South Africans make mark in Toronto

2014-09-07 15:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

David Kau never saw himself as a film maker, but attending his second international film festival in six months means he’s been wearing the title a little more often lately.

The comedian was part of a delegation of South Africans attending the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) – one of the world’s premier film events that takes place before Oscar season kicks off.

South Africa may only have one feature film in official selection – Jyoti Mistry’s Impunity – but Kau was part of a group of almost 30 other South Africans attending the market portion of the fest, looking to partner with distributors and financiers.

Kau is in Toronto as part of the Association of Transformation in Film and Television, a group sponsored by the department of trade and industry, to boost the local film industry on a global level.

“It feels so strange to be overseas and not hearing people speak French,” joked Kau. “The last three film festivals I’ve been to have been Cannes so I’m used to hearing French when I’m outside South Africa.”

Kau, who secured an international deal at the Cannes Film Festival in May, for a superhero movie, is at Tiff to garner interest in his next projects.

“Teboho Mahlatsi is still busy writing the superhero movie, Sekwankwetla, but I’ve also got a film called The Dodgy Promoter, which I’m trying to get out there. It’s about a promoter who books Skwatta Kamp for a fake gig in KZN.”

Kau has applied for funding to the newly formed KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission to take advantage of the province’s desire to become more involved in the local film industry, which has grown to service a number of top international productions.

But whether or not he finds international distribution or local funding, Kau said he’s still very much a comedian.

“I love making people laugh?...?It’s all about that.”

He insisted he was not doing what his fellow comedian Trevor Noah did and trying to make a name for himself in the North American market.

“I stopped trying to prove anything in my career. After I got married and had kids, I realised nothing else really matters. I want to make sure my family is happy, and also that what I do is not dependent on other people.

So if I don’t get financing for my new projects, I’ll keep making my low-budget films and putting them on YouTube or wherever else I can online,” he said.

Meanwhile, fellow South African Shannon Kook-Chunmade a name for himself by making people scared.

The Joburg-born actor who’s been living in Toronto for more than a decade, was named as one of Tiff’s rising stars following his role in the surprise horror hit, The Conjuring.

Kook has been steadily building his career in Canadian film and TV shows like Degrassi: The Next Generation.

He was noticed by Hollywood A-lister Charlize Theron, who helped produce Dark Places, based on the bestselling novel by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn.

“She actually had the final say on whether I got the part or not,” he said. “The director told me he loved my audition, but they had to go through this whole process, and I was waiting for six weeks to find out if I got it. The last approval they needed was from Charlize. She had the final say.”

Kook said he had hoped the film would be at Tiff this year, but it’s been pushed back.

His Tiff accolade “helped a lot” because of the respect paid to the festival.

“As an actor, you deal with a lot of nos – I’ve been the final two for so many roles so many times – but here you have the backing of people who believe in you.”

Kook, who tends bar between auditions, knows the hustle it takes to get a big break. “All it takes is one role to change everything,” he said. “I was with Nina Dobrev when she booked The Vampire Diaries.

“It just shows how one role can completely change everything so fast.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.