Directed by Andrew Mudge, The Forgotten Kingdom tells the story of a young, unemployed man by the name of Atang Mokoeyna who lives in Johannesburg. When his estranged father passes away, Atang travels home to his ancestral land to bury him and unexpectedly, becomes drawn to the mystical beauty and hardships of the land and people he had forgotten.
With Carlos Carvahlo as director of photography, Mudge wanted to create a film that was primarily visual – emphasising the colours of the land and the faces of the people. The first frame of The Forgotten Kingdom is the filmic version of a landscape painting – perfectly posed mountains bathed in soft, golden light. “There are a lot of wide shots in the movie, as many as possible,” Mudge says, “to let the landscape speak out.”
When it came to the story, authenticity was always of the highest priority to Mudge, who spent nearly a year living in Lesotho before filming to connect with the locals, collect stories and gather feedback to keep the story culturally genuine. With the goal of bringing Lesotho and its people to the screen in an honest, genuine way, Mudge transformed his first hand observations into a screenplay that is steeped in the culture and history of the Basotho people.
“The film is a universal story, but told from a unique perspective.” Mudge explains. “My producers and I embraced the challenges of making a feature film in a country with mostly rough dirt roads, no professional actors, and no film industry whatsoever. The Forgotten Kingdom is the first feature film produced in Lesotho. Like all journeys, it was a voyage into the great unknown.”
The Forgotten Kingdom opens at cinemas nationally on 11 April, 2014.
Further reading: www.forgottenkingdomthemovie.com