As the award ceremonies roll out across the world, so too are the film festivals.
And the 51st International Film Festival Rotterdam (IIFR) has been the talk of the town as it chose SA’s comedy feature “Daryn’s Gym” among a plethora of global releases to be showcased later this month.
By the way, IFFR is one of the largest audience and industry-driven film festivals in the world. The festival’s Official Selection includes more than 570 feature, mid-length, and short films from almost 90 countries.
In December, “Daryn’s Gym” launched exclusively on eVOD, which is eMedia’s streaming platform.
The mockumentary comedy by Brett Michael Innes, who wears the hat of a writer and director, is produced by Paulo Areal and stars a host of familiar faces from Hlubi Mboya, Siv Ngesi, Natasha Sutherland and Deon Coetzee.
News anchor Shahan Ramkissoon makes a guest appearance.
The David and Goliath premise pits Daryn JNR (played by Clifford Joshua Young) and his family-run Miller & Sons gym up against Funi (Mboya), who is the cut-throat owner of a successful national fitness franchise.
Hlubi Mboya as Funi in a scene from the movie. Picture: Supplied
And so “Daryn’s Gym” will be included as part of the IIFR’s Big Screen Competition section of the program.
Just to expand on why this is a big deal, the Big Screen Competition is the result of a long-lived collaboration between IFFR and VPRO, bridging the gap between popular, classic and art house cinema by showcasing sixteen feature films from across the globe to an audience jury.
On the film’s international premiere, Innes said: “I was completely blown away. It is notoriously difficult for comedies to find a place at festivals, as the genre is often passed over for more ‘prestigious’ content.
“ In addition to this, South African films that have festival traction almost exclusively focus on our pain and trauma, so to have one that celebrates our shared humanity through the lens of comedy is a huge honour.”
Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions make it impossible for the team to attend the festival.
Areal added: “We’re naturally very disappointed that we won’t be able to experience this in person.
“I was fortunate enough to attend the festival in 2018 when my film ‘Ellen: The Story of Ellen Pakkies’ played in the program and have always been blown away by the love and support extended to filmmakers by the festival.”
The virtual festival will run from January 26 to February 6 and will feature a number of master-classes and industry programs.