South African Filmmaking

 Take a look at our Top South African Films of 2016

Written and directed by Mbongeni Ngema, the film version of the seminal musical Asinamali  has Oscar-nominated director Darrell James Roodt as a technical director, as well as an all-star cast. Roodt shared his directing knowledge and skill, and worked alongside Ngema who is at the helm of a production to which he has dedicated many years of his life. ‘Asinamali’ features an original soundtrack by Ngema. “This has been a bumper year for South African films and we are excited to be releasing one of the most anticipated new films of the 2017, says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution. “South African audiences need to play their part and watch this timeless story during the short release so that it will be eligible for the Oscars.” The narrative follows a group of prisoners in the 80s as they think back on their pasts and the events leading to their arrest. The hardship of prison life is told through the experiences of the inmates, whose lives are made even more difficult by sadistic prison warder Sergeant Mgwaqaza (Boitumelo Chuck Shisana). At the same time, the prison authorities are under pressure to accommodate Comrade Washington (Mbongeni Ngema), an exiled MK soldier working for Amnesty International, who is running drama workshops with the inmates at the notorious Durban Central Prison. He is thwarted at every turn by Mgwaqaza. Comrade Washington has an additional agenda, to see the love of his life Soweto (Danica de la Rey), who is languishing in the Female Section of the prison, soon to be transferred to death row in Pretoria for her MK cross-border activities. Washington believes in the power of music and theatre to transform the lives of people: the political activists, the criminals and even the hardened servants of the apartheid regime. Through sheer determination he outsmarts the prison authorities, manipulating those around him into allowing him to create a play which depicts how they came to land in prison. It represents triumph over adversity, with the theatrical musical explosion becoming their ticket to freedom. Asinamali will screen for seven days at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank Johannesburg, from Friday, 22 September to Thursday 28 September.This  will ensure the film is The Academy stipulates that a film must play theatrically for seven consecutive days to qualify for entry. Trailer

Vaselientjie - Greef and castThe Afrikaans film Vasselinetjie  tells 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

Five Fingers for MarseillesThis contemporary South African Western Five Fingers For Marseilles is set in the rugged badlands of the Eastern Cape, and will screen for seven days at Ster-Kinekor Tygervalley in Cape Town from 15 September. before its release on 6 April 2018. This is to ensure that the film is eligible for submission for the 2018 Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film. The Academy stipulates that a film must play theatrically for seven consecutive days to qualify for entry. 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? Vuyo Dabula heads an all-star cast that includes Hamilton Dhlamini, Zethu Dlomo, Kenneth Nkosi, Mduduzi Mabaso, Aubrey Poolo, Lizwi Vilakazi, Warren Masemola, Dean Fourie, Anthony Oseyemi, Brendon Daniels and Jerry Mofokeng. Cast by acclaimed casting director Moonyeenn Lee, the film also features people from local Eastern Cape communities in supporting roles, and introduces to the big screen Toka Mtabane, Vuyo Novokoza, Ntsika Tiyo, Sibusiso Bottoman, Abongile Sithole, and Qhawe Soroshi. Canadian film reviewer Edgar Chaput wrote, “Lovers of westerns and action films should rejoice at what director Matthews, his crew, and cast have delivered with ‘Fingers’. Their efforts result in more than a curiosity, but an accomplishment as far as extending the breath of a genre goes […] ‘Fingers’ straddles the line between bending and twisting some of the rules whilst still staying true to the genre’s sources, and caps things off by setting its serpentine adventure in a beautiful, harsh, and quite unexpected landscape. The film is foreign, comprised predominantly of black, South African actors speaking the local dialect, yet familiar with how it presents the story of a burdened hero straddling into town to clean it up. If ever there was a case of arguing that a western movie feels the same but somehow different, ‘Fingers’ is a prime candidate.” Watch the trailer

‘Inxeba’ (The Wound)Multi-award-winning South African film ‘Inxeba’ (The Wound), a powerful and complex tale of closeted sexuality, will screen for seven days at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg, and at the V& A Waterfront Nouveau in Cape Town, from 15 to 21 September.  This is to ensure that the film is eligible for submission for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Academy stipulates that a film must play theatrically for seven consecutive days in order to qualify. In addition to the Johannesburg and Cape Town screenings, ‘Inxeba’ is being shown at special community screenings nationwide, including Durban, East London, Khayelitsha and Gugulethu as part of the qualifying run. It will also be also shown in partnership with Soweto Pride at the end of September. ‘Inxeba’ has won 12 international awards, seven of them in the ‘best film’ category. ‘Inxeba’s’ examination into issues of sexuality, patriarchy, class and repression against a backdrop of traditional masculinity is proving to be compelling, and we are excited to see what the future will hold as the film begins its Oscar submission journey,” says producer Cait Pansegrouw. “The film has stirred up some debate, and we encourage local audiences to see it for themselves.” Visit the website  / Trailer

