Losing Lerato

The cast of ‘Losing Lerato’ in Washington, DC, on 9 March 2020. Image via Twitter @KagisoModupe

Winning ways: ‘Losing Lerato’ scoops six awards at international festival

Make sure to add the South African movie ‘Losing Lerato’ to your watch-list…It just won six international awards.

Losing Lerato

The cast of ‘Losing Lerato’ in Washington, DC, on 9 March 2020. Image via Twitter @KagisoModupe

It’s title might be about loss and tragedy, but the reception of the movie Losing Lerato has been anything but. 

In fact, following box office success in South Africa, the local production has gone on to garner international acclaim. The film took an incredible six awards at the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, in California, on Sunday evening.


Kagiso Modupe won the Best Actor Feature award, while Samela Tyelbooi won Best Actress Feature.

The movie also won the Best Original Score, Golden Era Humanitarian Narrative  and Festival Favourite awards. Modupe’s daughter Tshimollo, who made her film debut in the movie, won the Best Child Performance award.


Box office success

Former Scandal actor Modupe produced the film and also stars as a young black successful man who takes matters into his own hands as he fights for the right to see his daughter. He kidnaps his own daughter from school, hoping to start a new life in a new city, but then things take an unexpected turn. 

Part action, part thriller, part family drama, the movie performed well when it was released in South Africa in September 2019.

It grossed R4.1 million in five weeks, and in some cinemas the movie more popular than blockbusters, such as Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw and Hustlers, which starred Jennifer Lopez.

Fighting against all odds

In an interview with IOL, Modupe shared how encouraging the reception was.

“I am so proud of what we have achieved because we didn’t open in 65 cinemas like most films. We were limited to only 39 cinemas because we were independent and were not seen as credible producers. From screening in limited cinemas we were able to achieve all this. I am really excited because we really fought against all the odds and obstacles and the results are showing.”

Real-life inspiration

Modupe also revealed in the interview that the story was inspired by the real-life story of Modupe’s father and his non-existent relationship with his father, which left him scarred.

“My father only found his father when he was 65 years old after my grandfather had passed on. The most painful and toughest moment for me was watching my father being taken to my grandfather’s tombstone for the first time and weeping like a child.

“You could tell he wasn’t weeping because he finally found his father, but because his dad knew where he was but didn’t fight for him. My father died when he was 70 years old, a few years after the discovery,” he said.

Universal appeal

It seems both the narrative and the way in which the story has been told have resonated with audiences worldwide. One of the cast members, actor Thato Molamu, shared the team’s joy at their latest haul of trophies.

Posting on his Instagram account, he congratulated his castmates for winning six of the nine awards they’d been nominated for.


Directed by Sanele Zulu, the film also features Connie Chiume, Mandla Gaduka, Don Mlangeni-Nawa, Nolo Phiri.