UK Release Of New South Africa Film Otelo Burning, Directed By Award-Winning Filmmaker Sara Blecher

240x_mg_south_africa_film_otelo_burningAya Distribution in association with the New Black Film Network is delighted to announce the UK release of the new and award winning South African film – Otelo Burning.

This cutting edge production is somewhere between City of God and Blue Crush, it is an emotional coming-of-age story about township kids learning to surf.

Set against the backdrop of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, it looks at the enormous potential for change at the time of apartheid’s downfall – all seen through the eyes of a child.

This film will have a six-night theatrical release from the 16th until the 21th of April in screening venues right across London. Key events will include a premiere, three showings with music events, panel discussions, and school and university screenings.

Aya Distribution Project Director says, ”from the moment we watched Otelo Burning we were moved and inspired by the stories it portrays.

Through captivating cinematography, cultural realism, and rare scenes of black South African’s surfing it shows the multi-faceted nature of Apartheid and the price of freedom. We are extremely passionate about releasing more African films into the UK market, and we are glad that this film will be marking the forefront of this endeavour”.

Otelo Burning arrives following an extremely successful US release where it was reviewed by the New York Times and Variety Magazine. It has also played at over 50 film festivals in 30 cities around the world in the last year including screenings at such prestigious film festivals at the BFI London International Film Festival and the Busan International Festival in Korea.

The film has recently won the Africa Magic Viewers Choice award for best film, and was also further honored at the 2012 African Movie Academy Awards, where it won two of 13 total nominations, including the prize for Best Cinematography and Best Child Actor (Tshepang Mohlomi). Otelo Burning also won the Golden Owl Audience Award for Best Film at Cinerama BC Brazil and Best South African Film at the Cape Winelands Film Festival.

Based on true events this beautifully made film captures a turbulent time in the history of South Africa. It is a visually dynamic and emotionally powerful drama about three friends – Otelo, New Year and Mandla as they look for an escape through a time of turmoil within the township of Lamontville. They are on the cusp of making it in this world when they turn on each other.

After this the story becomes one of greed, betrayal and jealousy, a metaphor for a nation grappling with its own freedom.

The Director, Sara Blecher states, ”this is a young, vibrant, sexy story, and one that’s never been shown on the big screen before. I don’t think people would put young black kids in 1990 together with surfing; that’s what makes it so striking, so unique and so local”.

Mesmerising from start to finish this film takes viewers right to the heart of issues facing South African youth during apartheid. It is a heartfelt film for audiences everywhere encouraging us all to rethink what freedom means to us.

To pre- order your tickets for these exciting screenings please follow the links outlined in the programme below:

For more information about this press release please contact Justine Atkinson, Project Director for Aya Distribution by telephone on: 07971740678 or email:

Event: UK PREMIERE Screening and Q&A
Date: 16th of April
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley, 52 High Rd, London N2 9PJ

Pre-book tickets here:

Event: Panel Discussion: Taking African films to new markets followed by screening

Description: This event will draw on the experience and expertise of leading industry professionals, and discuss the distribution possibilities emerging for African films in the UK. Followed by a screening of Otelo Burning.

Date: 17th of April
Time: 6pm – 9.30pm
Venue: 15 Golden Square
London W1F 9JG
Pre-book tickets here:

Event: Birkbeck Cinema Screening and Q&A
Description: Cinema screening of Otelo Burning followed by a Q&A with the Director and renowned South African filmmaker Sara Blecher.

Date: 19th of April
Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Venue: 41 Gordon Square (use entrance at 43 Gordon Square) 
Birkbeck, University of London 
London WC1H 0PD

Pre-book tickets here:

Event: Horse Hospital Screening followed by DJ night

Description: The Horse Hospital is now a unique Grade II listed arts venue situated in an un-spoilt mews in the heart of Bloomsbury, midway between the West End and the art district of East London. This unique venue will provide the space for a screening of Otelo Burning followed by some fantastic African music and dance.

Date: 20th of April
Time: 7pm – 12am
Venue: The Horse Hospital
Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1HX

Pre-book tickets here:

Please find links to reviews and the trailer below:


Official Website:
Official Facebook:

New York Times:

Variety Magazine: