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Native South African composers Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker score Oscar-nominated Tsotsi
13-Feb-2006 - South African composers Paul Hepker and Mark Kilian have scored the Academy Award nominated film Tsotsi for Miramax and director Gavin Hood. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, "Tstosi" stars Presley Chweneyagae in the title role as a gang leader who grew up on the streets of Johannesburg's shantytowns, having lost his parents to AIDS at the age of nine. The film is a psychological drama in which the protagonist is compelled to confront his own brutal nature and face the consequences of his actions. Miramax Films will release "Tsotsi" in the U.S. February 24. Milan Records releases the soundtrack February 14.

The atmosphere of the score was designed to reflect not just the landscape of Tsotsi's township, but also the external and internal struggles he goes through to find his redemption. To do this, Hepker and Kilian worked with accomplished singer, guitarist, percussionist, composer, arranger and band leader Vusi Mahlasela, whose songs address social and political issues. He has traveled the world with his messages of peace, but still lives in Mamelodi township, where he grew up.

Both native Africans, "Tsotsi" marks Hepker and Kilian's first collaboration, and each has enjoyed successful careers in music. Paul Hepker was South Africa's top musical director, known for several award-winning stage productions and the South African Grammys and Tonys, as well as performing on stage and composing for TV and radio. Before immigrating to the US, Paul toured the world as a member of Grammy-nominated band Johnny Clegg & Juluka (Savuka), and performed/recorded with artists such as Shirley Bassey, Ice Cube, and African legends Miriam Makeba and Yvonne Chaka-Chaka. His TV work in the U.S. has included original music for several Discovery Channel series, as well as music for Fox, NBC and Disney. He is currently working on a solo album.

Mark Kilian's repertoire of US work has been featured in several films, television programs and video games, including "Raise Your Voice," "Jake In Progress," "F/X (The Series)" and "The Animatrix." He is a member of Nu Jazz Connection and Shades, one of Durban's leading full-time club bands. Mark is currently recording a second album with "The Ape Quartet," a live techno improvisational band whose members include fellow composer Christophe Beck.

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