ANANT SINGH (producer)
Anant Singh (producer) is South Africa’s preeminent film producer, having produced fifty-eight films since 1984. He is responsible for many of the greatest anti-apartheid films ever 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 with Morgan Freeman as Mandela and director Shekhar Kapur (“Elizabeth,” “The Four Feathers”).
Born and raised in Durban, South Africa, 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 Enterprises (now Videovision Entertainment). He moved into film production in 1984 with Darrell 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 Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language film); “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. Upcoming is “Red Dust,” with Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor, a drama centering on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
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,” a reunion on Robben Island of 1250 of its former political prisoners led by Nelson Mandela.
Singh is the president of the Independent Producers’ Organisation, The National Film and Television Association and serves on the boards of Kagiso Media Limited, South African Tourism and the International Marketing Council Of South Africa. He also sits on the Board of Governors for Media and Entertainment of the World Economic Forum and is a board member of 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. President Thabo Mbeki recently appointed him to the board responsible for the organization of South Africa’s “Ten Years Of Freedom” celebrations.
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. He has been conferred with honorary doctorates from the University of Durban-Westville and the University Of Port Elizabeth.