ANANT SINGH (Producer) is recognised as South Africa's pre-eminent film producer, having produced more than 80 films since 1984. He is responsible for many of the most profound anti-apartheid films made in South Africa, among which are Place Of Weeping, Sarafina! and Cry, the Beloved Country. Nelson Mandela called him "a producer I respect very much... a man of tremendous ability" when he granted him the film rights to his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom. Singh produced Yesterday (from director, Darrell James Roodt), which received South Africa's first Academy Award® Nomination in the Best Foreign Language Picture category in 2005, the Peabody Award and an Emmy Nomination in 2006 in the "Outstanding Made For Television Movie" category.
Born and raised in Durban, Singh began his film career at age 18 when he left his studies at the University of Durban-Westville to purchase a 16mm movie rental store. From there, he moved into video distribution, forming Videovision Entertainment and then progressed into film production in 1984 with Place of Weeping, the first anti-apartheid film to be made entirely in South Africa.
A selection of his subsequent feature films includes: Sarafina! with Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo and Miriam Makeba; Father Hood, with Patrick Swayze and Halle Berry; Captives, with Julia Ormond and Tim Roth; Tobe Hooper’s The Mangler, with Robert Englund and based on a Stephen King short story; Cry, the Beloved Country, from Alan Paton’s revered novel, with James Earl Jones and Richard Harris; Paljas (shot in Afrikaans, and selected for Oscar Consideration in the Best Foreign Language film category); and Red Dust, starring Academy Award® winner Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor, helmed by Academy Award® winning Tom Hooper (The King's Speech). Singh's association with South Africa's Number One Box office star, Leon Schuster, saw the production of the Three of the Top Five Highest Grossing South African Films of All Time, Mr Bones 2, Mr Bones 1 and Mama Jack.
Directly after the completion of Yesterday, Singh once again teamed up with director, Darrell James Roodt to produce Faith's Corner, starring Leleti Khumalo, and scored by multi-award winner Philip Glass. Following this was the stylish Cape Flats gangster film, Dollars And White Pipes directed by Donovan Marsh and which won the Best Director prize at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2006. Singh produced Leon Schuster's hit comedies Mama Jack, Mr Bones, and the sequel Mr. Bones 2: Back From The Past, which are among the Top Five Highest Grossing South African Films of All Time, earning more than R35 million, R33 million and R28 million respectively.
Singh's production More Than Just A Game, was the moving docu-drama feature, which tells the inspiring story of organised soccer among prisoners on Robben Island (the maximum security prison where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were incarcerated by the apartheid regime in South Africa). Following this was the comedy, Jozi directed by Craig Freimond (Gums ‘n Noses) and Outrageous! featuring South Africa's top stand up comics come together in a no-holds barred, adults only stand up comedy experience.
The First Grader (helmed by Justin Chadwick) which was a hit at the Telluride, Toronto, London and Doha Film Festivals in 2010, tells the remarkable and uplifting story of a proud old Mau Mau veteran who is determined to seize his last opportunity to learn to read and goes to school for the first time, joining a class of six-year-olds. The documentary features My Hunter’'s Heart which explores the world's oldest Shamanic culture and how it is now at the brink of extinction; and Once In A Lifetime which celebrates the magic and euphoria of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa were produced in 2010.
Anant has also produced notable documentaries, including Countdown to Freedom, about the first democratic election in South Africa, Prisoners of Hope, about a reunion on Robben Island of 1250 of its former political prisoners led by Nelson Mandela; Hero For All which documents Nelson Mandela's farewell visit to the United States when he stepped down from the South African Presidency. Viva Madiba: A Hero For All Seasons was produced as a 90th Birthday tribute to Nelson Mandela in July 2008 and Obama: People's President, a documentary feature that explores the unique and innovative US presidential campaign mounted by Barack Obama.
Singh is Chairman of the Cape Town Film Studios, a state-of-the-art film studio facility outside Cape Town and co-chair of the Cape Town metropolitan radio station, Smile 90.4FM. His expertise in media and entertainment saw him being appointed to the Board of Governors for Media and Entertainment of the World Economic Forum. Singh is also a member of the Forum’s Global Agenda Council.
Singh is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is a recipient of the Crystal Award of the World Economic Forum and the Lifetime Founder Member Award of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. Both the University of Durban-Westville and the University Of Port Elizabeth have conferred honorary doctorates on him. Singh was also nominated for the 2006 Black Businessman Of The Year Award by the influential business magazine, Black Business Quarterly. The 2007 Palm Beach International Film Festival conferred the World Visionary Award to Singh for his contribution to world cinema and his production of socially conscious films. The South African Film Industry honored Anant Singh for his significant contribution to the advancement of the industry with the inaugural Golden Horn Award for Outstanding Contributor at the first South African Film and Television Awards in October 2006.