Friday, 29 March 2013

IIdris Elba responds to Naomie Harris' James Bond tip

Idris Elba responds to Naomie Harris' James Bond tip

PUBLISHED: MARCH 28TH, 2013 @ 8:00 PM


  • Idris Elba worked with Naomie Harris on new Nelson Mandela movie
  • Naomie has tipped Idri to be the next James Bond 
  • Idris has now responded to these claims
Pacific Rim actor Idris Elba has been tipped by many to be the next James Bond, with some people even claiming that he has already been signed up for the role. Idris has filmed a new Nelson Mandela movie, titled Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, with Naomie Harris, who has claimed that Idris should definitely be the next James Bond.
Idris has now responded to all of these suggestions and has tried to play down the whole thing. He initially joked that he did not even know who James Bond was and had never heard of him, before going on to admit that, if he had signed on to play the next James Bond, then the whole world would know about it.
Elba explained to Guardian, "Naomie Harris I know. James Bond I'm still struggling with. [World's longest pause] No, it's a massive rumour. That's all it is, honestly. I'd be screaming it from the fucking rooftops of my council flat in east London if I got James Bond, but it's just a rumour."
Naomie Harris plays Winne Mandela
Idris Elba has a few interesting films coming out over the next year or so. He will next be seen in the movie Pacific Rim, which is released on July 12, before then appearing in Thor: The Dark World, which is out on October 30 in the UK and November 8 in the US. Finally, the eagerly anticipated Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is released on November 29.

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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Video: Naomie Harris' Speech: Black Women in Hollywood

Naomie Harris' Speech: Black Women in Hollywood

Published on 15 Mar 2013

The British actress, honored as a "Shining Star," explains feeling honored and overwhelmed during ESSENCE's luncheon.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Pleasure island: Actress Naomie Harris returns to Jamaica for latest TV role

Pleasure island: Actress Naomie Harris returns to Jamaica for latest TV role


As an actress I've been lucky to be involved in a number of movies filmed in the Caribbean. I was in After The Sunset, with Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek, which was shot in the Bahamas. And, in perhaps my best-known role, I was Tia Dalma in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films with Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley, which was also shot in the Bahamas, in Freeport.

A view of the luxury Whitehouse resort in Jamaica
Sun, sea and Sandals: The luxury Whitehouse resort
I've been to the Caribbean many times, especially when I was growing up as my mother was born in Jamaica and we used to go there when I was a child. But, for various reasons, I hadn't been back for 17 years. 
So when I had the chance to return to complete filming on the new BBC adaptation of Small Island, based on Andrea Levy's novel, I was really excited. 
I play the main character Hortense, one of the generation of Jamaicans who, similar to my grandparents, emigrated from Jamaica and struggled to make a new life in Britain. The story goes through the post-war years up to the modern day, showing how much things have changed for the better. 
Most of the filming took place in Northern Ireland as Belfast 'played' the part of postwar London. I spent two months in the city which was one of the nicest places I have visited - the people are so friendly. 
On the flight there I sat next to a viscount, who invited me and my friends to have a marvellous dinner at his house in County Fermanagh because he wanted to show us how welcoming his country is. Northern Ireland was great and I was certainly sad to leave, but it was wonderful to head off to Jamaica and get some Caribbean sun. 
Jamaica tends to get a bad Press as there are often reports of violence. You may not want to linger in the capital Kingston, but outside the city I found the island delightful, with the local people very kind and friendly. 
I decided to fly out my mother, stepfather, brother and sister so when filming finished we could enjoy a family holiday - the perfect chance to unwind after all the hard work. 
Naomie Harris is pictured on a jetty in front of the Sandals yacht
All aboard: Naomie finds her sea legs
When I was little, my mother and I used to have a Jamaican holiday every year. But it was so long ago that I had no particular memories of places. What I did remember, though, were the smells and tastes of the island. 
Had things changed much in the past 20 years or so? My mother and stepfather didn't think it had altered as much as they had expected, but there was the occasional disappointment. 
My mother was particularly anxious to revisit Port Royal where my parents had enjoyed a wonderful holiday years ago. Port Royal was once called 'the richest and wickedest city in the world'. It is straight out of Pirates Of The Caribbean, with a history rich in tales about Spanish gold looted on the high seas by the notorious 'Brethren of the Coast', as the local pirates were called. 
But Mum was surprised to find that hotels were closing because of a lack of visitors. This seems extraordinary because it is a fascinating town and well worth a trip. 
The places thriving on Jamaica are the all-inclusive resorts. We spent a week in the Whitehouse, a Sandals resort on the southern coast, 25 miles from Negril. 
In its brochure, the Whitehouse European Village & Spa talks about 'a place completely unspoiled by the ravages of time, where the alabaster-white sand beaches bear no footprints, and the lush greenery and richly-coloured flowering vines scent the air with the purest of perfumes'. 
And indeed it feels like heaven on earth: surrounded by a 500-acre nature reserve, the Whitehouse boasts two beaches more than two miles in length. It was just what I needed, somewhere to flop and recharge the batteries. But if you do want a busy holiday, lots of sporting activities are included in the price, such as sailing, scuba-diving, water-skiing and windsurfing.
One of the biggest attractions is the food, also included in the price. There are six restaurants, including Italian and Asian fine dining and a French cafe offering patisseries and crepes. They also have lots of local Jamaican food, but not, alas, my favourite curried goat. I grew up on it, cooked by my aunt who made a brilliant curry.
Naomie as Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean
Naomie as Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean
As I am away filming so often, travelling can seem a little too much like work. My most adventurous trip abroad was a climbing holiday in Mexico which I did on my own. 
Usually, if I want a break I prefer to head for the English countryside. I've recently had great stays at Cliveden in Berkshire, and at the Rookery Hall Hotel in Nantwich in Cheshire where the Beckhams had their engagement party. 
My next big project is a film based on the life story of the musician Ian Dury in which I play the part of his partner. It's a great story but filming will be nearer Billericay than Barbados. 
I don't envisage hitting the beach much on that one.

