South African Filmmaking

Top South African Films of 2016 / Latest Film Releases

Interviews with South African Filmmakers and Screenwriters

Films listed Alphabetically (Scroll down for Reviews / Films now showing / On DVD)

Baby-Mamas26BABY MAMAS It follows the daily lives of four (middle class) friends, played by Mosese, Mdoda, Dineo Ranaka and Kay Smith, as two of them struggle with the challenges that face single mothers, another finds out she’s pregnant, and the other grapples with the fallout of an abusive relationship. Four women share all their experiences on the joys and woes of being single Moms, while still searching for true love. This is a comedy drama revolving around the daily lives, loves and drama of four professional women who are all in different stages of their own real-life baby mama drama. A sisterhood develops among these four very different women, as they find in each other the strength and courage it will take to navigate the treacherous waters of the relationships, good and bad, that they have with the men in their lives.Directed by Stephina Zwane. Trailer / Showing from 12 October

FRANK AND FEARLESSFRANK & FEARLESS In true Schuster fashion, Frank & Fearless follows the hilarious and heroic antics of four loveable characters in the African bush, but also introduces a relevant and engrossing story and a depth of emotion which sets it apart from anything else previously produced by Leon whose films, like Mr Bones and Mad Buddies, are some of the highest-grossing local productions with impressive international sales.The film, written by Gray Hofmeyr, Leon Schuster and Geoff Newton, was created by a dynamic team of experts, with acclaimed filmmaker Gray Hofmeyr as director and André Scholtz and Menzi Thabede as producers. Read more / Trailer / Showing from 23 November

KANARIE WEBSITE 2KANARIE is a coming-of-age musical drama set in South Africa in 1985, about a young boy who discovers how through hardship, camaraderie, first love, and the liberating freedom of music, the true self can be discovered. The film is directed by Christiaan Olwagen (Johhny Is Nie Dood Nie), from an original screenplay crafted by Olwagen and Musical Director Charl-Johan Lingenfelder. Read more / Trailer / Showing from 19 October

RECCE WEBSITETHE RECCE Cinema audiences are waiting in anticipation for the release of what promises to be this year’s biggest war drama. Writer-director, Ferdinand Johannes Van Zyl believes that the film will provide a cinematic experience that is beyond the genre, a tale of survival, love, duty and sacrifice.This is also one of the first films in decades to explore issues regarding not only the Border War, but also the pain and suffering families had to endure during and after the conflict that lasted almost 20 years. Read More / Trailer / Showing from 28 September

TABLE MANNERSTABLE MANNERS A refreshing look at contemporary life in South Africa, where racial barriers no longer exist – a film that has moved on from having to refer back to the Rainbow Nation’s darker history, and rather depicts the true reality of current multi-cultural neighbourhoods and friendships – with the only divide being between the rich and the not-so-rich. Leli Maki Esq. makes his directorial theatrical debut, from a screenplay by SAFTA Award-winning writer and actress Nkuli Sibeko.  Read more / Trailer / Showing from 28 September

8798_THE TOKOLOSHE - Image Courtesy of Indigenous Film Distribution (2)THE TOKOLOSHE The supernatural thriller The Tokoloshe, a tale about a terrifying predator, tells the story of Busi (Tshuma), a young woman who is desperate for money and takes the night shift at the local hospital. When she starts working there, she befriends a young girl, Gracie, (Kwande Nkosi) who believes that she is being terrorised by a supernatural being called the Tokoloshe. When the children start being taken, Busi is forced to ask if the Tokoloshe is responsible. Read more / Showing from 2 November

3 DAYS TO GO3 DAYS TO GO No matter how long it has been since you last saw your relatives, meeting up at family gatherings – especially funerals – can lead to drama and more drama. This typical, and often very emotional, scenario is also the inspiration behind award-winning producer Bianca Isaac’s directorial debut, 3 Days To Go, which puts family relationships in the spotlight!  Read more / Showing from 25 January, 2019

Reviews

Abraham2Abraham 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

 

 

Johnny 11With 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.

