South Africa has submitted a film about Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder and musical director Dr. Joseph Shabalala for consideration to compete in the International Feature Film category for the 96th Annual Academy Awards (Oscars).
“Music is My Life tells the story of the late South African musician Shabalala, who rose to international acclaim with his band Ladysmith Black Mambazo and contributed to Paul Simon’s successful Graceland album,” the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) said.
Produced by the seasoned award-winning producer, Carolyn Carew, the feature documentary film was shot over a period of five years and Shabalala’s creative process through the lense of his life.
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NFVF Acting CEO Thobela Mayinje said, “It is always a great and privileged opportunity to have a South African film represent the country at the global industry’s foremost awards. The fact that this particular film tells the authentic South African story of the iconic Dr. Shabalala, is even more special.”
The NFVF noted that the film is an engaging tribute to South Africa’s diverse culture, one of South Africa’s most distinct traditional musical forms, isicathamiya, and the man with a remarkable voice who made it globally relevant.
“Since its release, the film has screened at a number of local and international film festivals and has garnered critical acclaim by audiences in countries like America, New Zealand, Australia and Spain, to name a few. Locally, Music is My Life screened at the Labia Cinema for over five days and on what would have been Dr. Shabalala’s 83rd birthday, the public broadcaster’s SABC 1 channel aired the film,” the agency added.
The decision to enter the film was made after a rigorous judging process by the South African Academy Awards Selection Committee.
This year’s committee comprised a diverse group of seasoned industry professionals from various fields within the film industry, who were submitted to and approved by the Academy.
The official nominations for the 96th Annual Academy Awards will be announced on 23 January 2024.