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S. Africa enters Oscars with movie based on Toronto author's novel

A scene from Life, Above All

The film Life, Above All, based on a novel by Toronto author Allan Stratton and a screenplay by Vancouver-based Dennis Foon, will be South Africa's official entry for the 2011 Academy Awards.

Producer Oliver Stoltz says the AIDS orphan drama - which is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival - will be submitted for consideration for best foreign-language Oscar.

Academy officials will pick five films to compete in that category at the end of January.

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Like Stratton's book, Chanda's Secrets, Life, Above All follows a teenager (Khomotoso Manyaka) in Sub-Saharan Africa as she raises her younger siblings while her mother (Lerato Myelase) dies of AIDS.

The film received a rapturous, 10-minute standing ovation last May at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Francois Chalais Prize.

Oliver Schmitz directed the film and Stratton says he was able to provide input into the screenplay and got to go to the set during filming in South Africa.

The film is due to hit theatres some time next year.

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