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South Africa selects 'Knuckle City' for Oscars

Bongile Mantsai plays Dudu Nyakama with Thembekile Komani who plays his younger brother, Duke.

Jahmil XT Qubeka's Mdantsane-based film, 'Knuckle City' is this year’s South African entry for the highly coveted best International Feature Film award for the 2020 Academy Awards. In April 2019, the Academy’s Board of Governors voted to rename the Foreign Language Film category to International Feature Film.

Six film submissions were received for the 2020 Oscars consideration and they were: Flatland, Racheltjie De Beer, Poppie Nongena, Back of the Moon, Knuckle City and Moffie. The National Film and Video foundation (NFVF) called local film producers to submit their films for selection in August this year. These films were viewed by 14 jury members drawn from the creative industry.

Knuckle City came through as the most relevant South African film. “Its 'slice of life' perspective reminded me of what Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie attempted to do with their earlier films. It is not a superficial exploration of familial binds nestled between high octane car chases. It is, in fact, a dark exploration of a family's existence in a bleak world with some clever humour to make it palatable. Although this is not the obvious choice, I truly believe it's the best choice we could have made to represent South Africa at the Academy Awards” noted a jury member.

The film is currently making its international debut at the Toronto International Film festival (TIFF), where it will premiere in the official Contemporary World Cinema Category and it’s set to premiere in South African theatres on Boxing Day, 26 December 2019.

“What an amazing journey Knuckle City has had thus far, the film is as hard hitting as its title suggests. Its quintessentially South African but also a very universal tale and touches on so many themes making it dark and relatable all at once. I think Jahmil is a fearless storyteller and we wish this film the very best as it competes on an international scale” said NFVF CEO, Makhosazana Khanyile.

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