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Sam Mendes Won't Direct Bond 24 - Exclusive

Sam Mendes Won't Direct Bond 24
Exclusive on 'a very difficult decision'

06 March 2013 | Written by Phil de Semlyen | Source: Exclusive

Sam Mendes, Skyfall

Bond may be back, but Empire can exclusively reveal that Sam Mendes won't be joining him. At the BAFTAs recently, basking in the glow of Skyfall's triumph for Outstanding British Film, it seemed that Mendes, who had previously claimed he would make just the single Bond entry, could be tempted back for another go. But, having bumped into the Oscar-winning director on a barren Scottish glen - or was it a glitzy Macau casino? - he confided in us that he won't be returning to direct Bond 24.

“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie," explained Mendes. "Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond."

With Skyfall freshly crossing the $1.1bn mark at the box office and still hoovering up plaudits - it dominates the nominations at this year's Jameson Empire Awards - the news will no doubt be a blow to producers Broccoli and Wilson. Then again, with a freshly reinvigorated franchise to oversee and actors of the calibre of Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes to work with, there'll be no shortage of high-calibre applicants to pick from for Bond 24.

If his gifted direction of dramatic beats came as no surprise to movie-watchers, Mendes' adroit handling of Bond's action sequences wowed fans and elevated Skyfall to critical and commercial echelons previously never enjoyed by a Bond movie. For his part, the 47 year old director refuses to rule out the possibility of a Martin Campbell-like return to the franchise in years to come. "I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family", said Mendes, "and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future".
A response from Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli has just reached us, and it more than leaves the door open to a Mendes return. "We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. We would have loved to have made the next film with him but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again."
So there you have it. It's a sad farewell - for now - from Mendes to Bond, and a big question about who will direct the next film. Share your thoughts below.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Moneypenny's Maldives: Bond's girl finds paradise as Naomie Harris hits the beach

Moneypenny's Maldives: Bond's girl finds paradise as Naomie Harris hits the beach 


