Film Professor Martin Botha is the only Southern African member of the International Federation of Film Critics, the organization world renowned to send 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, by far the best South African film,” said Botha after watching the film in Cape Town.
“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,” said Botha again.
The FIPRESCI critic was discussing the best films that played at the Cape Town International Film 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 Woodwind.”
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 is better than A Father’s Will. It is so brilliant!” said Botha. “It is a contender for the Best Film and Best Debut. Can it win both? I’ve seen that (multiple awards) happen at some festivals before, but (Botha stressed for the third time) Woodwind is by far, by far the best South African film,” he added.
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.
You can read the full article, including a reaction from director Fin Manjoo in Africa’s two best film industry magazines below.
All of the above mentioned SA films were categorized as belonging to the 2017 award season, with the exception of Woodwind which will move into 2018 when the final cut will be complete.