Since it's world premier at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) in July this year, JOE BULLET has taken the world festival circuit by storm.
In November, JOE BULLET will travel to New York City, where it will showcased at this years "To Save and Project Film Preservation Festival" at the Museum of Modern Art on 8th and 13th November.
In December, it will have its North African premiere at the Carthage International Film Festival in Tunsia and then it will make it's way to Germany as part of Official Selection of the 65th Berlinale in February 2015. The Berlinale is one of the biggest and most attended film festival in the world.
"To have our Legacy Initiative's tent-pole project selected for these prestigious festival and to be recognized for our accomplishments in the restoration of this and many other "lost" film(s) by the international industry is an absolute honour", says Benjamin Cowley, CEO Gravel Road Entertainment Group. "Special mention must go out to the incredible restoration team at Waterfront Film Studios, as well as the Gauteng Film Commission without whose support this would not have been possible. This is only the beginning for many African titles to come back from the past and getting them the recognition they deserve."
The film stars the late Ken Gampu, Cocky "Two Bull" and Abigail Kubeka, and was originally banned by the Apartheid government after it's second screening at the Eyethu Cinema in Soweto in 1973. The ban was appealed and later lifted, but sadly the producers never pursued another release, and through time the film disappeared and faded from memory. In mid 2013, the film's producer and writer Tonie van der Merwe brought the existence of one of only two 35mm prints to the attention of Mr Cowley, which led to the launch of Gravel Road's Legacy Initiative.
"I am truly humbled by this recognition", says Mr van der Merwe. "I never in my wildest dreams thought that this would even be possible". Mr van der Merwe was one of the recipients of the prestigious Heroes and Legends Award at the 2nd Annual Simon "Mabhunu" Sabela Films Awards this year, for his achievements in film and his contribution in the production of hundreds of indigenous language films produced in South Africa during the '70s and '80s for black audiences.
Most of these films, along with countless others produced by filmmakers of the time, simply disappeared, and through their (Gravel Road's) Retro Afrika Bioscope label, Gravel Road is actively seeking these films out, restoring and releasing them for a new generation of audiences to enjoy.