'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' to Get Royal Audience

The South African/British co-production is selected to be this year's Royal Film Performance, a charity gala that raises money for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.

LONDON -- Justin Chadwick's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, will play to a royal audience after being picked for this year's Royal Film Performance.

The Royal and European Premiere gala will take place Dec. 5 at Odeon Leicester Square with members of the royal family, cast and filmmakers in attendance.

The Royal Film Performance is the principal fundraising event of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF), the trade charity for the U.K. film and television industries.

ANALYSIS: Idris Elba and Naomie Harris on Track for Oscar Noms for 'Mandela' 

The CTBF provides care and financial support to industry employees and their families who suffer from hardship due to bereavement, illness, redundancy or other misfortunes.

CTBF president Barry Jenkins said: "We are thrilled to be able to host the Royal Premiere of this momentous South African/British co-production. Our thanks to [U.K. distributor] Pathe for sharing this opportunity with us."

The movie spans Mandela's extraordinary life, from his childhood in a rural village to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa and is billed as the largest South African/British co-production ever mounted.

Made with the full support and endorsement of Mandela, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, it was produced by South Africa's Anant Singh and former BBC Films chief David M. Thompson for Origin Pictures in the face of fierce competition from the majors.

Singh spent 16 years developing the film before it began shooting in May 2012. Thousands of South Africans participated in the making of the film, both behind and in front of the camera, where the cream of South Africa's acting talent line up alongside Elba and Harris.

William Nicholson (Les Miserables) wrote the screenplay for the movie, which was exec produced for Pathe by Cameron McCracken and Francois Ivernel.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will be rolled out in cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland on Jan. 3, 2014.