Cape Town - Carlos Carvalho, director of photography for The Forgotten Kingdom, the first feature film produced in Lesotho, has won the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography at the 14th annual Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Gala held in New York.
The annual gala celebrates exceptional independent film.
Directed by Andrew Mudge, The Forgotten Kingdom tells the story of an unemployed young man, Atang Mokoeyna, who lives in Johannesburg, and travels home to his ancestral land to bury his estranged father. He is drawn to the mystical beauty and hardships of the land and people he had forgotten. The film opens nationwide in South Africa on 11 April 2014.
Presenting the award, Haskell Wexler, an American cinematographer, film producer, and director who was named as one of film history's ten most influential cinematographers by the International Cinematographers Guild, said the tough city slum shooting in the film has the realistic edge of a documentary, while the camera moves are smooth, with painterly frames used as part of a transition to the lead characters' memories of rural youth.
"The first frame is a lone man on a cliff," Wexler said. "A distant, beautiful shot valid as a still. After a beat of six, the man moves out of frame. A visual transition to the urban. There are strong other world, even mystical images at the remote mountain village. The picture involves the main character in what one viewer describes as 'the mystical beauty and hardships of the people.'
"Carlos Carvahlo is a first class shooter well deserving of this award. I hope the Woodstock recognition will encourage him to continue pursuing his artful career doing features like The Forgotten Kingdom where the story he tells is as integrated and important as how you tell it."
The winner of the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography receives $15 000 worth of film camera equipment rental from Panavision, in New York. Other nominees for the award were Justin Chin for Purgatorio, Sean Porter for It Felt Like Love, and Yasu Tanida for The Retrieval.
After studying photography at the Port Elizabeth Technikon, Carvalho joined the film industry as a runner in 1992. In 2002 he lit a public service announcement for Childline, which was very successful and won a silver lion at Cannes film festival in 2003. He works on TV commercials, feature films, documentaries and corporate infomercials, and has won several awards over the years.
In addition to the Best Cinematography Award, the film also won the juried award for Best Feature Narrative, and the award for Best Editing of a Feature Narrative.
"The Forgotten Kingdom is a profoundly visual story," says producer Chris Roland of ZEN-HQ. "The first film ever to be produced in Lesotho, it’s a charming and captivating quest steeped in the history and culture of the Basotho people. We congratulate Carlos Carvalho on this significant win."