Hot on the heels of its screening at the 59th BFI London Film Festival in October, South African coming-of-age film Ayanda has been released in theatres in Los Angeles and New York. The film was picked up for distribution in the US by Selma director and film distributor Ava DuVernay’s distribution company Array.
Additional screenings will be held in Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, as well as the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival and the Africa in Motion Film Festival. Ayanda is showing in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Houston, Detroit, Seattle, Calabash, Greensboro and Boston until December 5. Directly following this Ayanda will be available on DSTV Box Office in South Africa from December 16.
Ayanda, the latest film by award-winning director Sara Blecher, is a tale of love, friendship and growth in contemporary South Africa. The film tells the story of a single-minded 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani), who has a talent for taking neglected pieces of furniture and “bringing them back to love”. Eight years after her father’s death, his prized auto repair garage is in deep debt and in danger of being sold, but Ayanda does everything in her power to hold onto his legacy.
The film also stars Nigerian actor OC Ukeje – winner of the 2015 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award for Best Actor, Jafta Mamabolo, Nthati Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Sihle Xaba and Vanessa Cooke.
Director Blecher says the film could not have found a more well-matched distributor in the US. “Not only is Ayanda a story about women, made by women, but it also highlights female entrepreneurship and ingenuity, both talents which can mean the difference between success and hardship in a city like Johannesburg. To have the film bought for distribution by an African American woman who has made her mark in Hollywood was an incredibly proud moment for all of us involved in the making of Ayanda.”
Set in a vibrant and diverse Johannesburg, Ayanda gives audiences a colourful and vivid view of urban South African youth culture. The film has a youthful cast, and pulses with energy and street style. At its heart, however, Ayanda looks at what it’s like for a young girl to grow up without a father, and how she and others around her have to learn how to let go of the things and people they love to move forward.