Award-winning South African writer/director Sara Blecher’s latest film, Ayanda, which is garnering very positive reviews on the festival circuit, has been picked up by Ava DuVernay’s distribution company, Array, for distribution in North America.
The film will get a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles in early November, with a digital release to follow soon after.
The deal makes Ayanda one of the first two movies to be distributed by Array, after it was renamed from AFFRM (the other being Takeshi Fukunaga’s debut feature, “Out of My Hand).
The deal was brokered by Ten10Films/Restless Distribution, a Restless Global company, which is selling and distributing Ayanda worldwide.
Array is the new incarnation of DuVernay’s 5 year-old distribution company, previously known as AFFRM (African American Film Festival Releasing Movement). In its new, expanded capacity, Array will focus on releasing films by filmmakers of color and female filmmakers.
“Not only is AYANDA a story about women, made by women, but it also highlights female entrepreneurship and ingenuity, both talents which can mean the difference between success and hardship in a city like Johannesburg,” said Blecher. “To have the film bought for distribution by an African American woman who has made her mark in Hollywood was an incredibly proud moment for all of us involved in the making of AYANDA.”
“Ava DuVernay has long been a champion of black independent films, enabling filmmakers to reach a wider African-American audience. Array is a perfect fit for a film like AYANDA and we could not have hoped for a more suitable North American partner,” said Restless Global’s Tendeka Matatu.
A tale of love, friendship and growth in contemporary South Africa, AYANDA was produced by Real Eyes Films and Terry Pheto’s Leading Lady Productions, with the support of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Africa Magic and the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The film stars newcomer Fulu Mugovhani and Nigerian actor OC Ukeje, winner of the 2015 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award for Best Actor.
Ayanda had its world premiere earlier this year at the LA Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize in the World Fiction Competition. It will next screen as part of the prestigious BFI Film festival’s official selection in London on October 10.