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WAH-WAH FOR EDINBURGH (article first published : 2005-07-21)

Veteran actor-turned-director Richard E Grant, recently seen in Stories from an African Farm, will have his semi-autobiographical film Wah Wah open the Edinburgh Film Festival in the UK on August 17.

Filmed entirely in Swaziland, the film depicts an adolescent boy’s coming of age amidst the divorce between his parents which is back-dropped against the Independence of Swaziland in the late 1960’s. For a directorial debut, Grant summoned an impressive cast which is lead by Gabriel Byrne, and supported by Emily Watson, Miranda Richardson, Ian Hault and Julie Walters.

Also in the cast were South African actors Michael Richard, Ian Roberts, John Matshikiza, Caroline Smart (editor of artSMart) and Claire Marshall.

This marks yet another success for South African-based Dv8/IMG Films (Max & Mona, Forgiveness and The Flyer) who executive-produced the film with the backing of Rand Merchant Bank.

“We’re ecstatic that Wah Wah has been honoured to be the opening film in. Edinburgh,” states Dv8/IMG producer Joel Phiri. “It was important that this film has its world premiere in Europe and we are quite pleased that it’s also on British soil. We believe that the Edinburgh audience will warm to this film. It gives a strong platform for selling the film”.

Shot in wide-angle 35mm format, the film harks back to the stylistic dramas of the late 1960’s that seemed to have influenced Grant’s cinematic style. The opening will be attended by the principal cast including a very pregnant Emily Watson, who appears as Byrne’s charismatic American air hostess wife who ruffles the conservative feathers of British colonial housewives in Swaziland.

The film has also been selected to make its North American premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in Canada in September.

South African distributor Ster Kinekor has acquired the film from Dv8/IMG so filmgoers can expect to see it in 2006.




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