Two AFDA alumni films in race for the Oscars 2021

News, 20 November 2020

< back to all news

AFDA is as proud as punch to announce that two AFDA alumni feature films have been selected as candidates for the holy grail of film awards – the Oscars. The multi-award winning Basotho film, “This is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection”, produced by AFDA alumni Cait Pansegrouw and Elias Ribeiro has been selected as Lesotho’s entry for the Best International Feature Film Award at the 2021 Academy Awards along with South African feature film entry “Toorbos” written and directed by alumna Rene van Rooyen.

Both films were also beautifully shot by AFDA alumni, “Toorbos” by Brendan Barnes (DOP) and “This is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection” by Pierre de Villiers (DOP).

“This is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection”, starring the late Mary Twala, has already massed up 21 awards on the international film circuit including the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Our film will be Lesotho’s first-ever Oscar entry. This is a historic moment. It was made under such humble and challenging circumstances, but it continues to amaze us as it takes on a life of its own. I am exceedingly proud and so thankful for everything that it has achieved.” says producer Cait.

“This is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection”,  offers a vivid, beautifully crafted reflection on identity, community and the tension between respecting age-old traditions and accepting the seemingly unstoppable march of progress,” said Allan Hunter of Screen International.

“Toorbos”, the adaptation of Dalene Matthee’s best-selling novel, has seen great success at the Cape Town International Market and Film Festival, having won the award for Work in Progress (WIP) programme. The film has also been selected for the Torino Film Festival in Italy, November 2020. It is only the third South African entry by a female director for the Academy Awards, since 1989.

“The film not only highlights the importance of finding the balance in the tug of war between the masculine and feminine but also in the urgent need to heal our broken world, by reconnecting to nature. The submission gives the film spotlight in the global arena, an absolute dream come true for the project. We are truly humbled.” says writer and director Rene.

“Toorbos’s success serves as a great testament of this classic novel and our history as a country. Our filmmakers play a significant role in preserving our history and René has managed to capture Dalene Mathee’s novel immaculately. The story of Toorbos is about a historical event in South Africa, which affected the last forest inhabitants of South Africa’s Knysna forest in the 1930s. We wish René and her team all the best as their film will be competing on global stages. South Africa is rooting for you,’’ says NFVF CEO Makhosazana Khanyile.

“This is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection” kicks off its Oscar-qualifying run on Friday, November 27, at Ster Kinekor Tygervalley in Cape Town and Ster Kinekor Sandton in Johannesburg.

“Toorbos” is now showing in movie theatres nationwide.



AFDA alumni bag 48 nominations @ SAFTA’s 2021

AFDA alumni have received a massive 46 nominations at the15th South African Film and Television Awar...

read more

Imagine being able to say - WE WON THE OSCAR -

Every person in the film industry dreams of one day being able to shout out loud – WE WON THE ...

read more

3 AFDA 2020 graduation films in race for the Oscar

AFDA is proud to announce the selection of three 2020 graduation films to compete for the most prest...

read more

Simon “Mabhunu” Sabela, Award statue unveiled at AFDA Durban

On the 16th April, the Simon Sabela Awards Statue was officially unveiled by members of the KZN Film...

read more


Join a community of innovators and stay up to date with our latest newsletter.


AFDA is registered as the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, and is a private higher education institution which offers higher certificate and degree programmes. It is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as a private higher education institution under the the Higher Education Act, 1997. Registration certificate no. 2001/HE07/012. Our programmes are accredited and we participate productively in the ongoing reaccreditation and quality assurance processes of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to ensure the quality of our programmes.
Disclaimer: AFDA reserves the rights to make changes or withdraw information or course offers without prior notice. Where possible, AFDA will endeavour to notify all persons and/or organisations affected as a result.