November 1, 1997

1997 Pare Lorentz Award Winner: 'Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation'

This award recognizes films that demonstrate exemplary filmmaking while focusing on the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all and the illumination of pressing social problems.

Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation
Produced by Jonathan Demme, Edward Saxon and Jo Menell
Directed by Jo Menell and Angus Gibson
Photography by Dewald Aukema and Peter Tischhauser
Edited by Andy Keir
Original Music by Cedric Gradus Samson, with Hugh Masekela
An Island Pictures Release of a Clinica Estetico Production 120 min.

This film traces the life of Nelson Mandela from his childhood in the Xhosa tribe through the solitude and sacrifices of his early activism, revolutionary leadership and political imprisonment, to his ultimate victory as leader of a new racially united South Africa. Having established the first Black law firm in South Africa in his early adulthood, his 27 years of political imprisonment made him the symbol of the fight against apartheid. Behind-the-scenes campaign activity are captured and linked to scenes of euphoric masses of South African citizens voting for the first time, culminating with the inauguration of Mandela's government. The soundtrack is a unique blend of compositions by South African musical artists, the ebullient music of the struggle for freedom, with the guiding voice of narration by Mandela himself.

JO MENELL, a native South African, worked for British Television making documentaries, 1960-70, and was banned from making films in his native country until 1990. Since moving to the U.S., his work has included Nothing to Lose, The Life of Bob Marley and Haiti: Dreams of Democracy.

ANGUS GIBSON is one of South Africa's premiere documentary filmmakers, founding member of Free Film Makers, a cooperative established to share filmmaking skills and to create relevant, non-racial South African cinema. His work includes the six-part Soweto: A History.

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