Inxeba - The Wound Keeps Winning Awards

South African film ‘Inxeba’ (The Wound) has won the Sutherland Award, which recognises the director of the most original and imaginative first feature, at the British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival. 

The award, announced on Saturday, 14 October, went to John Trengove, with the prize jury describing the film as a “dynamic and inimitable coming-of-age story that takes a heart-breaking look at masculinity and sexuality.”

‘Inxeba’ is a powerful exploration of masculinity and unspoken queer desire set in the remote mountains of South Africa’s Eastern Cape.  The ‘first feature’ competition jury said of ‘Inxeba’: “Among a strong field of debut features, we found ourselves enamoured by the urgency, vitality and originality of ‘The Wound’.

The winner was announced by the jury president, composer and producer, Melissa Parmenter. Parmenter’s fellow jurors were freelance film writer and editor Kaleem Aftab; the multi-award-winning actors Jason Isaacs and Helen McCrory and the filmmaker and Turner Prize-nominated artist Isaac Julien CBE, who’s work (Ten Thousand Waves) was featured as part of the opening collection of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.

In his acceptance speech, Trengove said that the BFI London Film Festival had long been a beacon on his horizon. 

“I’d like to single out one person tonight – Nakhane Toure, our lead actor” he said. 

“It’s the most rewarding part of what I do, when I’ve struggled with a character on the page for so long, to one day be standing in front of that one person, in the flesh, who embodies everything I imagined and so much more. And, in the case of The Wound, this moment also became a political act. We created a character who mirrors the experiences of marginalised queer South Africans who have been erased from our cinema for far too long. This is our greatest achievement.”

Producer Elias Ribeiro noted that the last time a South African filmmaker has been awarded the Sutherland trophy was in 1991. 

“We feel truly honoured to follow in the footsteps of masterpieces of contemporary world cinema such as Zeitlin’s ‘Beasts of The Southern Wild’, Chen’s ‘Ilo Ilo’, Slaboshpytskiy’s ‘The Tribe’ and, more recently, my favourite film of 2016, Julia Ducournau's ‘Raw’,” said Ribeiro. 

“We hope to inspire young storytellers to take risks and strive to be authentic and truthful to their voices.”

Meanwhile, the film’s winning streak continued at home too, with ‘Inxeba’ bagging the International Jury Award for Best Feature Film at the 2017 Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which was held from 3 to 11 October.

“The DGLFF is a well-established festival which has been running for 7 years now, making this latest win for the film especially rewarding,” says Trengove. 

“We were up against films from the US, Belgium, Ireland, and Canada, to mention a few. We are extremely honoured and grateful to the jury for their support and belief in the film.”

Inxeba - The Wound hits local cinemas in February 2018. 

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