Film based on Chanda’s Secrets wins coveted award at 2010 Cannes Film Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (May 26, 2010) – The feature film, Life, Above All, based on the novel Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton, with screenplay by Dennis Foon, has won the esteemed Prix François Chalais at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

The film created a buzz at the festival when it received a 10 minute standing ovation following the premiere. Since then, glowing reviews have been streaming in for this German-South African co-production, directed by Oliver Schmitz.

Described by Roger Ebert as “the best heart-warmer and tear-jerker so far…The film is about deep human emotions, evoked with sympathy and love,” (Chicago Sun-Times, May 18, 2010), Life, Above All has also won rave reviews from other notable sources:

“Whatever film (wins) the Palme d’Or, it will receive publicity galore…But we would be surprised if it has the audience appeal and gut impact of this tale about a strong little girl fighting to keep her family alive and together.”—, May 22, 2010

“…an absorbing, vividly inhabited tale…never exploiting its horrors but rather treating them as tough local realities.”—, May 22, 2010

Chanda’s Secrets was first published in 2004 by Annick Press. It tells the heart-breaking story of a young South African girl who is caught in the devastating AIDS pandemic with all its pain, loss, shame and guilt. It is, nevertheless, a story of hope as Chanda’s tremendous courage helps her find meaning and purpose in life despite the tragic events which afflict her and everyone she loves.

Among its many honors, Chanda’s Secrets has won the prestigious Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in YA Literature; it was named a Best Book for Older Readers by the Children’s Africana Book Awards, and a finalist for Le prix sorcières of France. There are currently 11 foreign editions available in over 30 countries.

The screenplay, written by author, playwright and screenwriter Dennis Foon, was translated into a local African dialect. Featuring an exclusively South African cast, the inspirational film has won high acclaim for its honesty and its humanity. Director Oliver Schmitz is a German–South African who is closely attached to the history of his native country.

Life, Above All is scheduled to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival this September. The name of the North American distributor will be announced as soon as it becomes available.

For further information, contact Brigitte Waisberg, Marketing Manager,, 416-221-4802, ext. 17.