South Africa’s film industry needs to reach for the stars

South Africa’s film industry needs to reach for the stars

Actress Connie Chiume says South Africa's film industry has the potential to rival Hollywood. She stars alongside renowned actor and godfather of theatre, John Kani, and his son Atandwa Kani in the anticipated Marvel Comics superhero film Black Panther. by Ntombizodwa Makhoba

She said it had been overwhelming to see the professionalism, discipline, big budgets and the equipment used in Hollywood.

"It's unfortunate that in South Africa we don't have budgets on a larger scale that will allow us to tell stories of the black community.

"I believe if we can have discipline and professionalism, and be united as actors, we will be able to tell our stories and reach Hollywood standards of acting," she said.

Black Panther stars award-winning Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Michael B Jordan and Forest Whitaker, and will be screened in cinemas next month.

Chiume plays a supporting role, the mining elder, in the movie. She told City Press this week that she was excited about the attention she was getting at home.

"I was in tears when fans on social media showed me love and appreciation by volunteering to design my outfits for the premiere of Black Panther and for the Pan African Film Festival in Lost Angeles next month," she said.

Fans wanted to help after blogger Phil Mphela on Tuesday tweeted an appeal for local designers to make her something special to wear for the occasion.

Talking about the movie, she said it was exciting and fun to be part of the process.

Everyone was friendly and easy to work with, from the directors to the crew.

"Working with people around the world was the highlight. I found myself on a par with them."

This isn't the first time Chiume has starred in a Hollywood film.

She has appeared in movies such as The Air Up There (1994), I Dreamed of Africa (2000) and In My Country (2004).

Kani plays a leading role as King T'Chaka.

He told City Press that South Africa was focusing more on storytelling instead of exploring and making epic stories. With small budgets, it would be impossible to challenge Hollywood's blockbusters, he said.

"But we must not give up. There is so much hope in improving our acting industry."

Kani stars alongside his son Atandwa, who plays the younger version of T'Chaka.
"In the movie, my son visits me in an ancestral vision, when things don't go well in his life," Kani explained.

He praised his son for doing an incredible job as an actor, and for his splendid job as a language and culture consultant.

Asked what viewers can expect, he said: "If you watched computerised features such as Iron Man, this is what the Black Panther is all about."

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