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The Letter Reader Award-winning South African Short Directed by Sibusiso Khuzwayo & Produced by Cati Weinek on Netflix & Showmax

The Letter Reader is a short film directed by Sibusiso Khuzwayo and produced by Cati Weinek

When South African icon John Kani tweeted that ‘The Letter Reader’ is indeed a beautiful film, truly an African story, it confirmed the uniqueness of this short film. It won the ‘Shnit Worldwide Short Film Festival’ Best Short (South Africa) in October 2019, as well as the ‘Golden Horn Award’ for Best Short Film. The film is produced by the Ergo Company, the team behind Mrs Right Guy, The Tokeloshe, Dora’s Peace and Love By Chance.

The Letter Reader, Director Sibusiso Khuzwayo’s story of Siyabonga, a 12-year-old boy from Johannesburg who is sent to a village in KwaZulu-Natal, is now available on both Netflix worldwide and Showmax in Africa.

Don’t miss Sibusiso Khuzwayo’s unique, moving tale of a boy who discovers the power of the written and spoken word.

The Letter Reader Official Trailer directed by Sibusiso Khuzwayo and produced by Cati Weinek

“Everyone who believed in the film and the filmmaker Sibusiso Khuzwayo felt that their sacrifices were well worth it,” says producer Cati Weinek. “Short films don’t always get seen on our screens as they are perceived as calling cards for new directors, but this beautiful tale been sold to major streaming platforms.”

The film’s journey began four years ago when Khuzwayo finished writing the script, supported by his mentor Marina Bekker, and sent it to producers Dumi Gumbi and Cati Weinek, who guided the strategy for fundraising, packaging the film, its talent and crew.

The film was shot by award-winning director of photography, Lance Gewer, in October 2018 near Bergville with funding from the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission and the National Film and Video Foundation. Khuzwayo believes once the film gained funding from these bodies, they championed the film because of the nature of its story. The story was inspired Thabo Mbeki’s biography, The Dream Deferred by Mark Gevisser.

Siyabonga is dispatched to his grandmother’s while his parents are sorting out their marital problems. But the city boy is not accustomed to doing household chores, and he struggles to adapt to life in a rural village with his grandmother.

The Letter Reader_indieativity

Then he discovers the power of words as he reads letters that put a smile on people’s faces, until one day, a letter with bad news lands in his hands. It is addressed to Nobuhle, the beautiful 25-year-old wife of a migrant worker living in Johannesburg.  Siyabonga takes one look at her and falls in love. Although Nobuhle waits anxiously to hear word from her husband, Siyabonga realises that he can’t bring himself to break her heart and decides that she deserves better.

Though the film cannot be screened in cinemas during the pandemic, Khuzwayo is determined that it will one day be seen by its original and first audience. “When we were filming in the village up in the mountains, I realised that I had written this film as a homage to the spirit, love and grit I saw around me in the people of that village, so I want to go back into these communities to show my film,” he says. “ Once the peak of Covid-19 is over, the film team will be returning to screen it in communities around KwaZulu Natal.  Khuzwayo’s future is looking bright. In Los Angeles, the film won a YouTube short film competition titled I am Africa.

Cati Weinek has raised finance for both fiction and documentary feature films, and has produced award winning films. Career highlights includes filming 100 interviews for her Memory Box initiative (2003) as a personal means of support to HIV positive clients at the largest Soweto hospital before ARVs; an anti-nuclear documentary, Uranium Road (2009), which helped change nuclear policy in SA; raising slate feature film funding from the National Film and Video Foundation in 2011, producing season 12 of Soul City drama series, co-creating the ground-breaking Sediba script development programme under the wing of the NFVF, producing Mrs Right Guy (2016), Love By Chance (2017), and The Tokoloshe (2018) and being a parent to two born free babies. She is co-founder of The Ergo Company (2011) with Dumi Gumbi, producing feature films, including animation. Her greatest pleasure is working with creatives to make great stories about our African continent.

Tell us what you think of the The Letter Reader. What are you thinking? What more information do you need? Do you have any suggestions? Or did this help you? Lets have your comments below and/or on Facebook or Instagram! Or join me on Twitter @oladapobamidele

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The post The Letter Reader Award-winning South African Short Directed by Sibusiso Khuzwayo & Produced by Cati Weinek on Netflix & Showmax appeared first on indieactivity.


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