Film professor Martin Botha raves about the film Woodwind
Mon, 30 Oct 2017 11:14
Film professor Martin Botha is the only Southern African member of the International
Federation of Film Critics - an organisation world renowned for sending the most
respected critics in world cinema to festivals (FIPRESCI: Fédération Internationale de
la Presse Cinématographique).
Here’s what Botha had to say about Woodwind, the feature film by
debutant director Fin Manjoo:
“Woodwind is by far the best South African film,” said Botha. “It is superbly
crafted and a beautiful film with gorgeous cinematography that could win the best
cinematography award too. It’s really a brilliant film! I said that this film should be up
there with the best international films. It is by far the best South African film,” he
The FIPRESCI critic was discussing the best films that played at the Cape Town
International Film Market and Festival (CTIFMF), a South African festival that ran in
mid-October 2017. The University of Cape Town professor served as a selector of the
festival, having watched all the films. When asked what were the best films in
CTIFMF, Botha picked his favourites...
“Sparrows, Virgin Mountain, Heartstone, A Father’s Will and
The film A Father’s Will won the best film at the Durban International Film
Festival earlier this year, beating competition from the likes of South African films
Inxeba (The Wound), Vaya, The Whale Caller and Catching Feelings.
Woodwind was only completed recently and first entered the CTIFMF instead
of waiting nine months for a South African debut in Durban in July 2018.
Botha is a highly respected figure in South African cinema, having helped with the
establishment of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). He’s written the
book on South African film both figuratively and literally. With respect to all the films
during the festival, Fin Pictures decided to only release the quote at the end of the
festival, to share the appreciation of the film from an important FIPRESCI member.
Here’s Woodwind director Fin Manjoo’s latest feelings on the best
South African films this year and Botha’s backing:
“Making a film is one of the most difficult challenges and I totally respect anyone who
can pull it off. I’ve stated before that festivals are not about rivalries between films
and directors. All South African filmmakers and members of this industry must work
together and be united to continuously move our art to the next level. There’s been
some highly regarded South African films in the past year already (before
Woodwind‘s premiere) such as 5 Fingers for Marseille and
(Inxeba)The Wound. I wish them all success abroad because it will improve the
reputation of SA film altogether."
Discussing Martin's appreciation of the film Woodwind, Manjoo also added:
“What Martin spoke to me about Woodwind (before the film’s were screened
for the public) meant and still means so much to us because of his tremendous
knowledge of world cinema and SA film. Martin was one of the first to watch the film
(outside of our crew) since he was a selector in Cape Town’s festival."
“It’s not even enough to say that Woodwind is the best film because that’s
just an ego trip. I’ve never been interested in awards or red carpets, but awards are
important for others to position a film. What is important for me is that the message
of Woodwind is heard by as many people around the world as possible, for
audiences to feel this journey with Bonifaz, to heighten our perception of reality and
our relationship with nature… to move culture forward through art. The point of
festivals for me, is for filmmakers to come together with passionate film festival
organisers, jury members and audiences, to all meet one another to discuss our art
together in the name of cultural enhancement.”
All of the above mentioned SA films were categorised as belonging to the 2017 award
season, with the exception of Woodwind which will move into 2018 because
the film’s premiered after the end of September deadline for the year.
With the local premiere done, having screened successfully to rave reviews at the
Cape Town International Film Market and Festival; Fin Pictures is now turning their
attention to screenings abroad in 2018. The South African commercial cinema release
will follow after the international festival run.