Filming work keeps me away from home so much that, to be honest, I don't really like going on holiday. When I get time off, I usually prefer to stay in London near to my family and friends.
But when my family decided to go to the Maldives, I found myself caught up in their excitement and agreed to go along. I wasn't sure what sort of time we would have but it ended up being one of the best things we've ever done together.
Naomie Harris
A well-earned break: Naomie soaks up the sunshine in the Maldives
Everybody was so relaxed while we were away. We all had such a laugh together away from the normal stresses and strains of everyday life.
We stayed at the Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort. The journey involved a direct flight to the Maldivian capital Male and then a 50-minute boat ride to the resort.
Sometimes these connections can be complicated and time-consuming – but not this time. We got straight off the plane and on to the boat. It was all slickly organised and very impressive.
It's hard to convey just what an extraordinary feeling it is to get to the Maldives. You feel as if you've been plucked from grey old Britain and dropped in the middle of paradise.
Because of work commitments, I had to travel out later than my family – my mother, stepdad, brother, 15, and 12-year-old sister. The first impression was the hot sunshine and beauty of everything – but I was also overwhelmed by the level of service.
There were four people waiting for me to get off the plane and put me on the boat. When I got to the resort I found we had two villas on stilts over the sea. The villas were things of beauty in their own right. They were finely constructed with wooden floors – all very traditional and very spacious.
And the staff worked really hard, with lots of thoughtful touches. Every day, for example, someone would arrange flowers on the bed. Lovely.
A piece of paradise: The Olhuveli resort is one of the Maldives' most picturesque hideaways
As a family, we had a marvellous time. They went to Thailand a few years ago and, at the last minute, I wasn't able to go. Holidays are always difficult for anybody in the acting profession – we have to take jobs when we can get them. When they got back, they went on and on about what a wonderful time they'd all had – I imagine they might have been trying to wind me up a little.
But it was a relief when they quickly decided that the Maldives had managed to eclipse Thailand.
'Better than Thailand!' You couldn't get better than that!
What made the holiday so special? The food was fantastic. What my dad liked was the fact that on the first day, we were assigned a table in the restaurant and that was our table for the duration of the stay. We had the same waiter who became 'our waiter' and he really took care of us and got to know all of our likes and dislikes. If you liked tea after your meal, he would remember that.
And on a warm night he would move the table outside so that we could eat under the stars by candlelight, the sea lapping away beneath our feet.
The Maldives is just so incredibly romantic. Another thing we loved about the restaurant was that every night they served a different cuisine: local Maldivian food one night, Italian the next, followed by Chinese. There was always a pasta bar and a choice of a hot-meat dish – lamb or chicken, for example – which is griddled in front of you. And there was always a salad bar.
The food was so varied with something for everyone. I particularly liked the huge spread on offer for breakfast with tons of fresh fruit and everything from rice pudding to wonderful sugary doughnuts (my brother is a big doughnut fan). My ideal breakfast is what many people would have for their lunch so this sort of choice was perfect for me. Many mornings I had chicken and vegetables.
Naomie Harris
All in the same boat: The holiday allowed Naomie to spend some time with her family
Because dinner in the evening is always a big set-piece meal, you might have expected lunch to be a light affair, but it wasn't. I usually tried to restrict myself to a salad but the buffet was vast and tempting. I have to say that I did my best not to pile on the pounds but my mum wasn't so careful: I think she was struggling to do up a couple of buttons by the end of the trip - she went on a diet as soon as she got home. Thank goodness I don’t have the problem of putting on weight like that – my brother and I have the same physique and we can eat whatever we like and not pile on the pounds.
When people heard we were going to the Maldives, some of them said: ‘Oh, there’s not much to do there, you know.’ But I think that’s one of the good things about going – you’re not under any obligation to head out to see the sights; there is no extensive itinerary packed with things you have to see or do. That sort of pressure on holiday can be quite stressful.
When you reach the island you quickly realise that there's not going to be very much going on at all. Therefore you can just completely relax and get into a different rhythm.
If you do want more excitement, there are different trips you can go on. We had fun on the banana boat ride, we went out on a catamaran and we did a dolphin excursion. We also had the chance to visit another island for what they called 'a culturally authentic experience'.
Fine dining: The resort is no place for those sticking to a diet
I didn't buy the 'Oh, I'd get bored' thing before I went and I certainly didn't while I was there. I didn't take my iPad. I did have my mobile phone but I never switched it on. My brother had his laptop so I could check my emails from time to time to make sure I wasn't missing some amazing film role.
It's a paradise but with great wi-fi – I love that.
I wasn't there for the weekly resort party held for all the guests on a deserted beach illuminated by candlelight under a canopy of twinkling stars. My mother said it was like being in a movie it was so lovely – and everybody was dressed up and glamorous.
We would love to go back because we had such a good time. It appealed to all our family. It was particularly great for the children because they could be totally independent. The island is so small you felt sure they couldn't come to any harm. This gave them an independence that they don't get at home in London.
I've been travelling quite a lot recently. I went to Kenya to film The First Grader, the true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan villager and ex-Mau Mau freedom fighter who battled for his right to be able to go to school for the first time to get the education he had been denied as a child.
I was in Kenya for about six weeks, and I loved it. We lived in lodges on a nature reserve and got to know the local community. To prepare for the film I had to learn to teach a class of children. It was great to be able to immerse myself in the local culture.
Appearing in the National Theatre in Danny Boyle's production of Frankenstein, playing Elizabeth – the monster's fiancee – made me want to travel more around Europe. Mary Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein during a tour she and her husband, the poet Percy Shelley, were taking down the Rhine to Switzerland.
Naomie Harris
Happy days: Naomie reflects on a perfect escape
I'm not sure yet how much travel will be involved in filming the new Bond film, Skyfall. There will certainly be some exotic locations – I've heard India being mentioned – but as Miss Moneypenny I'll probably get no further than Pinewood Studios.
I'm not planning to do an awful lot of travelling this year. I have a new flat so most of my time is taken up with builders and things like choosing curtain fabric.
But if we had the chance, we would return to the Maldives in a heartbeat.

