His film, The Endless River, made history as the first ever South African film to compete for “The Golden Lion” award at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival, which recognizes the greatest in cinematic achievement from around the world. Oliver Hermanus has received numerous prizes and awards for his work, but this selection has made him the first South African film director to be included in this prestigious line up.
Hermanus was born in Cape Town, and commenced his undergraduate degree in Film, Media and Visual Studies at the University of Cape Town, but completed his studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara which he attended on an exchange program scholarship. Upon graduation he worked as a production assistant, and eventually as a press photographer before he attended the London Film School. His graduation film Shirley Adams, which he wrote and directed received critical acclaim, but his ground breaking film Skoonheid (Beauty) won the Queer Palm Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and was entered in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 2012 Oscars.
Hermanus, along with a few other filmmakers and directors, is playing a leading role in raising the profile of South Africa film internationally, and continues to share some of his knowledge and experience with up and coming film makers and screen writers. His films weave beautiful stories at the heart of human existence and frailty, and make him one to continue to watch even as the film industry continues to evolve on the continent.