Award-winning South African film follows a young boy’s journey to reach his dreams
Apr 10, 2014 | 453 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hlayani Junior Mabasa (center) portrays Felix, a 14-year-old boy who overcomes obstacles at home and at school in order to pursue his dreams of becoming a saxophone player. Courtesy Photo
Hlayani Junior Mabasa (center) portrays Felix, a 14-year-old boy who overcomes obstacles at home and at school in order to pursue his dreams of becoming a saxophone player. Courtesy Photo
slideshow
“Felix,” a South African film described by reviewers as “uplifting” and “inspiring,” will be screened in Moab on Saturday, April 12 as part of the Utah Film Center’s Tumbleweeds program for kids. The film will be shown at Star Hall, 125 E. Center St., at 2 p.m.

The film, directed by Roberta Durrant, tells the story of 14-year-old Felix Xaba (Hlayani Junior Mabasa), who dreams of becoming a saxophonist like his late father, but must overcome obstacles at home and school in order to fulfill his heart’s desire. Felix’s mother Lindiwe believes jazz is the devil’s music and forbids her son to pursue his dream.

In director’s notes posted on the film’s website, www.felixthemovie.com, Durrant says she was drawn to writer Shirley Johnston’s script for “Felix” as “ a heartwarming and moving coming-of-age story set in post-apartheid South Africa with a strong Cape jazz element.”

“The strength of the script lay in both 13-year-old Felix’s journey of transformation, as well as his mother’s,” Durrant wrote. “I loved the way the script brought home the fact that our children can be agents of change in our personal journeys as parents.”

In the film, Felix defies his mother’s wishes when he leaves his township friends to take up an eighth-grade scholarship at an elitist private school. However, because bullies begin picking on him, school is difficult for Felix. He sees the school’s jazz concert as his opportunity to prove himself and turns to two aging members of his father’s old band to help him prepare for the school jazz concert.

“I approached Felix as a fable, incorporating a symmetrical and almost naïve feel, with bursts of colour accompanying the flourish of the jazz music. Integrating the music into the visuals was probably the most challenging,” Durrant wrote. “My intention was that people watching the movie would laugh and cry all at the same time.”

The film was named this year’s Audience Award Winner at the 2014 Tumbleweeds Film Festival in Salt Lake City. “Felix” has also won a variety of other international awards. The film was named Best Film at the 2013 Filmfest in Hamburg, and Durrant was named Best Director at the 2013 Africa International Film Festival.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.