Vaya2The electrifying South African drama Vaya goes on limited release at Cinema Nouveau, Rosebank in Johannesburg this Friday, 15 September before its release on 27 October, 2017.  This is to qualify for consideration as South Africa’s official entry for the 2018 Oscars Best Foreign Language Film. Akin Omotoso’s award-winning feature film examining the lives of a group of strangers who arrive in cosmopolitan Johannesburg to fulfil various personal missions.Since Vaya’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, it has already screened at many prestigious international and local film festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival, the Sydney International Film Festival and the New York African Film Festival. Described by one critic as South Africa’s Crash, Vaya has become a favourite with critics and audiences alike.  It earned high praise from Cameron Bailey, Director of the Toronto International Film Festival who said: “Many filmmakers have utilised the network narrative to relay broad social commentary, Omotoso, bolstered by brilliant performances and Kabelo Thathe’s sizzling camerawork, wisely focuses on tension, character and milieu leaving the conclusions up to us.”Most recently, Vaya scooped Best Screenplay and Best Director at the Africa Movie Academy awards in addition to Best South African Feature Film at this year’s Durban International Film Festival.Written by Tshabalira Lebakeng, Anthony Mafela, David Majoka, Madoda Ntuli, Craig Freimond, Harriet Perlman and Robbie Thorpe, the screenplay is based on real lived experiences of a group of homeless writers who make up the Homeless Writer’s Project. Watch the trailer

FINDERS-CAT-PIC-2In the local 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. 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.

Krotoa 1”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.

 

 

WOUNDWriter-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

Morne du ToitDirector 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

 

 

 

REBELLIE 2Iconic 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.

Katinka & Simon 2

Katinka Heyns and Simon Barnard

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

Johnny 1With 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-riverBEYOND 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!

 

 

 

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. 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

keeping-up-with-the-kandasamys-2From 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 3JAGVELD 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

Kalushi4_webSouth 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.

 

 

sallasDaniel 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.

 

 

TessTess 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-genoegSnaaks 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.

 

 

 

Uga 2Another 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.

 

voels-2Daniel 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.

 

 

jarrod-and-pieterDaniel 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

 

 

judy-2Daniel 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.

 

 

shepherdsShepherds 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. “

 

 

stiaan-smithDaniel 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.

 

 

 

koue-kos-2Daniel 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.

 

 

John W. FredericksThe 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.

 

 

doras peace 2In 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.

 

John BarkerWriter-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.  

 

 

 

Craig GardnerDaniel 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.

 

 

AnitaDaniel 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.

 

 

HermanusDaniel 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.’

 

 

Regardt 2Daniel 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.

 

 

 

Adze_2South 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.

 

 

Sallas

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.

 

Write JourneyMaster 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

 

 

 

MossieThe 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.

 

 

 

Henk2Modder & Bloed is a dream come true for The Writing Studio graduate Henk Pretorius. Read more

 

 

 

GraduatesMentoring 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

 

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

 

 

 

Stefan Enslin - Strikdas EPKScreenwriter Stefan Enslin reaches for the stars with Verskietende SterRead more

 

 

 

Modder en Bloed 9Review: 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

 

 

 

Sean ElseWriter-director Sean Else talks about Modder en Bloed. Read more

 

 

 

Mr BSafe Bet is a winner for The Writing Studio Graduates:  Director-producer Bonginhlanhla Ncube and screenwriter Carl Roddam

 

 

 

Johnny Breedt 2Writer-director Johnny Breedt talks about Die Ontwaking.Read more

 

 

 

 

SINK 2Writer-director Brett Michael Innes talks about Sink. Read more

 

 

 

 

Bongiwe Selane is an award winning producer with credits behind her that include Culture Shock, the 2013 SAFTA winner for best reality show, Best South African Short Film at DIFF in 2015 for the short film, Unomalanga and The Witch. Her producing credits include New Directions – M-Net’s skills development initiative that she headed for 8 years which saw the production of over 30 short films across the African continent. She also produced a documentary series called Great Africans for Africa Magic Entertainment. Broadcast in 2014, the series profiled African icons including Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Wole Soyinka and Wangari Maathai. Bongiwe is currently producing the NFVF’s Female Only Filmmaker project, a series of short narrative films by women filmmakers. Happiness is a Four-Letter- Word is her first feature film.

Award-winning producer Bongiwe Selane talks about Happiness is a Four -Letter Word. Read more

 

 

 

Man soos PaThe 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

 

 

 

Vir AltydDarling 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

 

 

 

Koos-Roets-600x450Writer-director Koos Roets talks about ‘n Pawpaw Vir My Darling.Read more

 

 

 

 

Blechner

Director Sarah Blecher talks about Dis Ek, Anna. Read more