Soon the world will get to see Justin Chadwick’s (The First Grader, The Other Boleyn Girl) epic dramatisation of the life of one of the world’s most iconic leaders, Nelson Mandela. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is based on South African President Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. Idris Elba (Prometheus) stars as Nelson Mandela, Naomie Harris (Skyfall) stars as Winnie Mandela, with Chadwick directing. The film landed in U.S. theaters on November 29, 2013, with a worldwide expansion through January 2014. 

As the film follows Mandela’s (and South Africa’s) journey through the decades, the film’s official soundtrack provides a musical documentary of the times. The classic Afro-Jazz sounds of the Havana Swingers takes us from the 1940’s of Mandela’s youth, through Art Blakely and the Revolutionary 50’s and 60’s period, right up the international condemnation of the Apartheid regime with The Special AKA’s classic song “Nelson Mandela”. During the filming the cast recorded versions of traditional ANC protest songs for use in the film, bringing the group’s struggle for equality to vivid life. The Soundtrack also features a new song by U2 titled ‘Ordinary Love’. 

Accompanying Chadwick’s masterful filmmaking, which perfectly captures both the majesty and violence of Africa, is composer Alex Heffes’ emotive score which features both choir vocals and South African singing legend Caiphus Semenya.  Heffes’ use of both classical and African instruments gives the film its emotional resonance and complements the feeling of watching history unfold in front of your eyes.  After working in South Africa, Heffes conducted and recorded the rest of the score at London’s Abbey Road with a 65-piece orchestra.  “The film provided me with a vast emotional canvas,” says Heffes.  “My aim was for the music to guide the audience through this emotional journey and come away with a joy for what this story can inspire in us,” he continues.  “The score starts sparsely using African instruments and becomes more orchestral as the story darkens.  As the years become more up to date, it adds electric guitars and synths to give the audience the subliminal feeling of the decades having passed,” says Heffes. 

Heffes received his first BAFTA nomination for his score to the HBO drama Tsunami: The Aftermath and has gone on to score a wide variety of productions including Charles Ferguson's Academy Award® winning Inside Job; the U.S. box office hit The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins; Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood; Peter Webber’s World War II drama Emperor, starring Tommy Lee Jones; and Justin Chadwick’s The First Grader among many others. He collaborated with director Tim Burton on his screen adaptation of Sweeney Todd starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. His score to the short film BOY was featured at the opening ceremony of the Olympic velodrome at the 2012 London Olympics.

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