SA Western heads to the West
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.