Director makes dream reality
LOCAL writer Sibusiso Khuzwayo’s dream of directing a film came true after a donation of film equipment from the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation, Panavision and Panalux.
When Khuzwayo read Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred, Mark Gevisser’s biography of the former president, he was inspired by the story about a boy who read letters to villagers.
Imagining the challenges faced by such a young boy, Khuzwayo started thinking about a character he could create for a script for a film he might direct.
Over three years, producers Cati Weinek and Dumi Gumbi worked closely with Khuzwayo to realise his dream of directing a film.
“It has been a privilege working with Sibusiso, a writer who has created the most exquisite script and who is a beautiful visual storyteller on set.
“We wanted to… surround Sibusiso with the best talent in the country, from Lance Gewer as director of photography to stars like Andile Gumbi,” said Weinek.
The result of their collaboration is the short film, Letter Reader.
The crew and cast are overjoyed with the film, shot recently in a remote mountain village in the Drakensberg.
The film tells the story of Siyabonga, a 12-year-old boy from Joburg who is sent to a village in KwaZulu-Natal to live with his grandmother while his parents sorted out their marital problems.
As a city boy not accustomed to doing household chores, Siyabonga struggles to adapt.
He then discovers the power of words when he reads letters to people.
The actor who plays Siyabonga is 13-year-old Bahle Mashinini. He is the star of the show.
Dumi Gumbi said the initiative formed part of film studio The Ergo Company’s young directors’ programme to develop new talent in the industry, but like all films it needed investors.
The film will be screened at local and international festivals, and hopefully will appear on our TV screens.
“Usually broadcasters don’t buy short films but we hope the quality of the film will speak for itself,” Gumbi said.
Khuzwayo hopes to make a fulllength feature movie based on his short film. |