First time feature film maker, Nicole Schafer, whose film, "Buddha in Africa" won an award at the Durban International Film Festival, will automatically qualify for consideration for an Oscar nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences.
The KwaZulu-Natal based Schafer, who was grateful for the award, said that although the process was long and challenging, she was happy to have been recognised.
"The journey of making and completing a documentary can be a long and challenging process and it is very meaningful to have this affirmation and recognition here at home at the Durban International Film Festival, where we first pitched the project several years ago," said Schafer.
The 90-minute documentary about a Malawian teenager caught between his African roots and Chinese upbringing had its world premiere at the HotDocs Documentary film festival in Canada in April and opened the Encounters Documentary Festival in Cape Town and Johannesburg in June where it received a Backsberg Encounters Audience Award.
It was also in the official selection at this year's Sydney International Film Festival in June, and has a host of other festivals lined-up including the Hilton Arts Festival in September.
Don Edkins, executive producer of AfriDocs said he had watched this extraordinary story unfold over the past seven years.
"It's a story that opens up discussions about contemporary Africa and the implications it holds for the young Africans who are caught in the clash between African and Chinese cultures. We are proud to be the broadcast partner across the continent on our documentary film strand AfriDocs," said Edkins.
"Buddha in Africa", which has had support of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and other international funders, has already been sold to several international territories.