Here’s a South African film we profiled around two weeks ago, when it won the Audience Narrative award at the Ashland Independent Film Festival.

Helmed by Andrew Mudge, the drama The Forgotten Kingdom has since then done it again, winning Audience awards at the Sarasota Film Festival and the Florida Film Festival. Next up, Kingdom will premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival (New American Cinema competition). It can also be expected to screen at the Durban International, Berkshire, Port Townsend and Woods Hole film festivals.

To recap, the subtitled drama centers on Atang, who leaves Johannesburg for his native land of Lesotho to bury his estranged father. Atang falls in love with childhood friend Dineo, who cares for her HIV-positive sister. Through falling for Dineo, Atang confronts his past in this remote village he grew up in. Conflict arises when Dineo’s father wants to relocate their family to escape from the public stigma of Dineo’s sister’s HIV infection.

Here’s the full synopsis:

Atang Mokoenya (mid-20s) is an unemployed, aimless young man who spends his days idling in the slums of Johannesburg. When his father dies, Atang must give up his selfish ways and fulfill his father’shumble last wishes: to be buried in the rural mountain kingdom of Lesotho, the country they left 15 years earlier in hopes of a better life.

Atang feels like a stranger in the land of his birth, but finds an instant connection with one person: his childhood friend, Dineo. A beautiful and compassionate young woman, Dineo takes care of her younger sister, Nkoti, who is sick with HIV/AIDS. However, Dineo’s tyrannical father thwarts their budding romance and relocates his family to a remote village where he can better hide his shame over Nkoti’s illness.
Try as he might, Atang simply cannot get Dineo out of his mind.

He befriends a precocious eleven year-old orphan and together they make the arduous journey across the breathtaking, rugged mountains of Lesotho in order to find Dineo. Along the way, the two undergo experiences that force Atang to surrender to the rhythm and traditions of the land, and to make peace with his father and the life that he once led. A changed man, Atang finally reaches Dineo, but must overcome one last obstacle in order to win her father’s approval.

The Forgotten Kingdom is produced by T.R. Boyce Jr., Pieter Lombaard, and Cecil Matlou. Carlos Carvalho serves as director of photography.

For continuous updates, follow the film on Facebook HERE.

Trailer is quite impressive; watch below:

The Forgotten Kingdom (Trailer) from Black Kettle Films on Vimeo.