South African film industry loses a legend, award winning Producer and Director – Junaid Ahmed

South African film industry loses a legend, award winning Producer and Director – Junaid Ahmed

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Johannesburg South Africa: 01 November 2016 – It is with a heavy heart that the Independent Producers Organisation announces the passing of its Executive Member, Award-winning Producer/Director Junaid Ahmed, age 57.

Junaid Ahmed worked his way up the ranks, he was a man who passionately loved the South African film industry. He hailed from Durban, South Africa and became an international award-winning director and producer. His work includes productions for South African broadcasters, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. Ahmed’s accolades include Best Sports Documentary at the Milan FICTS Festival for “Iqakamba – Hard Ball” and “Lucky” – BAFTA nominated for Best Short Film and winner of Best Short Film at over 40 International Film Festivals including Oscar eligible festivals of Clermont Ferrand, Cinequest San Jose and Aspen Shortsfest.

Junaid Ahmed’s feature films include directing “More Than Just A Game” which was acquired by Sony Pictures International (SPI) for international distribution. Together with Helena Spring, Junaid worked on a slate of films supported by the National Film and Video Foundation, and produced the 1st of the films, Hard to Get which was released in cinemas in August 2014, and went on to win multiple awards at various major international film awards. Known by many for his hard work, creativity and an innovative mind, Junaid’s last work released at the cinemas was Happiness is a Four Letter Word, where he worked with a brilliant team that comprised, producing partners Bongiwe Selane and Helena Spring, director Thabang Moleya. Happiness is a Four Letter Word surpassed expectations and became the first film by a team of black producers and director to make history, surging pass R12m at the South African Box Office in just over 30 days.

In one of the online posts published in 2010, fellow Executive Member at IPO, Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat had this to say about Junaid – “Junaid is a true gentleman and a fantastic director. Honest, hardworking, professional and very, very funny. He is one of the most creative and inventive people I have ever met”.

IPO Chairperson and Colleague Akin Omotoso said – “Junaid indeed epitomised excellence! His work, professionalism and commitment to his craft positively impacted the lives of many people, not only in South Africa, but also around the world. May his soul rest in peace,”

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