A journey of hope

2010-09-04 00:00

HOPEVILLE, the uplifting story of Amos Manyani, a recovering alcoholic who moves to a run-down rural town in the hope of etching out a new life with his alienated son Themba, opened in South African cinemas this weekend.

“Amos’s story is one of a man trying to put his life together and win his son back. It’s a journey that will touch a lot of people, as we see somebody trying to put things right,” says Themba Ndaba, who plays the lead.

In the face of a corrupt municipality, dark community secrets and apparent apathy, Amos finds meaning in his mission to restore the derelict public swimming pool. This is largely a tender bid to also restore the damaged relationship with his son Themba, played by Junior Singo, an upcoming swimming star deeply unhappy that he now has to stay with his estranged father after his mother’s untimely death.

Amos’s “service” is initially met with skepticism from both Themba and the community, and frustrating resistance from the authorities, but eventually his perseverance inspires the community of Hopeville to finally act on their convictions.

“All of us have a place that we can fix within ourselves, our families or our communities. That little bit that you can do, do it. It doesn’t matter how small. Do something to make a difference,” says Ndaba.

The cast includes Desmond Dube, Terry Pheto, Fana Mokoena and Leleti Khumalo.

Hopeville — inspired by the TV series of the same name, seen on SABC2 in 2009 and SABC1 this year — was filmed in Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga after art director, Karel Flint, visited over 70 small towns throughout SA in search of the perfect location. The film is directed by John Trengove, who also helped pen the script.

The television series has been nominated in the category of drama and mini-series for the prestigious Rose d’Or global television festival awards, one of the most important annual events in the international television industry. The winners will be announced in Lucerne, Switzerland in September.


• Hopeville can be seen at cinemas in Durban.


• To view the movie trailer click on the following link:



THREE years ago, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) asked for young film-makers to submit short film scripts. These films were allowed to be in any genre but had to be in an indigenous language or be written and directed by women.

Hundreds of entries were received from which 16 films were selected for development with the intention that the best eight would go into production. In the end, only four films were selected and only three were produced — the award-winningFather Christmas Doesn’t Come Here ; If Only You Knew ; and Superhero .

In Bhekumuzi Sgweje Sibiya’s Father Christmas Doesn’t Come Here, a naive young girl with low self-esteem almost has her dream ruined by a cynical man. The film scooped best narrative for short film at the Tribeca Film Festival

If You Only Knew, by Lev David and Clare Cassidy, tells the story of a timid young lady who is afraid to hurt people’s feelings and, as a result, is missing the freedom she so craves.

Hanneke Schutte’s Superherotells the tale of a white amnesiac, who finds himself stranded in the middle of an arid landscape dressed as a superhero. He’s assisted and spurred on by a young black boy who wholeheartedly believes that he is a superhero.

All three films can now be seen on a single DVD, which is available through the NFVF. For more details log on to www.nfvf.co.za/short-film-contest-winners-dvd or e-mail Thandekile Sishange at thandekiles@nfvf.co.za

OLIVER Schmitz’s Life Above All , which was named this year’s best South African feature film at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), will be released for one week only in Johannesburg, ahead of a nationwide release early next year.

Based on Allan Stratton’s best selling novel, Chanda’s Secret, the film tells the story of a a bright, hardworking young girl (played by 13-year-old Khomotso Manyaka), who fights the fear and shame that have poisoned her community. The film captures the enduring strength of loyalty and courage.

The international DIFF jury, which included producers Aihara Hiromi (Japan) and Christoph Thoke (Germany) and South African academic, writer and producer Bhekizizwe Peterson, described her performance as “natural and touching”.

Life Above All , which received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival in France earlier this year, will be screened at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival. The film stars Manyaka, Harriet Lenabe, Lerato Mvelase, Audrey Poole and Tinah Mnumzana, and can be seen until September 9 at Nu Metro Hydepark.


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