Direc­tor makes dream re­al­ity

Cape Times - - METRO - African News Agency (ANA)

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. |

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