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John Savage Puts Spotlight On African Injustice With 'Small Town Called Descent'


While some actors complain like a diva about how top awards shows are boring, berate their crews, or argue about not getting a big enough luxury trailer for their five star catered meals, other unique actors hit the trenches with filmmakers. They go out of their way to keep it real, pushing themselves to the limit of discomfort, pressure, or even pain to get the right shot. They make a motion picture into a work of art that goes beyond just commerce, and instead - leave a meaningful impact on society.

John Savage is one such rare and gifted actors that pushes the limit for his craft. For one of his most recent films, he took a pay cut, flew to South Africa, stayed in a local 'hut' in the jungle, and lived and worked among the villagers for months as he and the cast and crew created a film that, in his words, "Really means something." That film, titled "A Small Town Called Descent," is about as dramatic as one can get - and - it just won its first two awards, of which there will undoubtedly be many more to follow.

It was directed by Jahmil Quebeka - who was born in South Africa and grew up in London. The daring director won the American Peabody Award in 2005. Jahmil's latest film, "A Small Town Called Descent" deals with the 2008 xenophobic attacks, in which over sixty people died. The brutal true story entails three 'Scorpions' investigators being sent to a small Karoo town to investigate the killing of a Zimbabwean man. Hlubi Mboya plays the man's South African girlfriend, who is raped and murdered for dating him.


The film co-stars veteran Hollywood star John Savage of the films 'Salvador,' 'The Deer Hunter,' 'The Godfather III,' and 'White Squall' among more. It also features some of South Africa's top stars including Fana Mokoena of 'Hotel Rwanda,' Lindani Nkosi of 'No.1 Ladies Detective Agency,' Bubu Mazibuko from 'Catch A Fire,' Zandile Msutwana of 'White Wedding,' Sivu Nobongoza of 'uMalusi,' and Hlubi Mboya from 'SA' it girl!' among more.

John Savage, 'The Deer Hunter'

John Savage came to fame with his phenomenal performance in the legendary film 'The Deer Hunter' which won many awards including The Oscar for 'best picture' in 1979. John Savage's outstanding portrayal of the character Steven in the film was an integral part of the success of the classic motion picture which also stars Oscar Winners Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, and Christopher Walken. The film about the horrors of war - particular in this - The Viet Nam War, is considered by many Viet Nam War Veterans as the most accurate portrayal of what the war was really like for American soldiers. The reality conveyed by the film became a strong voice for anti war activists at that time and since. John Savage, Ms. Streep, Mr. Walken, and Mr. DeNiro appear on the cover box of the film which is now available on DVD.

John Savage
John Savage

John Savage went on to star and co-star in over 100 other films and television roles, with an emphasis on the aesthetic quality of the role and quality of the motion picture, rather than its necessary popularity or box office appeal. As a result, his top artistic demands and actable choices along with his mastery of his craft have earned him the rightful title as one of Hollywood's finest actors. In addition to acting, John Savage also sings. Starring in the landmark movie musical 'Hair,' he also sang in the film to great acclaim.

John Savage Honors Director Jahmil Qubeka

John Savage said, "I want to give thanks to director Jahmil Qubeka for putting me in this movie 'A Small Town Called Desecent,' and say congratulations to Jahmil, and producers Faith Isiakpere and Firdoze Bulbulia on winning the Pan African Film Award and the Narrative Film Award." He also added, "Thanks for letting me be a part of this important motion picture. This film may have been filmed in South Africa and be about South Africa, but the problems addressed in this film are next door... these issues are universal."

The Hollywood Sentinel, 2012.

Producer Bruce Edwin is editor of The Hollywood Sentinel and President of Starpower Management. Contact Bruce at TheHollywoodSentinel.comRead more stories by Bruce Edwin.

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