In the local action-comedy Finders Keepers, a strip joint janitor and a club patron strike up an unlikely friendship as they evade gangsters and Russian mobsters, and try to secure the release of a kidnapped stripper, by trading her for a lucky fish they had stolen. Finders Keepers was conceptualized by director Maynard Kraak back in 2012 when he set up West Five Films, but it was not until early 2014 that he brought his very good friend Strini Pillai, onboard to write the screenplay – Pillai, who now resides in Australia, is an award winning film, television and stage actor who has branched out into writing and stand-up comedy.
”Identity, a sense of belonging and reconciliation are strong, universal themes in this powerful tale,” says producer-director Roberta Durant of Krotoa, a powerful film that tells the story of a feisty, bright, young eleven-year old girl, who is removed from her close-knit Khoi tribe to serve Jan van Riebeeck at her uncle’s trading partner.
Writer-director John Trengove’s first feature film, ‘Inxeba’ (known internationally as ‘The Wound’) is taking the world by storm and will have its African premiere in competition at the Durban International Film Festival (13 to 23 July). ‘Inxeba’ is the first feature from writer-director John Trengove, and is co-written by Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana and Malusi Bengu. The Xhosa initiation ritual which forms the landscape of the film is also the subject of ‘Inxeba’ co-writer Mgqolozana’s novel, ‘A Man Who Is Not a Man’. Read more
Director Morné du Toit’s Nul is nie niks nie is an inspiring, heart-warming story about life, death and the continued hope that can be found somewhere between the two. Read an interview
Iconic dramatist Chris Barnard’s classic radio drama and stage production, Die Rebellie Van Lafras Verwey, is brought to life on the big screen by his wife, acclaimed actress and director, Katinka Heyns, as producer, with direction by their son Simon Barnard, an up-and-coming film maker who makes his debut as director of a full-length feature film with this compelling story. This tragicomedy is based on a 1971 drama – a combined effort written and adapted into a contemporary script by the late writer and his son, Simon Barnard. It tells the story of Lafras Verwey (Tobie Cronje) an outcast who could never accept the realities of life. Although he is a government official, he hears the sound of otherworldly music playing in his ears and dreams of a wonderful future. He considers himself a key player in the preparation of a significant rebellion that he believes would change the world. When he takes Petra, a young pregnant woman, in to live with him, the rebellion becomes even more important to him. Ironically enough, his dreamt-up revolution starts the very night that the baby is born. Comedy, drama and elements of fantasy are all intertwined in this gripping tale of a man who is willing to risk everything in his pursuit to make the world a better place for all.
Simon, son of Katinka Heyns and Chris Barnard, grew up in the entertainment industry. His first professional encounter with an on-screen drama, was on the set of Die Wonderwerker, with his father as writer and mother as director. At the time, he got involved with behind-the-scenes photography, production and the editing of material for the film. Simon is currently co-owner of Sonneblom Ateljees, which was founded by Katinka in 1975. In 2015 he directed his first full length feature film, Die Rebellie Van Lafras Verwey, after adapting and contemporising a screenplay originally written by Chris Barnard. Watch The Trailer
With Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie, writer-director Christiaan Olwagen delivers a refreshing film that is as radical as the Voëlvry music movement that rebelled against the autocratic dictates of the apartheid government and changed the hearts of a generation of South Africans who wanted to break free from oppressive separatism.
BEYOND THE RIVER Two men from vastly different walks of life have one thing in common: to win gold. But there are a few things in their way. One has a marriage on the verge of collapse. The other is on the run from the law, and his so-called life. Then there’s the minor detail of them never before having competed as a team… Somewhere along the river of their lives, there’s a confluence that changes both of them – forever. Through a series of unexpected events, the two men find themselves attempting the three-day Dusi Canoe Marathon as a doubles pair. But there are a few things they must overcome, not least of which are the completely different worlds they come from. They realise that the dream they both desperately desire requires them to work together, both in the boat and beyond the river. Inspired by the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks, who together won gold in the 2014 Dusi, Beyond the River delivers a nail-biting adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit. Starrring Lemogang Tsipa and Grant Swanby. Directed by Craig Freimond and written by Freimond and Robbie Thorpe. Freimond: “The film is quite different. I can’t think of too many films like it. It’s got a feel-good side to it,but it has also got a lot of depth. People who’ve seen it have responded to the story, the film itself, the actors, the landscapes. People will enjoy this movie.” Watch Trailer / Read more about the film
BYPASS In the children’s ward of St Luke’s Hospital, Sam Cooper (Joel Brown) is waiting at the top of the transplant list for a new liver. His mother, Dr. Lisa Cooper, (Natalie Becker) head of cardiac surgery, feels completely helpless, unable to save her son, despite saving her patients’ lives every single day. When a liver finally becomes available and is destroyed en route to the hospital, the alternative of sourcing an illegal organ becomes her only option. Knowing that in order to harvest a heart and perform the transplant, she will need to take the life of a young, innocent girl to get Sam back, she is faced with the devastating reality that some lives may simply be more valuable than others. Screenplay by Shane Vermooten and Bianca Schmitz, directed by Shane Vermooten. Visit Website / Trailer
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with screenwriter and producer Morné Lane, whose film Kampterrein turns a family holiday inside out!
