The National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) has chosen the movie Barakat as South Africa’s official submission for Best International Feature at the 94th Academy Awards next year.
Barakat is a 2020 South African family drama directed by Amy Jephta and produced by Ephraim Gordon. It deals with family problems where an aging matriarch aims to bring together her fractured family over Eid-al-Fitr to break the news about her new romance.
According to MultiChoice broadcaster M-Net, the movie is told in Afrikaaps, the widely spoken Cape dialect of the Afrikaans language, and Jephta is the fourth female director to be submitted to the Oscars by South Africa, and the first woman of colour.
The film stars Vinette Ebrahim, Joey Rasdien, Mortimer Williams, Keeno-Lee Hector, Danny Ross, Quanita Adams and Bonnie Mbuli.
Jephta said: “I am so proud that our small story about a family has reached as many people as it has. To be recognised by South Africa in this way is incredibly special after an extremely challenging year for our film industry.”
“This selection was totally unexpected, but it shows that everyone’s hard work on this project has paid off. This film was a blessing from the beginning and continues to be. It is our Barakat,” added Gordon.
Next year’s Oscars will be presented on March 27.
The movie was released in South African cinemas in May 2021 and on BoxOffice by pay TV platform DStv in June 2021. It has won seven international awards so far, including Best International Feature at the 2021 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema and Best Narrative Feature at both the Motion Pictures International Film Festival and The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Festival in 2020.
Barakat was developed in partnership with kykNET, a MultiChoice-owned channel, and funded in association with The Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the NFVF, The Industrial Development Corporation and Indigenous Film Distribution, the film’s South African distributor.
The movie can be watched on kykNET on December 18 at 20.00.