Twelve Disciples Of Nelson Mandela

A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela" reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule "Lee" Leinaeng.

With:
With: Tshepo Clement Madibeng, Matsepo Majara, Kabi Thulo, Maria De Koker, Mxolisi Mantlana, Mbuyiselo Nqobi, Mncedisi Kwinana, Fezekile E. Peter, Andile Lizo Ngwilingwili, Linda Carlos Hlogwane, Alex Selesho, Watson P. Thapong, Richman Mphou, Edward Charles Human, Vuyo Mfanekiso. (English, Setswana, Afrikaans dialogue)

A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule “Lee” Leinaeng. Specialized pic will be in demand at socially conscious fests, could pull some limited specialized exhib interest, and has a bright future on cable and homevid.

Subtitled “A Son’s Tribute to Unsung Heroes” in the press material, docu was inspired by filmmaker Harris’ visit to Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 2000 for Leinaeng’s funeral. Realizing he never really got to know his step-dad and discovering a cache of clippings kept by Lee, Harris rushed into production on this film.

Pic follows Leinaeng’s incredible journey from South Africa to Botswana to Dar-Es-Salaam and on to 1963 East Germany, where he studies journalism. Later, he earns a scholarship to Lincoln U. in rural Pennsylvania and segues into an undergraduate degree from Temple.

In New York, he’s instrumental in setting up an ANC office, while simultaneously enrolling at NYU and courting the helmer’s mother. Leinaeng earns a master’s degree from NYU in 1976, and joins the U.N.’s anti-apartheid office in 1981. Eight years later he begins revisiting Bloemfontein, retiring there full time in 1997.

For auds only vaguely aware of the details of ANC’s gestation and Nelson Mandela’s place in the org, work places the rocky history in detailed context. More knowledgeable viewers will appreciate the rare footage and clippings uncovered by Harris.

Per helmer, the large cast is culled from regional theater orgs and the thesps have no prior experience with film or TV work. Largely improvised perfs are fine down the line, with Harris’ shrewd blocking creating a forceful ensemble feel.

Tech package is solid, with fine handheld lensing by Jonathan Kovel and David Forbes evoking the nervous energy of the times on a variety of actual locations in and around Bloemfontein. Art director Dylan Lloyd and other key crew off a convincing period feel. Co-producer Rudean Leinaeng is the helmer’s mother, and evocative score is by former Living Color frontman Vernon Reid.

Twelve Disciples Of Nelson Mandela

South Africa-U.S.

Production: A Chimpanzee Prods./Independent Television Service (U.S.)/Curious Pictures (South Africa) production, in association with P.O.V./American Documentary, National Black Programming Consortium. (International sales: Cinephil-Philippa Kowarsky Prods., Tel Aviv.) Produced by Thomas Allen Harris, Rudean Leinaeng, Woo Jung-cho, Don Perry. Directed by Thomas Allen Harris.

Crew: Camera (color, Super 16mm-to-DV), Jonathan Kovel, David Forbes; editors, Sam Pollard, Sabine Hoffman; music, Vernon Reid; art director, Dylan Lloyd; sound, Sound Lounge. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Real to Reel), Sept. 14, 2005. Running time: 73 MIN.

With: With: Tshepo Clement Madibeng, Matsepo Majara, Kabi Thulo, Maria De Koker, Mxolisi Mantlana, Mbuyiselo Nqobi, Mncedisi Kwinana, Fezekile E. Peter, Andile Lizo Ngwilingwili, Linda Carlos Hlogwane, Alex Selesho, Watson P. Thapong, Richman Mphou, Edward Charles Human, Vuyo Mfanekiso. (English, Setswana, Afrikaans dialogue)

More Film

  • Ingmar Bergman 100th Birthday Anniversary.

    Ingmar Bergman's Centennial: A Time to Celebrate Joy of Filmmaking

    A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule “Lee” Leinaeng. Specialized pic will be in demand at socially […]

  • CAA Promotes Eric Schonberg to Agent

    CAA Promotes Eric Schonberg to Agent

    A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule “Lee” Leinaeng. Specialized pic will be in demand at socially […]

  • The Indoraptor prepares to strike in

    Box Office: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Stomps to $15.3 Million on Thursday Night

    A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule “Lee” Leinaeng. Specialized pic will be in demand at socially […]

  • Sinemia Introduces Family Plans, Challenging MoviePass

    Movie Ticketing Service Sinemia Introduces Family Plans

    A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule “Lee” Leinaeng. Specialized pic will be in demand at socially […]

  • Longtime Disney Executive Mark Endemano Steps

    Longtime Disney Executive Mark Endemano Steps Down

    A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule “Lee” Leinaeng. Specialized pic will be in demand at socially […]

  • Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo ChatrianNew Berlinale

    Mariette Rissenbeek, Carlo Chatrian to Become Co-Chiefs of Berlin Film Festival

    A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule “Lee” Leinaeng. Specialized pic will be in demand at socially […]

  • Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin

    'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' to Be First U.S. Indie Title Released in Saudi Arabia

    A quasi-docu about the formative years of the African National Congress that relies heavily on handsomely-mounted dramatic recreations to tell its story, “Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” reps a strong calling card for U.S.-born helmer Thomas Allen Harris, the stepson of ANC co-founder Benjamin Pule “Lee” Leinaeng. Specialized pic will be in demand at socially […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content