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The great dance triumphs at the Panda Awards

Press Release

History was made when the home-grown documentary feature The great dance — a hunter’s story walked off with 3 prestigious Panda Awards and 2 nominations from the WildScreen 2000 Awards Ceremony this past weekend. WildScreen is the world’s largest forum for Natural History Films and takes place biannually in Bristol (UK).

The great dance won the WWF Golden Panda Award for “Best Film”. It was playing against steep competition, including the BBC / Discovery Channel’s Walking with dinosaurs and Sir David Attenborough’s Life of birds. The film also won the Delegate’s Choice Award (given by the delegates for their favourite entry) and Production Crafts Award for Best Script (other nominations in this category included John Cleese’s Operation Lemur and Attenborough’s Life of birds).

It is the first time that any one film received so many nominations at WildScreen, which is also known as the “Oscars” of Natural History filmmaking. No other film won this many Awards at the 2000 event and only one other film received more than one award (Warriors of the monkey god from BBC NHU).

Says co-director Craig Foster: “Apparently this is the first film ever to dominate an event that has been the near exclusive domain of the BBC and National Geographic to date. This sets a new precedent for this type of filmmaking world-wide and is a boost to the African Renaissance.”

The great dance also received nominations in the following two categories: Animal Planet Human & Animal Award (for the production that best explores an aspect of the relationship between humans and animals — be it beneficial or not) and the Production Crafts Award for Best Music.

The great dance — a hunter’s story voiced by Sello Maake Ka-Ncube from TV’s “Generations”, is the first film ever to be fully supported by WIMSA (Working Group of Indigenous Minorities In Southern Africa). It deals with the unique relationship between the San people of the Kalahari and their environment, seen through the experience of hunting and tracking. Specially adapted mini-cam technology and never-before-seen footage of the death defying ‘chasing hunt’ makes the film unique and remarkable.

“It is a triumph for international and South African independent filmmaking. The joy of the delegates at the event, at the Golden Panda being awarded to The great dance, was hugely enhanced by the fact that it was also chosen as the favourite film by WildScreen’s delegates. Being judged by one’s peers is possibly the toughest of calls.

“With regard to the story, it might be poignant to consider that while both !Nqate Xqamxebe, one of the San hunters in the film, and Sir Attenborough, the world famous filmmaker, make a living out of the environment, it was !Nqate’s moving, first-hand account of this environment that was acknowledged for its unique appeal,” says executive producer James Hersov.

The great dance was directed and photographed by brothers Craig and Damon Foster of Cape Town, executive produced by James Hersov and produced by Ellen Windemuth with a script by Jeremy Evans, music by Barry Donnelly and sound recording / additional photography by Teo Bielefeld. The great dance is an Aardvark / Earthrise / Liquid Pictures / Off the Fence production co-produced with KirchMedia, and Primedia Pictures. Coca-Cola ® is the proud sponsor of the film’s theatrical release in S.A.

The great dance will be released on the Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau circuit on October 20 in Rosebank, Johannesburg; December 1 in Cape Town; and, January 19, 2001 in Pretoria.

Official website for The great


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