SA West­ern heads to the West

CityPress - - News - PHUM­LANI S LANGA phum­lani.sithebe@city­

It’s been two weeks since South Africa’s first West­ern was re­leased and Five Fin­gers for Mar­seilles has taken the lo­cal box of­fice by storm, with a spot in the top 10.

Scriptwriter Sean Drum­mond and di­rec­tor Michael Matthews plan to take it to the US in Septem­ber to screen it in New York and Los An­ge­les – and roll it out in cin­e­mas in 15 other cities.

Vuyo Dab­ula, the film’s lead ac­tor, said: “I’ve re­ally en­joyed some of the feed­back we’re get­ting and it feels re­ally good to be able to take all this in.”

Hamil­ton Dlamini, who plays the vil­lain, re­cently won a South African Film and Tele­vi­sion Award for Best Ac­tor in a TV soap for his role on Isi­baya.

“I didn’t know it would be such a unique project. I thought it was con­fus­ing be­cause of the script, style and lo­ca­tion as well as who I’d be act­ing with. But when I saw the cast, it was made up of some of the best sto­ry­tellers – War­ren Masemola, Ken­neth Nkosi, Vuyo Dab­ula and Zethu Dlomo – which put me at ease,” he said.

“[Lady Grey, East­ern Cape] was a hard cli­mate to shoot in. It was cold and dif­fi­cult, but now we can en­joy the fruits of our hard labour.

“It’s purely South African from the cast to the crew and that sense of own­er­ship feels amaz­ing. It will open op­por­tu­ni­ties for ev­ery­one in­volved as we have been taken for granted, as just a Third World coun­try, but this film shows that we are more and that we have the land­scapes and sto­ries here.”

Drum­mond and Matthews said via email that they have that “re­ward­ing feel­ing”.

“The re­sponse has been over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive. Peo­ple are lov­ing the film and en­gag­ing with it. We all need to keep rais­ing the bar of South African cin­ema so that the films get bet­ter and bet­ter. That said, we need the coun­try to keep com­ing out and sup­port­ing, we need fans telling their friends, so we can re­ally give the Hol­ly­wood films a run for their money.”

They asked for South Africans to come and see the film in their num­bers.

“Films that don’t per­form get taken off the cir­cuit, so peo­ple have to vote with their feet and show sup­port with bums in seats early on. We added four screens this week. We’re hop­ing to keep grow­ing over com­ing weeks,” the two said.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to know that the film is go­ing out to a world au­di­ence. In­ter­na­tion­ally, peo­ple are re­ally crav­ing great African films.”

The film will head to other coun­tries, in­clud­ing France, Scan­di­navia and Ja­pan. Some will have cin­ema re­leases, while oth­ers will just be for video on de­mand and TV.

Lo­cally, it will go to DStv Box­Of­fice in about two months, and M-Net/DStv has bought the African TV rights.

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