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Celebrated director/producer Mandlakayise Walter Dube (Rivonia Trial and the 2017 award-winning feature film Kalushi) presented his new film in development Black Samurai One: Legend of Yasuke to media and filmmakers at this year’s Durban FilmMart (DFM).
The film is the fourth instalment from the Legends of Freedom series, which includes the upcoming Silverton Siege shooting later this year.
The Yasuke screenplay is being written by novelist and screenwriter Sabelo Mgidi, who is currently on the second collaboration with Dube. The screenplay is being developed in partnership with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Film Commission, with the support of the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC).
“The project is another opportunity for the film commission to achieve its vision of positioning KwaZulu-Natal as a globally competitive, diverse and sustainable industry and choice film destination. It is also the objective of the film fund to invest in the development of content which has commercial viability and content that will showcase local KZN content locally and internationally,” says analyst Teboho Petersen who is overlooking the script development process for KZNFC.
“Yasuke will not be like Kalushi, a rather historical drama. Yasuke is going to grab the youth like no other South African movie has before. The movie is meant to feed the hunger of our country that has so longed for a hometown hero to be celebrated in full view and accepted internationally,” says Walter Ayres who co-produced Kalushi.
The script is being edited by veteran filmmaker Ntshcavheni Waluruli of The Wooden Camera, Elelwani, and Chikin Biznis.
Professor Hiraku Kaneko is the history consultant on the screenplay and is based at the Historiographical Institute at the University of Tokyo specializing in the Sengoku era and historical materials of the time of Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Yasuke will be the first time that South African filmmakers co-produce a project with Japanese filmmakers.
“We are pleased that Mandla Dube has selected to attend the DFM to use this industry platform to showcase his new film in development, and to use the networking opportunities that the Mart affords delegates,” says Toni Monty, Head of the Durban Film Office and Durban FilmMart.
South African based Pambili Media is producing the film and seeking international sales representation and distribution. Locally the film is with Indigenous Film Distribution.