Watch the winning feature film from the Toronto LGBTQ+ Film Festival.
VALLEY OF A THOUSAND HILLS, 97min., South Africa, Drama
Directed by Bonie Sithebe
A young woman is in love with a woman, but they’re soon separated when she is forced into an arranged marriage with her lover’s brother.
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Award-winning director and producer. Bonie Sithebe founded Durban Motion Pictures 15 years ago and has produced many large scale films that have been screened on several national broadcasters. She also created more than 30 highly successful television films. She holds an international production certificate. Bonie also worked as a storyliner and writer on a popular drama series. In 2019, she served as board member and treasurer for Sister’s Working in Film and Television. Bonie is an enthusiastic collaborator who has built strong relationships with industry leaders. By mentoring, she supports, encourages, challenges, and guides the next generation of filmmakers.
In South Africa, the post-apartheid constitution outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was the fifth country in the world and the first in Africa to legalize same-sex marriage. Although this seems reasonable on paper, the people of South Africa are known to be far from fully accepting the LGBTQ community. Age-old tradition versus modern living makes for a complex situation with much more hatred than love. However, VALLEY OF THOUSAND HILLS is an opportunity to gently portray the story of two women’s love. Set in picturesque rural KwaZulu Natal, it tells the story of two women who are left with few or no choices due to their circumstances. In this film we enter a world that is rarely portrayed in film. It walks us through traditions that are rarely spoken of, rather buried, too scared to surface, too afraid for freedom.
Why VALLEY OF THOUSAND HILLS? It is time! It is time for us to move beyond the burying of human rights violations under the guise of tradition, culture, and “respect”. It is time for us as filmmakers to take on the role of portraying the world as it is, and more importantly, it is a critical time in this period of history for Black Female filmmakers for us to be able to have a voice in the world of film and for us to tell our stories the way we feel. The way we see it and the way we live it. Written as a tragedy was important to the filmmakers involved as tragedy has been in the news in South Africa time after time in the LGBTQ community.
Our country has been plagued by so many violent incidents, so many hate stories, and so much prejudice harm, and injury, both documented and undocumented. It is still shied away. A brave effort that is necessary in the world order today.
VALLEY OF THOUSAND HILLS will shine the spotlight on an active subject in the world today. The film is an attempt to provide international audiences with a glimpse into the lifestyle and subculture of modern-day
Zulu South African and their aspirations; dreams; and challenges. Like viewers get drawn into the inimitable characteristics of a Harlemor Bronx in NewYork so too will VALLEY OF THOUSAND HILLS. Transport the min to the rolling hills of the province of KZN allowing the first-hand authentic experience of the local nuances of Zulu South African culture.