Twenty-five people are convicted of the murder of one man, fourteen are sentenced to hang, one lawyer is assassinated and the other goes into exile. A Common Purpose is the dramatic story behind a notorious murder trial that marks South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. Told through the perspectives of defence lawyer, Andrea Durbach, Independent journalist John Carlin and the accused, the story unfolds to reveal one of legal history’s biggest cases on the death penalty. A Common Purpose tells a timeless and inspirational story about a struggle for justice in a country where injustice was entrenched in the law.

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“This emotionally affecting chronicle of the infamous ‘Upington 25’ trial which lasted from 1985-91, won the audience award for best documentary at the SFF and represents a career highlight for respected Aussie filmmaker Mitzi Goldman”

Richard Kupers, Variety

Behind the Scenes


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Sydney Film Festival Launch June 2011 – Winner of Audience Award for Best Documentary

ATOM Awards– Nominated for Best Documentary Social & Political Issues – 2011

Encounters Film Festival Cape Town and Johannesburg (300+) – June 2012

AFI | ACCTA Awards – 2 screenings – Oct 2012

BOFA Tasmanian Film Festival – Nov 2012 

HOLA AUNZ Film Festival, Mexico– Nov 2013

Study Guide

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Mitzi Goldman


Hilary Balmond

Original Score

Mark Ginsburg
Ryan Grogan


Ezra Jwili
(South Africa)