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DRUM PROMO (article first published : 2005-07-18)

Nu-Metro and Film Resource Unit have formed a strategic alliance and are set to launch a historic nationwide cinema release of the award winning film Drum on July 22. The proposed campaign will be unprecedented in the history of South African cinema.

Film Resource Unit has commissioned Fineline Productions (Pty) Ltd to plan and execute promotional activities in shopping malls and flea markets as part of their promotion and marketing strategy for Drum in KwaZulu-Natal. The aim of this promo and marketing package is to entice cinema lovers to attend a superbly-made movie of historical and political significance which celebrates the spirit of lost communities in South Africa that were forcefully removed/displaced during the apartheid era. Examples are Cato Manor in Durban, Sophiatown in Johannesburg and District Six in Cape Town.

As provincial coordinators promoting and marketing Drum, Fineline Productions will stage ‘mock celebrations’ at Essenwood Craft Market on July 23 as part of the promo package. This would entail distribution of flyers, a group of 15 actors singing and dancing urging people to watch Drum and the talents of a praise poet walking through the market promoting the film.

Award-winning short film and documentary director Zola Maseko (The Foreigner, The Life and Times of Sara Baartman, A Drink in the Passage) makes his feature debut with Drum, an energetic historical thriller set against the vibrant 1950s township life of Sophiatown. At the height of apartheid, a small Johannesburg magazine, Drum, dared to explore the rich and hidden contours of black South African life.

This thrilling piece is a kaleidoscopic insight into an era of boxing, drinking dens, music, politics and prisons centred on the country’s foremost black journalist Henry Nxumalo, his colleagues and the figures of the day including the Jim Bailey, photographer Jurgen Schadeberg and a young Nelson Mandela.

The period between the 50’s and the 60’s was not only a time of the birthing of the African intellectuals but was also a time when the National Party, the then ruling Afrikaner and racist government, was coming down strongly on Blacks living in urban areas. This also meant the forced removals of Coloured folks from Cape Town’s Districts Six, Johannesburg’s Africans, Indians, Coloureds and Chinese from Sophia town and the forced removals of Indians and Africans from Cato Manor in Durban.

The film features American actor Taye Diggs and South Africa’s own Moshidi Motshegwa, Tumiso Masha and Zola. Drum won the Golden Stallion award at FESPACO, and The Best South African feature at the Durban International Film Festival in 2005.




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