LELETI KHUMALO (Faith)
Leleti was born in 1970 at Kwa Mashu Township in the North of Durban. Growing up in the poverty of township life, she was initiated into a youth backyard dance group called Amajika mentored by Tu Nokwe.
In 1985, she auditioned for Mbongeni Ngema's upcoming new musical, which was to became the international blockbuster "Sarafina!" Ngema wrote the lead character of Sarafina for her.
Leleti enchanted audiences in South Africa and on Broadway, where she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress. "Sarafina!" stayed for two years on Broadway before embarking on a worldwide tour. In 1987 she received an NAACP Image Award for Best Stage Actress.
In 1991, together with Whoopi Goldberg, Khumalo starred in Darrell James Roodt's film version of "Sarafina!" which was distributed worldwide, and became the biggest film production to be released in the African continent. Again she was nominated for the film Image Award together with Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg and Janet Jackson.
In 1993, Khumalo released her first album, "Leleti and the Sarafina," and co-starred in Ngema's international hit musical "Magic at 4 AM" which was dedicated to the legend of Muhammed Ali. She then starred in Ngema's musical "Mama" (1996), which toured Europe and Australia. In 1997, she also starred in Ngema's "Sarafina 2."
Khumalo moved into dramatic acting when she starred in the play "Koze Kuse," written by Selo Make Kancube. She then played a role in Darrell James Roodt's film "Cry, the Beloved Country" (1995) of Alan Paton's novel, produced by Anant Singh and starring Richard Harris and James Earl Jones. She was also featured on the TV series "The African Skies," and appeared in a number of TV commercials.
Leleti next had another success on stage with "The Zulu" (1999) written and directed by Mbongeni Ngema, about King Cetshwayo and the Battle of Isandlwane in the Anglo Zulu War. In 2000 she was awarded an acting diploma by the Mbongeni Ngema Academy of Performance Excellence. Khumalo next starred in 2003 at the musical extravaganza "Stimela Sase Zola" at the African Bank Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 2003.
Khumalo was the lead in South Africa's first-ever Oscar nominated film, YESTERDAY which was nominated in the Best Foreign Language film category in 2005.
Khumalo was also featured in the Oscar Nominated film, "Hotel Rwanda," with Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte and is currently in the popular South African soap opera, "Generations".
ANANT SINGH Producer
Anant Singh is recognised as South Africa's preeminent film producer, having produced fifty-eight films since 1984. He is responsible for many of the greatest anti-apartheid films ever made in South Africa, including "Place Of Weeping," Sarafina! and Cry, the Beloved Country. Nelson Mandela called him "a producer I respect very much…a man of tremendous ability" when he granted him the film rights to his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom. Singh is set to film Long Walk to Freedom next year with Morgan Freeman as Mandela and director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth, The Four Feathers).
Born and raised in Durban, South Africa, Singh began his film career at age 18 when he left his studies at the University of Durban-Westville to purchase a 16mm movie rental store. From there, he moved into video distribution, forming Videovision Enterprises (now Videovision Entertainment). He moved into film production in 1984 with Darrell Roodt's acclaimed Place of Weeping, the first anti-apartheid film to be made entirely in South Africa.
Singh is also the producer of Yesterday which received South Africa's first Academy Award Nomination in the Best Foreign Language Picture category.
A selection of his subsequent feature films includes: Sarafina! with Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo and Miriam Makeba; The Road to Mecca, with Kathy Bates; Father Hood, with Patrick Swayze and Halle Berry; Captives, with Julia Ormond and Tim Roth; Tobe Hooper's The Mangler, with Robert Englund and based on a Stephen King short story; Cry, the Beloved Country, from Alan Paton's revered novel, with James Earl Jones and Richard Harris; Paljas (shot in Afrikaans, the first South African film to be selected for Oscar Consideration in the Best Foreign Language film category); Face, with Robert Carlyle; The Theory of Flight, with Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter; Bravo Two Zero, with Sean Bean; The Long Run, with Armin Mueller-Stahl; Tsui Hark's remake of The Legend of Zu, with Zhang Ziyi; I Capture the Castle, with Tara Fitzgerald and Henry Thomas and. Upcoming is Red Dust, with Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor, a drama centering on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Anant Singh has also been involved in the production of many important documentaries, including "Countdown to Freedom," about the first free election in South Africa, and "Prisoners of Hope," about a reunion on Robben Island of 1250 of its former political prisoners led by Nelson Mandela.
