The opening night will see Joburg's film industry players mark the milestone and celebrate cinema talent from Africa, its Diaspora and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries.

"RapidLion is one of Africa's most coveted film festivals; the opportunity for Letters of Hope to open such a festival is what every director dreams of. As an emerging independent artist, such a platform encourages you to continue telling your story," says Vusi Africa.

Set in 1976 South Africa, Letters of Hope tells the story of 16-year-old Jeremiah who really wants to be a policeman and can't understand why his father, the local postman, won't let him be one but rather expects him to follow in his footsteps.

"We are very happy to have this subtle but profound indie film open RapidLion 2020. It is one of those films by emerging talent that only uses apartheid as a backdrop, and not a main focus, to explore deeper psychological battles that humans face," says festival director Eric Miyeni.

Other premiere events at RapidLion 2020 include the screening of André Odendaal's Gat In Die Muur (Monday, 9 March), which is a story about terminally ill man negotiating life as he faces death.

The festival will also screen Fried Barry by Ryan Kruger (Friday, 13 March), which tells the tale of a heroin addict whose body is hijacked by an alien visitor. Jahmil X.T. Qubeka's Knuckle City will have a screening (Saturday, 7 March) that will be followed by a Q&A with the director and producer Layla Swart. 

Along with these South African films, festival-goers can expect to see films from BRICS countries that include:
  • The story of my grandfather from China
  • Karup from India, and
  • Dream Team from Russia.
In addition to these and award-winning short films, RapidLion 2020 will host a series of workshops and masterclasses. Brazilian Hariolo Araujo and South African Aryan Kaganof will present master-classes on film appreciation and how to shoot cinema on a mobile device respectively. 

The National Film and Video Foundation will host a workshop on how to access its funding allocation, and All Africa Access Entertainment’s Pascal Schmidt will host two masterclasses on film distribution and its future. 

The festival will aslohost the RapidLion Awards ceremony (Saturday, 14 March) which will aim to recognise the cinematic achievements of filmmakers from Africa, the BRICS countries and the African diaspora.

The festival will take place from Friday, 6 March to Sunday, 15 March at the Market Theatre, which has hosted the festival since its inception. Tickets for the fifth annual event range from:
  • R45 for a single screening
  • R155 for a day pass, and
  • R1 750 for an all-access pass for the entire festival.
Weekend passes, as well as tickets for master-classes and workshops, are also available at and at the door. "We are proud to announce that students and pensioners do not have to pay at RapidLion 2020; they will have free entry," concludes Miyeni.

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