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Saturday, 2 March 2013

Naomie Harris, the brainy British beauty starring in The First Grader - 20.5 2011


Naomie Harris, the brainy British beauty starring in The First Grader.

Naomie Harris, 34, has been acting in Britain since she was nine, and along the way she has managed to earn a degree in political science from Cambridge and has trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Director Danny Boyle (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire)introduced her to international audiences in 2002 in 28 Days Later, his hit film about Londoners combating zombies. Most recently Harris starred in Boyle’s very successful production of Frankenstein at the U.K.’s National Theatre. “Danny is a complete and utter genius,” says Harris. “He is absolutely brilliant at giving notes: This is what you need to be giving the audience, this is what you need to be feeling.… You relax and let yourself be carried through the journey by him.” This month she stars in The First Grader (National Geographic Entertainment), which was an audience favorite at both the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Based on an article in the Los Angeles Times by Robyn Dixon, it is the story of a teacher in Kenya (Harris) who fights for the right of an 84-year-old villager to be educated despite his age. Justin Chadwick, who directed the award-winning British TV mini-series Bleak House and the movie The Other Boleyn Girl, filmed The First Grader entirely on location and used lots of local talent. The experience was exhilarating for Harris. “There was an incredibly generous spirit among these people,” she says. “At the start I was thinking, Oh, I’m going to work with these really poor children, and I’m going to be so affected by the fact that they have so little, when we in the West have so much. Actually, what I was struck by was they have so much, and we have so little. They have a strong sense of family, a strong sense of community—a real sense of belonging. I was incredibly touched by that.”

Photos: Naomie at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2013

Naomie Harris - 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Sunset Tower - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 25th February 2013

The First Grader TV premiers tonight on BBC2 at 22.30

The First Grader - The Movie

Drama about an 84-year-old ex Mau Mau freedom fighter who wants to take up the offer of the new Kenyan government to guarantee free education for all so that he can learn to read. However, when he presents himself for the first day of term at a local school he encounters resistance from... 
  • BBC HD

Short Synopsis

Directed by Justin Chadwick

In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school.  He is Maruge (Oliver Litondo), an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life.  He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied - even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds.
Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris), supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste a precious school place on such an old man.
Full of vitality and humour, the film explores the remarkable relationships Maruge builds with his classmates some eighty years his junior. Through Maruge’s journey, we are taken back to the shocking untold story of British colonial rule 50 years earlier where Maruge fought for the freedom of his country, eventually ending up in the extreme and harsh conditions of the British detention camps.
Directed by Justin Chadwick (THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL/BLEAK HOUSE) from a script by Emmy-winner Ann Peacock (THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, NIGHTS IN RODANTHE, KIT KITTRIDGE), THE FIRST GRADER is a heart warming and inspiring true story of one man’s fight for what he believes is his right in order to overcome the burdens of his past. It is a triumphant testimony to the transforming force of education.
The filming process itself was quite extraordinary, as the children in the film – who are in many ways the stars – had never even seen a film or television set before let alone been involved in the filming process. Their involvement in the shoot was a totally novel experience for them and their enthusiasm and energy is captured beautifully on screen.

