Toronto International Film Festival
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Nelson Mandela's autobiography, made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, 7 September 2013. The film received an unprecedented eight minute standing ovation coupled with a rapturous applause at the Festival's Gala venue, the 2600-seater The Roy Thomson Hall, resulting in social media platforms buzzing with praise for the film. The film had a sell-out second screening in the 2000-seater Princess Of Wales Theatre with crowds queuing up an entire block to get to see the film.
The audience reaction was complemented with rave reviews from seasoned industry critics.
The Hollywood Reporter said, "From the period production and costume design to the stately visuals and panoramic shots of magnificent landscapes, this is a classy production that will inspire many audiences with its deeply respectful portrait of one of the global political stage's indisputably great leaders."
Variety stated, "little expense seems to have been spared in bringing it to life... period sets and costumes are uniformly fine, changing convincingly with each successive era, while the crowd scenes buzz with real (rather than CG) extras."
Deadline.com declared, "this beautifully shot and realized epic takes us into the world of Mandela... it is filmmaking of the highest order... Count both Elba and Harris, for her complex Winnie, as good shots for nominations along with many of the technical aspects of the stunning looking film."
Showbiz411.com stated, "Naomie Harris as Winnie and Terry Pheto as the first Mrs. Mandela, Evelyn, are sensational assets to Chadwick's ambitious, David Lean like achievements... the whole movie makes Mandela's well known saga feel fresh, and frightening, as the civil rights leader spends 27 years in prison separated from the world and his family... The sweep of "Mandela" is impressive, and it's going to be on every top 10 list this fall."
Speaking from Toronto, producer, Anant Singh said, "we could not have wished for a better launch at a Film Festival, especially with the audience and critics so unanimously positive. Bringing Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to the big screen has been an almost as long as the time Madiba spent in prison. I am delighted that I finally got it done. It has been worth the wait and also worth all of the hard work that went into it over all of those years. It was also great to have Lindiwe, Terry, Riaad, Deon together with Idris and Naomie in Toronto."
Singh began communication with Mr Mandela while he was still in prison and acquired the rights to the autobiography in 1996. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is the only motion picture to have the authorization and endorsement of Mr Mandela and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the body which is the custodian of Mr Mandela’s legacy.
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom will have its first commercial release in South Africa and will thereafter be released in the rest of the world.