I have seen how God uses people in media to tell His story and I am so excited to be a part of reclaiming this industry for His purposes”.

Earlier this year Dear Sister was screened at the Durban International Film Festival. It has also been incorporated into the Western Cape Education Department curriculum for Grade 10 learners.

Debbie Matthee, Dear Sister producer and scriptwriter says: “We can’t wait to see how learners respond to this film; it was written with them in mind and we are so happy that it will be reaching its target audience so effectively”.

The director, Nkanyiso Ncube, added that audiences can look forward to more life changing social films from Media Village.

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