All Things Film

 

“Four Corners”, South Africa’s submission to the 2014 Oscars in the Best Foreign Language category, has attracted a lot of positive attention after its screening in Los Angeles in the United States on November 24.

Set in the Cape ganglands, this coming-of-age story centres on Ricardo Galam, a 13-year-old chess champion who is drawn into the infamous gang culture in the Cape Flats.

Gavin Hood, South African director of “Tsotsi”, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006, introduced the movie at the screening.

Director of “Four Corners”, Ian Gabriel, said he was optimistic about the film’s chances, adding that Hood loved the movie. 

“Four Corners” is one of 76 movies from around the world hoping to make it into the nominees’ shortlist comprising of five films.

The movie releases on February 7, 2014 in South Africa through Indigenous Film Distribution.

Meanwhile, after a two-year hiatus, the Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) has its 15th edition in Harare from December 10 to 14, 2013.

The revival of the festival, which debuted in 1997, follows the establishment of a new board early this year after the disbanding of the previous one in December 2012. 

With “Retrospective” as its theme, the forthcoming edition will showcase films produced since Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980.

Nigel Munyati, one of the founding trustees of the festival, is the acting director of the event.

Film forums, filmmaking workshops and animation showcases are some of the activities planned during the festival’s run. 

Partners include the Zimbabwe-German Society that will assist in hosting MINI-INPUT, part of the International Public Television Screening Conference (INPUT).

South African actor Vusi Kunene (“Kini and Adams”, “Generations”, “Isidingo”) is one of the foreign continental and international film stars attending the festival.

Back in South Africa, Leon Schuster, producer André Scholtz and director Gray Hofmeyr have announced that principal photography on their latest top-secret cinematic outing, “Schuks! Your Country Needs You”, has wrapped.

The candid camera comedy co-stars long-time Schuster collaborator Alfred “Shorty” Ntombela, stage and screen comic Rob van Vuuren as well as newcomer Laré Birk and will show on South African screens from November 29, 2013.

Schuster says he is convinced that “Schuks! Your Country Needs You” will resonate with local viewers.

“I am especially excited to deliver some much-needed laughter to South African audiences. We’re about as culturally diverse as a country can be, but we all share a common sense of humour – and if making people laugh means I need to get ‘klapped’ a few times, it’s worth it!” he comments.

Hofmeyr is the director and co-writer for this eighth Schuster film.

“I am thrilled to be working with Leon and André again. Although audiences are familiar with the laugh-a-minute format of past prank-filled Schuster films, we can guarantee that this one has more, bigger and better pranks than we ever dared pull off before.”

Scholtz, who has worked with Schuster on films such as “You Must Be Joking!”, “Panic Mechanic”, “Sweet ‘n’ Short” and “Oh Schuks…I’m Gatvol”, says Schuster is returning to his roots as South Africa’s foremost prankster and funny guy in this movie.

“Schuks Your Country Needs You” will be distributed by The Walt Disney Company Africa under the Touchstone Pictures banner.

Schuster admits that this movie was his most difficult to execute, as so many people recognised the veteran prankster despite elaborate costumes and convincing accents.

With the added exposure from having a Leon Schuster festival aired by local broadcasters during the movie’s production, tricking fans was somewhat of a challenge.

Says Schuster: “Unless I get new disguises, practise different accents, change my voice to go lower … it’s going to be very difficult to do another candid camera movie.”

Hofmeyer adds: “There is so much candid camera in social media these days that when people find themselves in a strange situation, they do question it.”

Schuster’s films have continuously gained popularity, not only in South Africa but also around the world.

His movies, though not all released on the commercial cinema circuit, have been well-received in countries such as Australia, Zimbabwe, Japan, India and China. 

Schuster credits the success of his movies to his ability to listen to his audience. Says Schuster: “I think I know my audience because I’ve got so much to do with them. I listen to people when I’m at a braai or at the box at Loftus Versveld watching rugby; I listen to what these guys say about the gags they enjoyed the most.

“And I know that this is what the guys want, and I’ve got to give it to them.” 

Van Vuuren, who plays Wayne, Schuster’s son in the film, comments: “What makes these movies so successful is the stakes that are involved and the variables that could go wrong.” 

Shuster comments on casting newcomer Laré Brink: “After we did a gag where she drove in through a gate, Gray and I got together and agreed that Laré has something, she’s very pretty, she got die moer in (very angry).

“We needed a fresh young actress with a spontaneous personality who we believed would be good enough to pull off the pranks and she was perfect for the part.

“Rob was mainly brought in for the sake of me not having to take all the punches and he was very brave, I must say. I take my hat off to him.

“Rob didn’t shy away, he went full balls to the walls. I can’t do what I used to do 30 years ago.”

Both actors said they were honoured to work with Schuster and had learnt a lot while making the film. 

Says Birk: “The most valuable thing to me was the experienced I gained through this film. Working with these legends, for whom I have so much respect, was an amazing experience that I will hold close to my heart.”

“For me it was a wonderful experience from beginning to end. Every prank that you do is so adrenalised, I just look around and think – I’m in a Leon Schuster movie! And each moment is magic,” Van Vuuren adds. Schuster says his next movie will probably be a narrative as this genre enables him to reach a broader audience. – Screen Africa

November 2013
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