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SKY IN HER EYES (article first published : 2003-06-16)

South African short film, The Sky in her Eyes has won the Djibril Diop Mambety prize. This prize, which forms part of the Cannes Critic's Week, was created in tribute to Djibril Diop Mambety, one of Africa's finest filmmakers. It places the spotlight on emergent African filmmakers from Africa and the Diaspora.

The Sky in her Eyes, co-directed by Ouida Smit and Durban actor and filmmaker Madoda Ncayiyana, is a short film which explores how a young orphaned girl copes with the AIDS related death of her mother. She instinctively cultivates the memory of her mother through her drawings. Set in rural South Africa, the film poetically captures a spirit of resilience and the power of dreams.

The short film is a co-production between South Africa and Italy. Shot by Italian DOP, Alberto Iannuzzi in South Africa, the post-production was completed in Italy.

"It's a great honour to have won this prize on such an important occasion,” says Ouida Smit. “We hope the film will provide insight and a few surprises for audiences. I've often found that people generally have many pre-defined ideas of what rural Africa looks like. The film reflects the tranquil beauty and an ethos of Africa that is not often exposed."

Vuleka Productions has secured 30,000 Euros development funding which has enabled the development of a feature length script called My Secret Sky inspired by the short film. The prize also includes film stock from Kodak, equipment, sub-titling, editing resources and transportation costs towards the next production.

Khalipha Eddie Mbalo, CEO of the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa which hosted a 30 strong delegation of producers and industry professionals at Cannes 2003, said: "The significance of winning a prize at such illustrious events is that African film is given a window of exposure amongst the deluge of European and American images seen all over the world."

"Being able to tell our stories as Africans with African sensibilities is paramount to the sustainability of the African film industry,” says Madoda Ncayiyana. “The film has universal appeal and is not bound by territories or language. Most important to me as a director, it tells of who I am and where I come from without comprising the visual interpretation of the story. I'm eagerly looking forward to the birth of My Secret Sky (the feature) that has been inspired by the short film.”




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