17:00 Opening Night Ceremony
  Life, Above All
Life, Above All is the story of a young girl who fights the fear and shame that has poisoned her community. The film captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart and is directed by South African filmmaker, Oliver Schmitz.  The film is based on the international award-winning novel “Chanda’s Secrets” by Allan Stratton. It isbeautifully filmed and masterfully edited, with astounding performances which highlight the film’s “universal resonance”.





Oliver Schmitz's "Life, Above All" earns the tears it inspires. The film is about deep human emotions, evoked with sympathy and love.


“Life, Above All,” a grave and quietly moving story about a South African girl of extraordinary character, does something that few painful dramas accomplish: It tells a tale of resilience without platitudes about the triumph of the human spirit or without false promises about an unclouded future.



For all the seeming uplift of its title, Life, Above All is a punishing look at a community terrorized first by AIDS, second by groupthink. What makes it bearable but also beautiful and stirring is the central performance by the preteen, first-time actor Khomotso Manyaka.