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Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Shepherds and Butchers to premiere at Silverskerm Festival

Shepherds and ButchersThe film adaptation Shepherds and Butchers, based on the novel by Chris Marnewick, will be premiered in South Africa at the kykNET Silverskerm festival in Cape Town this week.

The film is directed by Oliver Schmitz and stars Andrea Riseborough, Steve Coogan, Deon Lotz and Eduan van Jaarsveldt.

It was awarded the third place Panorama Audience Award for Fiction Films at the Berlin Film Festival in February – a first for a South African film.

Press release from kykNET:

Earlier this year, veteran director Oliver Schmitz’s Shepherds and Butchers bowled audiences over at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it received the prestigious Panorama Audience Award.

Audiences will now get the chance to see the film at the kykNET Silverskerm festival in Cape Town, which starts on 24 August, 2016. Anant Singh, one of Shepherds and Butchers’ producers, will also be attending this year’s festival for the first time and will be present at the screening of the film on Friday, 26 August.

Shepherds and Butchers is part of a new selection of feature films that has seen the light due to the creative and financial support of M-Net. “We are proud of every single one of these films, which represents a bigger variety of genres. The films have suspenseful storylines and the production value is of the highest quality,” Jan du Plessis, Director: M-Net channels commented. “It is wonderful news that Shepherds and Butchers with its outstanding cast, including the brilliant Steve Coogan and an experienced production crew can screen at the festival with other up and coming new local filmmakers.”

Shepherds and Butchers is inspired by true events and is set against the background of the politically unsettled South Africa of 1987. When Leon Labuschangne (Garion Dowds), a 19-year-old prison warden, commits a cold blooded crime by shooting seven black men at point blank range, the outcome of the lingering court case is obvious for most – that he will get the death penalty.

The human rights activist, John Weber (played by the renowned Steve Coogan from Philomena fame), who stands against the death penalty, is the only defence attorney that is willing to take Labuschagne’s case. He discovers that this young man worked on the gallows where 164 executions took place in one year.

During the court case Weber reveals the traumatic working conditions Labuschagne was exposed to which ultimately lead to his break down.

Andrea Riseborough (the Oscar-winning Birdman), Deon Lotz, (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) Marcel van Heerden, Eduan van Jaarsveldt and Nicola Hanekom also form part of the star studded cast.

Shepherds and Butchers screens on Friday, 26 of August at 4:30 PM in the Rotunda at the kykNET Silwerskerm Festival.

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Zirk van den Berg’s novel of forbidden love in the Boer War optioned for film by New Zealand company

Half of One ThingHalfpad een dingMovie rights to Zirk van den Berg’s period novel Half of One Thing have been optioned by independent producer Neil Sonnekus of New Zealand production company Stinkwood Films.

The deal was negotiated by Aoife Lennon-Ritchie of the Lennon-Ritchie Agency.

“It’s a wonderful read,” Sonnekus said of the book. “I fell for the ‘historical record’ hook, line and sinker. It’s a great, great con. The characters become representative of real historical forces, and I like that – the con has the solid ring of truth about it.”

Gideon Lancaster, a New Zealand soldier fighting for the British, infiltrates a Boer commando. He soon finds himself entangled in a confusion of loyalties as he becomes better acquainted with the men.

Worse, he falls in love with Esther Calitz, a Boer woman of considerable mettle who demands his loyalty over every other allegiance. Commandant Jacob Eksteen is Lancaster’s taciturn rival in love, and a man of clear black-and-white convictions. So powerful are the conflicting demands of fidelity and love that Lancaster seizes a startling opportunity when a large British battalion is mobilised in what is to be the final triumph of the imperial forces.

The book is also available in Afrikaans as Halfpad Een Ding.

Van den Berg made his literary debut with a volume of Afrikaans short stories in 1989, followed by a historical novel. After moving to New Zealand in 1998, Van den Berg switched to writing in English. His crime novel, Nobody Dies, was published to considerable acclaim in New Zealand and saw an Afrikaans edition released as ’n Ander mens in South Africa in 2013. The book won the film category in the inaugural KykNet-Rapport book awards in 2014 and Van den Berg’s film script based on that book is currently being considered for production.

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Film Version of Zakes Mda’s The Whale Caller Currently in Production

The Whale CallerThe film adaptation of The Whale Caller by Zakes Mda is currently in production, and will be shot in December in the famous whale-watching town of Hermanus in the Western Cape.

The Whale Caller, Mda’s fifth novel, is set in Hermanus, and features the Hermanus Whale Crier, in a tattered tuxedo, who spends his days blowing his kelp horn to the whales that visit the seaside town in the summer:

In particular, he blows for Sharisha, a southern right whale who always responds to his call. With each surfacing of her giant head and each thrashing of her tail, the Whale Caller’s connection to Sharisha deepens. Then Saluni enters his life. Saluni – the feisty village drunk, a passionate but self-destructive woman who frequents the taverns and consorts with passing sailors. She cannot understand nor tolerate his fixation with the whales, and as the relationship between her and the Whale Caller grows, she finds herself vying with Sharisha for his attention. The tension builds to a devastating climax that has terrible and lasting consequences.

Mda uses the novel an example of his adage “write what you don’t know”, as when he first started writing it he knew nothing about whale calling. In his Gustavus Adolphus College African Studies inaugural lecture in 2013, Mda said: “When you get the final period of the novel, that topic will have transformed into something ‘you know’.”

Netwerk24 reports on the upcoming film adaptation:

“Lights, camera, action!”

This film industry phrase may soon be heard from the Old Harbour and other locations in Hermanus.

A film, based on the novel by acclaimed South African writer, Zakes Mda, The Whale Caller, is currently in production and will be filmed on location in Hermanus in December.

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