THE TRIBE A young professor consumed by alcoholism is saved from self-destruction by a former school mate and begins a journey to save his house, his marriage and his life. Smanga (Charlie Vundla) is a celebrated young professor at a prominent South African university, whose life quickly unravels when his wife, Laura, leaves him. He spirals into an alcohol, marijuana and sex induced tailspin that places the status of both his career and house in jeopardy. Smanga’s path of self-destruction is interrupted when he meets an old school mate, Jon, (Louis Roux) who is a failed motivational speaker. Taking pity on him, Smanga invites Jon back to his place and a friendship quickly develops. Through their emotionally honest communication Smanga begins the process of healing himself. When Smanga’s wife abruptly returns after being battered by another man things become complicated by an unexpected pregnancy. As the tensions in the house rise, a newly clean Smanga faces a complex decision that will define the lives of his tribe. Produced, written, directed and starring Charlie Vundla. Read more about the film / Watch the trailer
From the producers of Happiness is Four Letter Word, one of South Africa’s most successful films, comes an all new rib-tickling family comedy – Keeping up with the Kandasamys directed by Jayan Moodley (White Gold). The film opens a window into the lifestyle and subculture of modern-day Indian South Africans; their aspirations, dreams, challenges and the things that make them laugh and love
JAGVELD Emma le Roux is on her way home to the family farm in the Great Karoo. Pretty, soft little Emma, the pacifist primary school teacher. She has made this trip numerous times without incident. But not today. Today her path will cross with Bosman and Baz and Jay. And Boela and AJ and Piet. Bosman is the mastermind of a drug syndicate and a psychopath; he is savage and violent. Baz and Jay are his henchmen – murderers, monsters. AJ and Boela, spoiled brats looking for validation, are on board to make a quick buck in the criminal underworld. And then there’s Piet, the weakling, who is willing to do just about anything for his cousin Bosman. Emma witnesses the murder of a policeman at their hands. And they see her seeing them. Now they’re hunting her down like an animal … she’s easy prey, after all – it’ll all be over soon.The problem is, Emma is the daughter of Jacques le Roux, who taught her everything he knows. And Jacques le Roux was a Recce.Nothing about this hunt is going according to plan; everything is falling apart, and fast. At first they were driven by hate and revenge. Suddenly, it’s survival. The script was written by best-selling author, Deon Meyer and directed by Byron Davis. The cast includes popular local stars Neels van Jaarsveld, Bouwer Bosch, Leandie du Randt and Tim Theron. Read more about the film / Read review / Watch the trailer
South African filmmaker, Mandla Walter Dube, makes his feature directorial debut with the human drama Kalushi – The Solomon Mhlanga Story. Sacrificing his short life, through a brutal death in the hands of South Africa’s apartheid police has made Mahlangu a celebrated struggle hero in the revolutionary fight or freedom.
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with writer-director Sallas De Jager about his uproarious comedy Jonathan that deals with a dreamer and wannabe stand-up comedian who embarks on a roller coaster journey of self-discovery.
Tess is a hard-hitting journey into the heart of a young prostitute who sells her soul on the streets of Cape Town. Tracey Farren adapted her novel to film, with Meg Rickards in the director’s chair.
Snaaks Genoeg, an original piece written and directed by David Moore, follows a down-and-out comedian (Casper de Vries) who drifts from one small town to another.
Another proud graduate of The Writing Studio, director-writer-producer Uga Carlini, changes lives in a profound way with the poignant documentary Alison, which won the Best Documentary at the Asia Pacific International Film Festival, after selling out at the Encounters International Film Festival, and wowing crowds at its international premiere at Dances with Films Festival in Los Angeles.
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with writer-director Quentin Krog about Vir Die Voëls. Inspired by a true story, the romantic drama Vir Die Voëls was produced by Huisgenoot, in association with kykNET Films as part of their centenary celebrations in 2016.
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with Executive Producers and screenwriters Jarrod de Jong and Pieter Oosthuizen, whose film Eintlik Nog Baie is loaded with a good balance of romance, comedy, suspense, tragedy, and is shining with charisma. Read interview
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with writer-director Judy Naidoo, whose sensational film Hatchet Hour marks her directorial debut and is most definitely a landmark on her 20-year journey as an independent filmmaker in South Africa.