[this paragraph needs updating] Singh is the president of the Independent Producers' Organisation, The National Film and Television Association and serves on the boards of Kagiso Media Limited, South African Tourism and the International Marketing Council Of South Africa. He also sits on the Board of Governors for Media and Entertainment of the World Economic Forum and is a board member of the Los Angeles-based Artists For A New South Africa and the Mandela 46664 Concert with Richard Branson, Dave Stewart and Jim Beach. He is also the only South African member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. President Thabo Mbeki appointed him to the board responsible for the organization of South Africa's Ten Years Of Freedom Celebrations in 2004.
Singh is a recipient of the Crystal Award of the World Economic Forum and the Lifetime Founder Member Award of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. Both the University of Durban-Westville and the University Of Port Elizabeth have conferred honorary doctorates on him.
HELENA SPRING Producer
Worldwide Head of Production for Anant Singh's Videovision Entertainment, Helena Spring has produced more than sixty television projects and some twenty feature films.
Her most recent motion picture credits as producer include the Academy Award Nominated, Yesterday, the South African hit Mr. Bones, The Long Run, starring Armin Muehler-Stahl, The Theory of Flight, starring Academy Award-winning Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter, "Bravo Two Zero," (as co-producer), a BBC co-production starring Sean Bean, and based on Andy McNab's best-selling book of the same title.
Spring executive produced the comedy drama, Get Real, a British Screen and Graphite Films co-production, which won the Best Picture award at the British Film Festival of Dinard in France, and the 1998 Trophée Hitchcock D'Or, Trophée Hitchcock Audience Award, and the Trophée Hitchcock Kodak cinematography Award. She also executive produced the motion picture "Waati," directed by Palme D'Or winner Souleymane Cisse, "The Mangler," directed by Tobe Hooper, Katinka Heyns' "Paljas," which was accepted as South Africa's first official entry in the 1998 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film Category and Darrell James Roodt's "Sarafina!", starring Whoopi Goldberg, which received a New York Christopher Award.
Helena's associate producer credits include "Face," starring Ray Winstone and directed by Antonia Bird ("Priest"), Darrell James Roodt's "Cry, the Beloved Country," starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris, which garnered the New York Christopher Award, and "Dangerous Ground," starring Elizabeth Hurley and Ice Cube.
DARRELL JAMES ROODT (writer/director)
Darrell has directed some of the most acclaimed films to come from his native South Africa, including "Place of Weeping," "Sarafina!" and "Cry, the Beloved Country." He holds the distinction of directing South Africa's first Oscar Nominated film, "Yesterday" which was nominated in the Best Foreign Language category.
After being turned down for Drama School at the University of the Witwatersrand, Roodt secured financing and the commitment of local actors and technicians to produce South Africa's first anti-apartheid feature film, "Place of Weeping" (1986). Produced by Anant Singh, the film premiered in New York to wide critical acclaim and was endorsed by the "Arts Against Apartheid" committee as a courageous indictment of the racial policies of the time.
Roodt's next two films, "City of Blood" and "A Tenth of a Second" were followed by "The Stick," an anti-war film set and subsequently banned in South Africa for two years. The Stick enjoyed a successful run on the international festival circuit and opened the 1988 Montreal Film Festival. When finally released in South Africa it was nominated for six awards in the 1989 M-net Film Awards, including Best Film.
Roodt next directed the human drama "Jobman," nominated in six categories in the annual M-net Film Awards, followed by the action thriller "To The Death."
"Sarafina!" (1992), based on Mbongeni Ngema's award-winning Broadway stage hit, and starring Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo and Miriam Makeba, introduced Roodt to a wider international audience. Screened in Official Selection at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, the film was released in the U.S. by Disney, who commissioned him to direct the comedy "Father Hood," starring Patrick Swayze and Halle Berry.
Roodt next adapted Alan Paton's classic novel "Cry, The Beloved Country" (1995) to the screen, with an illustrious cast that included James Earl Jones, Richard Harris and Charles Dutton. The script was adapted by Oscar nominee Ronald Harwood and scored by five-time Oscar-winner John Barry.
Roodt's subsequent films include "Dangerous Ground" (1997), with Ice Cube and Elizabeth Hurley; the thriller "Second Skin" (2000), with Natasha Henstridge and Peter Fonda, "Queens Messenger II" (2001), "Pavement" (2002), with Robert Patrick and Lauren Holly, "Sumuru" (2003) and upcoming, "Dracula 3000," with Casper Van Dien and Coolio.
READ MORE ABOUT ROODT: "YESTERDAY"