Independent film

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March 2, 2017 Shane Murphy

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Thiru NNovember 2, 20164min60

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,”

Click here for info on the Independent Producers Organisation


Thiru NMay 28, 20145min70

From flawless performances to mesmerizing and beautiful landscapes – “The forgotten Kingdom” is a well-executed film of an excellent stature.

It’s no surprise! The independent feature film snatched three at The African Movie Academy Awards!

Congratulations to:

  • Carlos Carvalho for Best Cinematography;
  • Michael Botha and Charlotte Buys for Best Sound Design; and
  • Lebohang Ntsane for Best Child Actor.

Ntsane’s acceptance speech was the highlight of AMAA 2014. At the microphone in front of 3,000 people, he held up his trophy and belted out, “This is for Lesotho!”

This 98-minute film is no blockbuster moneymaking cash cow… Andrew Mudge realized from conception, at the beginning of his 9-year journey but pursued it anyway. The only sensible conclusion one can come to – he did it for the love of film, to be drawn into the life of a character so much so, that you are encapsulated by scenery and character.

While Mudge has no kids of his own, he believes, “Making a feature film is akin to having a kid”. He goes onto to say “we only have a certain number of heart beats, why waste time…”

Here’s an interview with Andrew Mudge the writer, director, and part producer of The Forgotten Kingdom

What is your moral premise and you overarching goal within this 98minute film?

It’s interesting that within the film the antagonist is more than a character it seems to belong to the greater plot…please elaborate.

How did you select your cast? What was it like working with amateur and professional actors while working from a foreign language script?

Why did you choose to set this film in Lesotho and Johannesburg?

This is your first feature film… what was that journey like?

Thank you Andrew Mudge for being part of Africa’s 1st Film Blog

Review | Trailer 


Other awards:

  • Cape Town – Carlos Carvalho wins Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography at the 14th annual Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Gala held in New York.
  • Audience Choice Best Narrative at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival 2014
Many thanks to Casting Director Bonnie Lee Bouman for allowing us to use her casting studio for this interview.


Thiru NApril 14, 20144min103

With a touch of magical realism comes a story about a young beer drinking cigarette-smoking rebel, Atang Mokoenya (Zenzo Ngqobe) who is forced into a series of unravelling events leading him on a journey of self-discovery where he is stripped of all his wealth and quickly learns the way of the world.

 If you haven’t yet been to Lesotho, The Forgotten Kingdom will take you there! The D.O.P, Carlos Carvalho, did an amazing job in capturing the epic landscapes of this beautiful country.

The Forgotten Kingdom is an independent film and took 9 years to manifest on screen. It all began with a script, written by Andrew Mudge who also produced, directed, and edited this full-length-feature-film.

The script was written in English by the American Mudge and later translated into Sesotho for the scenes shot in Lesotho, and Tsotsitaal for parts of the story shot in Johannesburg, South Africa. While Mudge recognised his limitations with the Sesotho language, he states ~ “It’s about the honesty of the performance. It’s not about how the words come out. This movie isn’t about reading text. I wanted as little dialogue as possible. I never wanted line upon line of subtitle. The story’s about beauty; show and not tell, which meant finding the perfect cast to convey this.”

My favorite qualities about this feature film are the performances; they gripped the audience and me. Strong and authentic each artist is. Even though The Forgotten Kingdom had no major star cast, casting director Bonnie Lee Bowman did a fantastic job of putting the performers together.

There’s so much more I could add to this film, such as the wonderful music by Robert Miller but films are not meant to be read-about, they’re meant to be watched.

This part American and HUGE part African feature film had also snatched a few international awards:

  • 2013 Sarasota Film Festival – Audience Award Best Narrative Feature
  • 2013 Florida Film Festival – Audience Award Best Narrative Feature
  • 2013 Ashland Independent Film Festival – Audience Award Best Narrative Feature
  • 2013 Ashland Independent Film Festival – Finalist Best Cinematography

The Forgotten Kingdom is the first feature film produced in Lesotho. Like all journeys, it was a voyage into the great unknown. ~ Andrew Mudge

You can watch the trailer here