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A gay coming-of-age musical drama which is set back in the days of apartheid South Africa has won the top prize at the kykNET Silwerskerm Film Festival.

The movie, titled Kanarie (Canary) is produced by Marche Media and was awarded Best Feature Film at a ceremony at the Bay Hotel in Cape Town.

According to the film’s writer, Kanarie tells the story of 18-year-old, Johan Niemand (Schalk Bezuidenhout) who is called up for military service in the year 1985, and chooses to audition for the South African Defence Force Choir known as the ‘Canaries.’

After being accepted into the Choir, Johan soon discovers that he has growing feelings for a fellow choir member, and begins to question everything about himself and his world; his religion, patriotism, sexuality, and the realities and truth of Apartheid South Africa.

Along with taking out the top prize, the film also won a number of other awards at the festival, including Best Supporting Actor, for Germandt Geldenhuys, and Best Director, for Christiaan Olwagen.

The film was also honoured in the categories of Best Production Design (Rocco Pool) and Best Editing (Eva Du Preez).

“It’s story that could get people hot under the collar but I think it’s a very important story that needed to be told,” explained Olwagen upon receiving his award.

“It has to do with unresolved trauma, a very complex part of our history. I’m very grateful that I was awarded this prize tonight.”

Kanarie first debuted at an overseas screening at the INside OUT Toronto LGBT Film Festival and OutFest in Los Angeles, where it received wide-spread positive reviews and a standing ovation.

Kanarie will be released in South African cinemas from the 19th of October 2018.

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