 

Modder en Bloed 9Modder 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

 

 

Man soos Pa 1The 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

 

 

Dis ek, Anna is about the sexual abuse of Anna Bruwer by her stepfather over a period of eight years. Silent Anna, she called herself because she could not tell anyone what had happened between her and her stepfather. Not her mother, not her best friend and not even her own father. In the story, the viewer becomes intimately involved in the child’s twilight world of shame, threats and silence and how she takes revenge. Read review

Films that have been released and are available on DVD / Blu-Ray

(Listed Alphabetically)

24 HOURS TO LIVE It was the powerful human story underlying the action that caught the attention of Thunder Road Films producer, Kent Kubena, when he read the script co-written by Ron Mita and Jim McClain – who originally set the story in Washington D.C. “The film takes on a genre that is so much more than just an action film.” says Kubena. The high-octane film is penned by Zachary Dean and based on Ron Mita & Jim McClain’s original script that follows Hawke’s career assassin who is given a chance at redemption after his employer brings him back to life temporarily, just after being killed on the job. Trailer / Feature: A high-octane action film with morality and poetry weaved into it. / On DVD

THE ACCIDENT In the horror The Accident a group of teenagers suffer a terrible accident during a joy ride and get trapped at the bottom of a ravine.Jess and Caroline are ready to party it up in Northern Cali but miss their bus to the rave of the year. Dressed up and too pumped to miss out, they go looking for a ride to hitch. They join Thomas, young, dark and charming, and his handsome buddy Fred, for a ride. During a tussle the car loses control and rolls down a steep slope…The two girls try everything they can to save themselves and get out of the car – but nothing works. They’re trapped. Hope returns when Thomas comes to but disappears again when he divulges that there is more to the car than meets the eye. It is stolen and they are in trouble. Desperate attempts to free themselves set off a tracking-device, expose loads of hidden cash and reveal the fact that the guys they took the car from are coming for it – in a big way. Written and Directed by Dan Tondowski.  Trailer

ALLISON 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.

BEYOND THE RIVER Two men from vastly different walks of life have one thing in common: to win gold in Beyond The River. 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,  It is directed byCraig Freimond and written by Freimond and Robbie Thorpe.  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 in Bypass.. 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

CATCHING FEELINGS   is a dark South African romantic comedy which follows an urbane young academic (Kagiso Lediga, who wrote and directed the film) and his journalist wife (Pearl Thusi), as their lives get turned upside down when a celebrated and hedonistic older writer (Andrew Buckland) moves into their Johannesburg home with them. Despite their love for each other, their relationship has hit a rut. Lacking excitement, the couple have settled into a routine that neither agrees with. Max now spends his time at dinners and events, musing over his frustrations with his key conspirator and sounding board, Joel (Akin Omotoso), who himself has his hands full with an illicit affair.  Trailer / Read more /

DIS EK, ANNA is based on Anchien Troskie’s best-selling fictionalised autobiographical novels Ek, Anna and Die Staat Teen Anna Bruwer. While the filmmakers have handled the subject with great sensitivity and care, the film confronts abuse head on. Directed by Sara Blecher and stars Charlené Brouwer in the title role, along with Morné Visser, Nicola Hanekom, Marius Weyers, Eduan van Jaarsveldt, Drikus Volschenk and newcomer Izel Bezuidenhout as young Anna. Dawid Minnaar, Elize Cawood, Hykie Berg, Ilze Klink and Fezile Mpela round out the cast. Read the review  Feature:  Bringing Dis Ek, Anna to the Big Screen

DORA’S PEACE 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.

ELLEN: THE ELLEN PAKKIES STORY In 2007, the death of 20-year-old Abie Pakkies caused a stir in South Africa and the world. The most heart-wrenching part of the case was that the murderer was his mother, Ellen. In taking on the case, advocate Adrian Samuels was determined to prove that Ellen Pakkies had no choice. But what compelled her to stop seeking help? How does a mother become so desperate that she takes her own son’s life? was produced under the watchful eye of director, Daryne Joshua (Noem My Skollie), The film was produced in association with producers, Schalk-Willem Burger and Paulo Areal, with input from Ellen Pakkies herself, with a screenplay by Amy Jeptha.  Now showingRead an interview with screenwriter Amy Jeptha / Watch the trailer  / Facebook Page

FAREWELL ELLA BELLA Writer-director Lwazi Mvusi’s film was born out of the desire to break the mould in terms of how South African stories are told when it comes to our post-apartheid reality.For a disillusioned waitress, her father’s death sparks the determination to leave behind her stagnant life as she embarks on a journey of selfdiscovery to Johannesburg that forces her to confront her past and lay her father to rest so she may realise her future.Feature: A coming of age tale in post-apartheid South Africa / Trailer 

FINDERS KEEPERS In the action-comedy Finders Keepersa 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. The film 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.

FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES Directed by Michael Matthews and written by Sean Drummond, Five Fingers for Marseilles  is a predominantly Sesotho, Western-inspired tale of an outlaw who returns home after years on the run, and finds a chance for redemption.  It tells the story of how, 20 years ago, the young ‘Five Fingers’ fought for the rural town of Marseilles, against brutal police oppression. Now, after fleeing in disgrace, Tau returns, seeking peace. Finding the town under new threat, he must reluctantly fight to free it. Will the Five Fingers stand again? Feature: A Contemporary South African Western /   Watch the trailer / On DVD / Blu-Ray

JAGVELD In Jagveld 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. 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.  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

Premiere Invitation - The Jakes are MissingTHE JAKES ARE MISSING Written and produced by the talented and well-known Bianca Isaac and directed by Neal Sundstrom and Denny Miller, The Jakes Are Missing  promises to entertain viewers, young and old, with its universal storyline and theme, filled with comedy, drama, intrigue and romance.  “This film is a global story that appeals to all South African audiences, as well as audiences outside the country. It deals with love – falling out of love, falling in love, finding new love, the old love that never dies and infatuation that always lurks around. The Jakes Are Missing is a fun light film for all – you will laugh, cry and fall in love all over again”, says Isaac. The Jakes have fallen out of love and into Police Protection…..Being at the wrong place at the wrong time sends a teenage boy, Simon (Mpho Sebeng) and his parents to a journey where they will rediscover what it means to love each other, again. Janice (Mampho Brescia) and Donald Jakes(Pope Jerrod) are at a crossroad, Janice wants to leave this relationship and Donald has been so busy at work he hasn’t noticed his wife hates him and wants to leave. One night, while supposedly being grounded, Simon sneaks out to a music event that could possible change his career forever. However it changes his life forever as he becomes the witness to a murder and escapes the crime scene with the one thing the criminals are willing to kill for…The Jakes are Missing features a star-studded cast with household names such as Mampho Brescia, Pope Jerrod, Mpho Sebeng, Nomzamo Mbatho, Darlington Michaels, Abigail Khubeka, Nicole Bailey, Heidie Mollentze, Celeste Ntuli, Dirk Stoltz, Zakeeya Patel and Jody Abrahams to name a few.

Kalushi4_webKALUSHI – THE SOLOMON MHLANGA STORY 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.

 

keeping-up-with-the-kandasamys-2KEEPING UP WITH THE KANDASAMYS 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

Krotoa 1KROTOA ”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.

 

LOOKING FOR LOVE Temperatures are rising, birds are singing and love is in the air. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than watching a movie that looks at the perils of dating in the merciless concrete jungle of Jozi. Opening this Friday, 31 August is the raunchy new comedy-romance film ‘Looking for Love’ by Nigerian-born filmmaker Adze Ugah. It’s a film that turns up the dial on female sexuality and body positivity. Now showingRead more / Trailer

MossieMIGNON MOSSIE VAN WYK 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.

 

 

Noem my skollie 2NOEM MY SKOLLIE 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.

 

REBELLIE 2DIE REBELLIE VAN LAFRAS VERWEY 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.

RECONNECT In Reconnect two friends discover artificial intelligence on an old mainframe in an abandoned warehouse and complications arise when they try to lend a hand. Eric Scott and his friend, Jason White are working on a new game they are designing in their private time that will be launched soon. They both work for a large intelligence corporation called “Sky Corp”. After exploring an abandoned warehouse as a possible location for their game launch party, ERIC meets a mysterious artificial intelligent being on an old mainframe that remained there. The system is in a vulnerable shape and threatens the continued existence of “XJ-1” as Eric now calls him. In a courageous attempt, Eric finds a way to transfer him to one of Sky Corp’s extended storage systems and Jason unknowingly helps him. Not long after, XJ-1’s personality begins to change and starts to take over portions of Sky Corp’s mainframe. It is like a virus spreading uncontrollably and no one succeeds to get control back over the situation. Now knowing that it is entirely their fault, Eric and Jason heroically continue to try and find a way to save Sky Corp. In their search, they start to uncover a top secret project and find documents to support their theories. As the truth unfolds, relationships are put to the ultimate test and Eric has to deal with his past in order to reconnect with his destiny

SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERSSHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS 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. “

 

snaaks-genoegSNAAKS GENOEG 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.

