Anant Singh is recognised as South Africa’s pre-eminent film producer, having produced 65 films since 1984. He is responsible for many of the greatest anti-apartheid films made in South Africa, including “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 is set to film Long Walk to Freedom next year.
Singh is the producer of 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). He moved into film production in 1984 with Darrell James Roodt’s acclaimed 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; The Road to Mecca, with Kathy Bates; 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, the first South African film to be selected for Oscar Consideration in the Best Foreign Language film category); Face,with Robert Carlyle; The Theory of Flight,with Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter; Bravo Two Zero, with Sean Bean; The Long Run, with Armin Mueller-Stahl; Tsui Hark’s remake of The Legend of Zu,with Zhang Ziyi; I Capture the Castle,with Tara Fitzgerald and Henry Thomas and Red Dust,with Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor, a drama centering on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Directly after the completion of Yesterday, Singh once again teamed up with director, Darrell James Roodt to produce Faith’s Corner which starred Leleti Khumalo and scored by multi-award winner Philip Glass.
Singh’s association with South Africa’s Number One Boxoffice star, Leon Schuster, saw the production of the hit comedy Mr Bones which became the highest grossing South African film of all time, earning more than R33 million at the boxoffice. Following Mr Bones was Mama Jack a further collaboration with Leon Schuster which was the top performing South African film of 2005, grossing more than R28 million at the boxoffice. Currently in production is Mr Bones 2 which will be released on 28 November 2008 in South Africa.
Prey, also produced by Singh, is directed by Darrell James Roodt and co-written by Roodt and the writers of Cry Wolf, Beau Bauman and Jeff Wadlow. The film stars Peter Weller of RoboCop fame, Bridget Moynahan (I, Robot, The Sum Of All Fears, The Recruit) and Carly Schroeder (Firewall, Mean Creek).
Released on 25 April 2008 in South Africa is More Than Just A Game, 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).
Anant Singh has also been involved in the production of many important documentaries, including Countdown to Freedom, about the first free election in South Africa, and Prisoners of Hope, about a reunion on Robben Island of 1250 of its former political prisoners led by Nelson Mandela.
Singh is a board member of the International Marketing Council Of South Africa, the Los Angeles-based Artists For A New South Africa and the Mandela 46664 Concert with Richard Branson, Dave Stewart and Jim Beach. He is also the only South African member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was appointed by President Thabo Mbeki to the Creative Collective, the body responsible for the organization of South Africa’s Ten Years Of Freedom Celebrations in 2004.
He is also Chairman of the Cape Town Film Studios which is currently in development.
Singh’s 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 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 recognised Anant Singh for his significant contribution to the advancement of the industry with the Golden Horn Award for Outstanding Contributor at the inaugural South African Film And Television Awards in October 2006.