OFFICIAL SELECTION 2018
The Whale Caller
DIRECTOR : Zola Maseko
COUNTRY : South Africa
YEAR : 2016
TIME : 107min
Nu Metro 2, 14 Oct @ 10am | SK Nouveau 5, 16 Oct @ 2.45pm
Based on the novel by renowned South African author, Zakes Mda. The seaside village of Hermanus is overrun with whale-watchers; foreign tourists determined to see whales in their natural habitat. But when the tourists have gone home, the Whale Caller lingers at the shoreline, wooing a whale he has named Sharisha with cries from a kelp horn.
When Sharisha fails to appear for weeks on end, the whale caller frets like a jealous lover, oblivious to the fact that the town drunk, Saluni, a woman who wears a silk dress and red stiletto heels, is infatuated with him. The two misfits eventually fall in love. But each of them is ill equipped for romance, and their relationship suggests the deeper concern is not so much the fragility of love, but the fragility of life itself when one surrenders wholly to the foolish heart.
Joburg Film Festival 2016
Best African Film
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Zola Maseko is a South African filmmaker who was born in exile in 1967. He was educated at Waterford / Kamhlaba College in Swaziland and the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College in Tanzania. In 1987, he joined Umkhonto We Sizwe the armed wing of the African National Congress. He later headed to the UK where he graduated from the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield. Maseko’s first film was the documentary Dear Sunshine, released in 1992. In 1993 he produced and edited Scenes From Exile, four short films about his life in exile.
In 1994 he returned to South Africa to write and directed his first fiction film The Foreigner a hard-hitting film about xenophobia. The film went on to win several international awards.
In 1998 he directed a documentary The Life and Times of Sara Baartman which was a co-production between French 3 and South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) 2. He was honored as the most promising South African Director when he won Best Newcomer Award at Sithengi (South African Film and TV Market) in Cape Town that same year. The documentary also won the award for Best Documentary. Maseko also won Best Documentary at the African Milano Film Festival the following year. 2002 was a busy year for Maseko in which he completed two documentaries The Return of Sarah Bartman and Children of the Revolution. He also wrote and directed A Drink in the Passage, which won the Special Jury Award at the Pan African Film Festival FESPACO in Burkino Faso.
A three part TV series he wrote titled, Homecoming was produced and screened on SABC in 2003. It traces the fates of three former freedom fighters trying to re-establish themselves in the new South Africa after years in exile. His first feature film Drum, starring Hollywood actor Taye Diggs was released in 2004. Set in 1950s Johannesburg, the film focuses on Henry Nxumalo, a journalist fighting apartheid. Drum received the top prize – the Golden Stallion of Yennenga and a $20,000.00 cash prize at Africa’s premiere film festival FESPACO in 2005, the first South African to do such.