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Wednesday, April 1, 2020


(Shaan Nathoo as Baboo & Aaqil Hoosen as Ticky)

South African film Kings of Mulberry Street, directed by Judy Naidoo, has won the Best Feature Film award at the Children’s Film Festival in Seattle, one of the largest and most respected film festivals in the world. It’s the latest in a long list of accolades for the film.

Each year, Northwest Film Forum selects international children’s films from dozens of countries, reaching more than 10,000 people during festival screenings in Seattle and a subsequent festival tour of more than 20 US cities. Children’s Film Festival Seattle stands for racial equity and diversity, inclusivity, social justice, global awareness, and the best in age-appropriate, visual storytelling for young people.

This year, prizes were selected by three juries of children and youth, who watched the festival’s competition both during the festival, which began on February 27, 2020, and then remotely after the second weekend of the festival was postponed due to the public health crisis brought by the coronavirus.

“The festival celebrates the best and brightest in international cinema for children, and I am absolutely thrilled that Kings of Mulberry Street has won this prestigious award,” said Naidoo. “The results were announced one month after CFFS youth juries first gathered, and then dispersed after an abbreviated festival cut much too short. The jury is made up of dedicated young film critics, who gave the festival their all, writing insightful comments and fulfilling their duties with both joy and seriousness.”

Set in the early 80s, in the fictionalised area of Sugarhill District in KwaZulu-Natal, Kings of Mulberry Street is a charmingly nostalgic story of two young Indian boys (Shaan Nathoo as Baboo and Aaqil Hoosen as Ticky) who have to find a way to overcome their differences and unite in order to defeat the bullying local crime lord who is threatening their families. A delightful and hilarious adventure, with universal themes that appeal to the whole family, the film also pays tribute to classic 80s Bollywood movies and their heroes. Visually colourful and vibrant, the film is also touching and heart-warming. 

The film screened at cinemas countrywide in South Africa is 2019 and was distributed by Indigenous Film Distribution. 

“We are incredibly proud of Judy and the whole Kings of Mulberry Street team,” said Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “In awarding prizes, the juries chose 21 films from North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia, recognising in their awards a majority of female directors for their work. Winning best feature is a wonderful accolade and we congratulate Judy and the cast and crew.”