Naomie Harris (Jane)

As well as working on big budget Hollywood Movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,Naomie Harris (Jane) continues to choose challenging and exciting roles in smaller and more diverse films such as THE FIRST GRADER. London-born Naomie graduated with honours from Cambridge University in 1998 with a degree in social and political science. She went on to train at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and had her first major acting breakthrough in 2002 with Danny Boyle’s zombie horror film 28 Days Later. She went on to receive further international recognition and critical acclaim in her role as Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. Other major feature film credits includeMichael Mann’s Miami Vice, Michael Winterbottom’s A Cock and Bull Story, and Street Kings with Keanu Reeves and Forrest Whittaker.
Most recent feature film projects include: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll with Andy Serkis; Ninja Assassin directed by James McTeigueJulian Kemp’s My Last Five Girlfriends: and, THE FIRST GRADER, written by Ann Peacock and directed by Justin Chadwick.
Major television drama credits have included: Julian Jarrold’s White Teeth, based on Zadie Smith’s best-selling novel; Peter Kosminsky’s The Project; Poppy Shakespeare:  and, more recently Blood and Oil and Small Island for the BBC.
Accolades include :
2003 - Winner Best Actress at the Monte Carlo Television Festival
2007 - Winner Rising Star Tribute Award at the Bahamas International Film Festival
2007 - Nomination BAFTA Orange Rising Star
2007 & 2009 - Winner Best actress at the Screen Nation Awards
2010 - Winner Best Actress at The Royal Television Society Awards

