PAFF kicked-off the 12-day 2014 festival with an opening night screening of South African film; “Of Good Report” (directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka). Opening Night was capped with an array of both veteran Hollywood talent and rising stars eager to see the opening night film. Seen in the photograph below are CCH Pounder, Kenny Latimore, Nicki Micheaux, Ayuko Babu, Rocky Carrol, Charles Dutton, Jamil XT Qubeka.
The film was a smash hit at the festival, receiving critical acclaim and winning an award for Best Feature Film for 2013. The story was compelling, dark, and brooding. Before being shown at PAFF 2014 the film created international controversy by defying of South African law through its depiction of sexuality and violence. “Of Good Report” was initially banned from being shown in its home country. During its premiere at the Durban Film Festival, the film was accompanied by a message that stated “This film has been refused classification by the Film and Publication Board, in terms of the Film and Publications Act 1996. Unfortunately we may not legally screen the film ‘Of Good Report’ as to do so would constitute a criminal offense.”
Parker, a shy and mysterious high school teacher, arrives at his new assignment in a rural school. While he is earnest in his passion for teaching, his extra-curricular attentions are drawn to a gorgeous young girl. When he realizes she is a student at his very school – and forbidden fruit – he grows increasingly obsessed. When the girl goes missing, a female detective comes snooping around, fueling Parker’s unstable, even dangerous, behavior. A modern-day classic film noir that will in time prove to be a milestone in Pan African film. The film stars Mothusi Magano, Petronella Tshuma, Thobi Mkhwanazi, Nomhlé Nkyonyeni and Tshamano Sebe.
Many have argued that this obstacle served as a means of driving the film’s message and pushing the film to an international stage. Qubeka was awarded the prize for Artistic Bravery as an acknowledgment of “the film’s achievements in stimulating worldwide debate and highlighting important issues in South African society” by the Durban International Film Festival.
The past hindrances for “Of Good Report” were almost a distant memory once it appeared at PAFF 2014. The story of the film’s journey from being a barred cinematic narrative to being an internationally acclaimed film was felt throughout each minute of the film. The crowd sat at the edges of their seat—compelled by every minute. In the end, “Of Good Report” was a true testament to the power of culturally rich cinema.