A documentary about Dr. Joseph Shabalala, the creator of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and musical director of the group, has been sent in by South Africa in the hopes that it would be considered for entry into the International Feature Film category of the 96th Annual Academy Awards (Oscars).
“Music is My Life tells the story of the late South African musician Shabalala, who rose to international acclaim with his band Ladysmith Black Mambazo and contributed to Paul Simon’s successful Graceland album.” The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) released a statement.
Carolyn Carew, an accomplished and award-winning producer, created the feature-length documentary film that spans five years and shows Shabalala’s creative process through the motivational lens of his life.
It is always a wonderful and privileged occasion to have a South African film represent the country at the world’s most prestigious awards ceremony for the industry. “The fact that this particular film tells the authentic South African story of the iconic Dr. Shabalala makes it even more special,” said Thobela Mayinje, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).
The National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa (NFVF) described the movie as an entertaining tribute to South Africa’s rich culture, to one of South Africa’s most distinctive traditional musical forms, isicathamiya, and to the guy with a great voice who made it relevant internationally.
“Since it was first shown to the public, the movie has been included in several local and international film festivals, and it has been met with enthusiastic applause and praise from moviegoers in a variety of nations, including the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Spain, to mention just a few. Locally, “Music is My Life” was shown at the Labia Cinema for more than five days, and on the day that would have been Dr. Shabalala’s 83rd birthday, the public broadcaster’s SABC 1 channel played the film, according to the foundation.
Following a stringent round of evaluation, the South African Academy Awards Selection Committee concluded that the picture should be submitted for consideration.
This year’s committee comprised a wide variety of seasoned industry experts from various sub-industries within the film business. These individuals were presented to the Academy for approval, and the Academy gave its blessing.
“After the submission period had ended on August 10, 2023, the committee met from the 18th to the 22nd of September 2023 at Nu Metro theaters located in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban to examine your film entries.
The submissions were judged according to the qualifying requirements for the Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film category. The NFVF chose the reputed company SNG Grant Thornton to evaluate the entire judging process and to ensure that the evaluation would not compromise the procedure’s integrity.
“Once the committee had deliberated in its meeting held on September 22, 2023, the submission Music is My Life – Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo received the highest votes as the official selection once the scores were tallied and vetted by the auditors,” the charitable organization stated.
On January 23, 2024, the Academy will reveal the names of the individuals nominated for awards at the 96th Annual Academy Awards.