While the Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom movie had its premiere in Johannesburg on Sunday night, news came from the White House on Monday that US President Barack Obama would host a special screening of the film this coming Thursday.
I’ve often thought about these screenings and what it would be like to grab a box of popcorn and head into the exclusive cinema. Who makes it onto the guest-list? Does the Secret Service watch too? Do Obama and Michelle rate the films with a thumbs up or down, or give them a score out of 5? Trivial questions aside, I did find this little bit of trivia about some of the films screened at the White House theatre by presidents in years gone by. George W Bush and Austin Powers – enough said.
So, this Thursday, as reported by The Associated Press, Obama will screen the film and Mandela’s daughters Zindzi and Zenani Mandela will be there, as will the film’s stars, Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. Then the film will go on to show at the Kennedy Center with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosting the event. The high-profile film screenings don’t end in the US. On December 5th, Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II, as patron of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, will attend the 2013 Royal Film Performance of the movie.
As for the reaction out of Jozi, where the story is as beloved as the man it’s based upon, that’s been a warm one so far:
"A magnificently translated biopic, that history will capture the imagination of many to strive for a RSA free to all. WM @MandelaMovie
— Winnie Mandela (@winniemandela) November 4, 2013
Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom is a bucket list issue for all S-Africans. U HAVE to see it. Powerful beyond measure. Its about peace and love!
— Zelda la Grange (@ZeldalaGrangeSA) November 4, 2013
Promotion for the film has been a little quiet since the Toronto Film Festival in September, but that should start to change as word of mouth continues to spread about this important chapter in South Africa’s – and the world’s – history.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom opens on November 28th in South Africa, then releases around the rest of the world from January 2014.