London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) June 25, 2009 -- The World Unseen, written and directed by Shamim Sarif, has garnered nominations in ten categories in South Africaâs most prestigious film awards, the SAFTAs.
The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and has had great critical success at festivals, picking up seven awards to date, including three Audience Awards and two nods as Best Director. It opened theatrically in North America this month, and opens internationally early 2009.
The novel of The World Unseen took the publishing world by storm, also winning awards including a prestigious Betty Trask Award. Set in apartheid South Africa in the 1950s and inspired by the true stories of Sarifâs grandmother and her Indian/South African heritage, Sarif went on to adapt the novel into a screenplay and, more unusually, direct the film herself. The movie was produced by her partner Hanan Kattan through their company Enlightenment Productions.
In The World Unseen free-spirited Amina has broken all the rules of her own conventional Indian community and the new apartheid-led government by running a cafÃ© with Jacob, her âcolouredâ business partner. When she meets Miriam, a young traditional wife and mother, their unexpected attraction pushes Miriam to question the rules that bind her. As Amina helps Miriamâs sister-in-law to hide from the police, a chain of events is set in motion that changes both women forever.
The filmâs SAFTA nominations include Best Director, Best Writer, and three nominations for the South African cast, as well as acknowledgements to the Cinematography, Production Design, Costume, Editing and Sound Design.
âItâs a great honour to have received these nominations,â says Sarif. âThe World Unseen is such a strongly South African story, and I hope to be there to celebrate with the cast and crew in February.â
âWe had such an impressive and hard-working South African cast and production team,â adds Kattan âand itâs wonderful that they are being acknowledged at the SAFTAs.â