© The First Grader 2012. All rights reserved. An iKind Media Website

  • NAACP Image Awards The First Grader , received five nominations for the 43rd NAACP Image Awards it was announced in the United States last week. The NAACP Image Awards are presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature . The First Grader received nominations in the following categories: Outstanding Motion Picture , Outstanding Actor ( Oliver Litondo ) , Best Independent Motion Picture , Writing in a…
    • Oliver Litondo - Best Actor Black Film Critics Circle Oliver Litondo who plays the tenacious, 83-year-old Maruge in the award-winning movie, The First Grader , which is co-produced by Videovision Entertainment , won the Best Actor Award from the Black Film Critics Circle it was announced last night. Founded in 2010, the Black Film Critics Circle is comprised of film critics of colour who write for daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines, radio, television and qualifying on-line publications in the…
      • The Gotham Independent Film Awards The award-winning film, The First Grader, co-produced by Videovision Entertainment has been nominated for the prestigious Gotham Independent Film Awards coveted Genius Audience Award it was announced in New York last night. The Gotham Independent Film Awards , are held under the auspices of the Independent Filmmaker Project and are selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York, which is acknowledged as the home of independent film. These Awards are the first…
        • SKYFALL - 23rd film in the James Bond Franchise The star of the Videovision Entertainment’s The First Grader , Naomie Harris , who plays the lead role of Jane Obinchu in the multi award-winning film , has been cast in the new James Bond film, Skyfall , the 23rd film in the James Bond franchise. Harris will play one of the most famous and memorable roles of the Bond franchise, that of Miss Moneypenny . Harris, who gives a powerful performance in The First Grader, won the Best Actress Award at the Kenyan…
          • Kenya International Film Festival The First Grader scooped the main prizes at the Kenyan International Film Festival, winning the Best Actor ( Oliver Litondo ) , Best Actress ( Naomie Harris ) and Best Film Awards it was announced at the closing ceremony of the Festival in Nairobi last night. The film, co-produced by Durban based, Videovision Entertainment , BBC Films , UK Film Council and Origin Pictures is directed by Justin Chadwick and stars Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris as well as South African…
            • 38th Ghent International Film Festival Music Composer, Alex Heffes , won the Discovery of the Year prize for his work on The First Grader at the 2011 World Soundtrack Awards which were announced at the closing event of the 38th Ghent International Film Festival on Saturday, 22 October 2011. The Awards is an initiative of the World Soundtrack Academy which was launched in 2001 by the Ghent Film Festival, is aimed at organizing and overseeing the educational, cultural and professional aspects of the art of…
              • Johannesburg, South Africa The First Grader, co-produced by Durban based, Videovision Entertainment , the BBC , UK Film Council and Origin Pictures had its South African premiere in Johannesburg with the director, Justin Chadwick and local actors Vusi Kunene , Tony Kgoroge , Israel Kakoe and Shoki Mokgapa with Executive Producers, Anant Singh and Helena Spring in attendance. The Guest of Honour at the event was Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Enver Surty while other VIP guests included Deputy Minister…
                • Durban International Film Festival The First Grader, co-produced by Durban-based, Videovision Entertainment , won the coveted Audience Award at the 32nd Durban International Film Festival it was announced at the Festival’s awards ceremony. The film had its South African premiere on Sunday (24 July) at the Festival with actors Oliver Litondo and Tony Kgoroge, Executive Producer Anant Singh and Guest Of Honour, Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Paul Mashatile in attendance. The Audience Award at the Durban…
                  • Durban International Film Festival 2011 South Africa  The First Grader, based on a true story, is set in a remote primary school in the Kenyan bush where hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education promised by the new Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge, an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his…
                    • National Geographic Entertainment The First Grader will be released in the United States on May 13, 2011 by National Geographic Entertainment . The film will be launched in New York and Los Angeles and then expanded to other US cities in the forthcoming weeks. The First Grader, based on a true story, is set in a remote primary school in the Kenyan bush where hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education promised by the new Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment…
                      • Videovision Entertainment’s ‘First Grader’ Tops The Class at the Palm Beach Film Festival The Videovision Entertainment co-production, The First Grader, won the Best Feature Film Award of the Palm Beach International Film Festival last night. The film, shot in Kenya, is directed by Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) stars Naomie Harris and Oliver Litondo , Vusi Kunene , Tony Kgoroge and David Chege , written by Emmy winner Ann Peacock , produced by David M. Thompson , Sam Feuer and Richard…
                        • Doha Tribeca Film Festival The First Grader which was the Closing Night film at the Second Doha Tribeca Film Festival last night where it captivated audiences, garnering the Audience Prize for Best Narrative Film. The Award was presented to director, Justin Chadwick and the team by actor, Robert De Niro . Also in attendance were the leads, Kenyan star, Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris ; Producer, David M. Thompson and Executive Producer, Anant Singh . The First Grader has consistently been a hit with…
                          • The First Grader Philip Concannon - Phil on Film This is conventional, tick-the-boxes filmmaking and you can predict its narrative arc from frame one, but The First Grader is a solid crowd-pleaser nonetheless. It’s based on the true story of Kimani N’gan’ga Maruge ( Oliver Litondo ) , an 84 year-old who turned up at a local school one day when the new Kenyan government announced free education for all. Undeterred by the teachers’ insistence that the offer is aimed only at children, Maruge…
                            • Topi-Talk The spirit of Maruge, the 84 year old first grader, was brought to London on a chilly autumn evening, when  star actor Oliver Litondo and lead actress Naomie Harris stepped on to the red carpet at the Odeon in Leicester Square. Away from the glamour however there were some fundamental issues raised by the stars. The First Grader may well be a landmark in Kenya’s Film Industry, but the lack of creativity and understanding of the power of film by those in position, has put paid to a great…
                              • London Film Festival 2010 Press Association - Mirror Video - The First Grader was inspired by the true story about a Kenyan man who goes back to primary school at the age of 84 to get the education he always wanted. Click here to watch the London Film Festival premier on YouTube…

                                • justin chadwick
                                  naomie harris
                                  oliver litondo
                                  vusi kunene
                                  • Durban International Film Festival (Audience Award – Feature Film)
                                  • Emden International Film Festival (The DGB Trade Union Audience Choice Award and The Bernhard Wicki Best Film Award)
                                  • Doha Tribeca Film Festival (Audience Prize for Best Film)
                                  • Toronto Film Festival (Audience Prize runner-up)
                                  • Sedona Film Festival (Best Director’s Choice, Audience Choice Award) 
                                  • The Pan African Film Festival (Audience Choice Award)
                                  • Palm Beach Film Festival (Best Feature Film Award)
                                  • Nashville International Film Festival (Audience Choice Award)
                                  • 360/365 Film Festival - Rochester (Audience Prize for Best Film)

                                  The First Grader - The Movie