Shepherds and Butchers is the true account of the legal process of capital punishment, and the inhumane treatment of prisoners on death row, which took place during the apartheid era in South Africa. “It’s a film about young people taken by a society, taught how to kill and then left to their own devices,” says director Oliver Schmitz. “
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with award-winning actor Stiaan Smith, who stars in the new Afrikaans romantic comedy Sy Klink Soos Lente, and also wrote the screenplay.
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with writer-director Etienne Fourie, who caused an uproar with his sensational Die Windpomp, and now wows us with his delightful Dis Koue Kos, Skat, based on the novel by Marita van der Vyver.
The riveting Noem My Skollie delivers on the themes of friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, acceptance, the desire for a better life, hope and love, and is set on the Cape Flats and in Pollsmoor prison, based on the life of John W. Fredericks, who also wrote the screenplay at the age of 60.
In Dora’s Peace, a Hillbrow prostitute shields a gifted young boy from the violent clutches of organized crime and discovers aspects of her own lost humanity. Director, producer and editor Kosta Kalarytis, who co-wrote the screenplay of Dora’s Peace with Andrew Herold, began his career as a cartoonist and illustrator working for The Mail & Guardian and other numerous South African publications.
Writer-director John Barker, a proud graduate of The Writing Studio, is turning politics inside out and upside down with his biting independent mockumentary Wonder Boy For President.
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with writer-director Craig Gardner, whose film My Father’s War will help facilitate healing for a generation of men, women and children (now adults) who were deeply affected by the South Africa’s Border War – on and off the battlefield.
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with prolific television producer Anita Le Roux, who wrote the screenplay for the sensational Twee Grade Van Moord and enjoyed its debut at the Indie Karoo Film Festival, where it won the Best Film and Audience awards.
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with writer-director Oliver Hermanus, whose third feature film The Endless River takes us to rural South Africa — where anger and sorrow still linger some twenty years after apartheid — and conducts an original and incisive examination of the complex relationship between perpetrator and victim.’
Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with storyteller and storymaker Regardt van den Bergh, whose inspirationalUitvlucht will be screened in competition at the Indie Karoo Film Festival.
South African filmmaker Adze Ugah talks about Mrs. Right Guy, a story that will appeal to South Africans, to everyone who has been heartbroken. It’s a story that is specifically about love but has universal appeal that celebrates living in South Africa, in Jozi, in Soweto.
The Writing Studio’s proud graduate Sallas de Jager is winning the hearts of audiences worldwide with his sensational Free State, which he wrote-directed and produced, garnering the Best Director award and Special Jury award for scriptwriting at the Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt last
month, as well as Best Cinematography at the Garden State Film Festival in New Jersey, New York.
Master The Art Of Visual Narrative: The Write Journey is an interactive course for writers who would like to write a screenplay for feature film or television. Read more
The sexual awakening of a teenage girl stirs a rousing romance in Mignon Mossie Van Wyk, the latest film from Darrell James Roodt, who recently gave us the romance Trouvoete and the human dramas Treurgrond and Seun.
Modder & Bloed is a dream come true for The Writing Studio graduate Henk Pretorius. Read more
Mentoring and tutoring director Bonginhlanhla Ncube and screenwriter Carl Roddam (Safe Bet), producer and filmmaker Henk Pretorius (Modder & Bloed), and director and producer Sallas van der Merwe (Free State), has reaped rewards for Daniel Dercksen, director of The Writing Studio. Read more
Abraham is undoubtedly one of the best South African films ever made, a profound and consummate masterwork from industry legend, Jans Rautenbach that marks his first film in 30 years. Read more
Screenwriter Stefan Enslin reaches for the stars with Verskietende Ster. Read more
Review: Modder en Bloed – In this emotional journey into the heart and soul of a war that divided a nation, reconciled revenge forces underdogs to triumph in the spirit of togetherness. Read more
Writer-director Sean Else talks about Modder en Bloed. Read more
Safe Bet is a winner for The Writing Studio Graduates: Director-producer Bonginhlanhla Ncube and screenwriter Carl Roddam
Writer-director Johnny Breedt talks about Die Ontwaking.Read more
Writer-director Brett Michael Innes talks about Sink. Read more
Award-winning producer Bongiwe Selane talks about Happiness is a Four -Letter Word. Read more
The deeply moving ‘n Man Soos My Pa is one of those exceptional films steeped in the tradition of classic films like East Of Eden that grabs hold of you emotionally and never lets go. Read more
Darling superstars of the local film and TV industry, Ivan Botha and Donnalee Roberts, who charmed filmgoers in Pad Na You Hart, and sizzle in their latest charmer Vir Altyd (Forever) which they wrote and co-produced. Read more
Writer-director Koos Roets talks about ‘n Pawpaw Vir My Darling.Read more
Director Sarah Blecher talks about Dis Ek, Anna. Read more