 

 

STROOMOP A film about self-discovery, forgiveness, healing and acceptance. It tells the story of five women being tossed about by life’s rough waters and drowning in their own lives. Together they not only have to fight tears, fears and pain, but they must also fight for survival in this exciting white river rafting adventure on the Orange River. Ivan Botha directed the film from a screenplay by himself, with  Donnalee Roberts (this marks their 3rd film together) and Sean Robert Daniels  Read more / Trailer / Read interview with Ivan Botha / Now showing

SUSTERS In the Afrikaans film Susters three adopted sisters are reunited after the untimely death of their mom. Lexie, a free-spirited entomologist, Jo, an aspiring fashion designer, and Cecile, a stay home mom, are forced to put their lives on hold, to fulfil their late mom’s last wishes. What ensues is a road trip through beautiful parts of South Africa, and a trip down memory lane, filled with adventurous twists and turns, and many colourful characters.  It is directed by Corné van Rooyen (Hollywood in my huis, Vaselinetjie) from a screenplay by Corine du Toit and Sandra Vaughn (Semi Soet). Lokprent / Susters – ‘n Eg Suid-Afrikaanse Chick-Fliek

TessTESS 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.

 

 

 

tribe-localTHE 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 in The Tribe. 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

VaselinetjieVASELINETJIE The story of Helena ‘Vaselinetjie’ Bosman, a white girl raised by her loving coloured grandparents in a remote rural village in the Northern Cape, South Africa. However, upon learning that Vaselinetjie is not their biological grandchild, the welfare intervenes and decides to send Vaselinetjie to a state orphanage in the far away city of Johannesburg. Based on Anoeschka von Meck’s celebrated youth novel. It is a story about defining your identity and race within the turmoil of post Apartheid South Africa. Nicole Bond and Marguerite Van Eeden make their big screen debut as both older and younger Vaselinetjie. Other cast members include Arno Greeff, Elzet Nel, Elani Dekker, Marise Loots, Anchen Du Plessis, Daniah De Villies, Royston Stoffels and Shaleen Surtie-Richards. Written and directed by Corne Van Rooyen. Feature: An Inspiring South African Story

Vaya 3VAYA A synthesis of big-city anxieties and aspirations, Vaya is directed by Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotoso, who weaves together three separate stories to create a gripping yet compassionate portrait of small-town characters immersed in the intimidating, alluring, and dangerous world of big-city Johannesburg and Soweto. It is based on the lives of four young men from The Homeless Story Project and rooted in their experiences of coming to the city in search of family and opportunities. Millions of people in South Africa have left rural communities and travelled to cities. For the poor and the jobless the safety net of family is fast disappearing. Countless migrants to the city find themselves invisible and trapped in places with limited opportunities for survival and abused by the very people whose protection they sought. The Homeless Story Project gives a voice to the voiceless by creating opportunities for stories to be developed into films or published media. Feature: Vaya – a rare lens into life in the city that is unique, gritty and hard hitting / Trailer Facebook

VUIL WASGOED In the dark comedy Vuil Wasgoed Wim and Kevin have been dreaming of their own coffee shop for years, but while they wait for their dream to come true, they temporarily work in a laundromat. The problem is ‘temporarily’ has become seven years and the highlight of their existence is still borrowing their clients’ clothes to gate-crash parties at night. The system works well. Kevin is even close to kissing the love of his life, until a crooked jewel merchant is betrayed, his finger is chopped off and the finger ends up in a jacket pocket at the laundromat. Against their will, Wim and Kevin are dragged into the dangerous criminal world.   Morné du Toit directs from a screenplay by Bennie Fourie. Watch the trailer