Vibrant 50’s Afrikaans Musical Film Hits Local Cinema Screens 23 Nov

‘Pretville’, the brand new Afrikaans musical film from Hartiwood Films, opens in cinemas nationwide on 23 November 2012. The film is a rollicking romantic musical comedy set in the 50s, in a vibrant and colourful town where anything can happen and fun is the order of the day.

This is the second musical from the talented filmmaking team behind the 2010 blockbuster ‘Liefling, Die Movie’, the best-performing Afrikaans feature film of all time, and brings together once more the vision and skills of producers Paul Kruger and Emma Kruger, and co-producer and director Linda Korsten.

Also on board is the internationally acclaimed composer and songwriter Machiel Roets who has composed more than 30 brand new Afrikaans songs for the film. Roets has worked as musical director on pantomimes and musicals in London for more than 12 years.

“‘Pretville’ captures the spirit of the 50s through music, dance and colour,” says director Linda Korsten. “It’s a feel-good movie filled with recognisable characters and wacky personalities.”

Featuring 50s music from rock ‘n roll to doo-wop, the film pays homage to an era characterised by charm and romance. “In the tradition of ‘Grease’ and ‘Hairspray’, it’s madly colourful and stylish,” says Korsten. It features sumptuous costumes, with a wardrobe never before seen in a local movie. Because it’s set in the 50s, audiences will also be able to feast their eyes on a gorgeous collection of classic vintage cars too.”

The extravagant set was built from scratch at Hartbeespoort and encompasses a town hall, diner, hair salon, garage, funeral parlour and other distinctive small town features. Producer Paul Kruger scouted everywhere for a suitable location which still had lots of buildings from the 50s, but could not find anything that worked. “I chatted to my sister, who is an architect, and she suggested we just build the town ourselves,” he says. “She showed me the plans an d we went ahead. We began the project in April 2011, and it took me, seven builders and five assistants about a year to construct it.

In the lead are Marlee van der Merwe (Liefling, Die Movie), newcomer Eugene Jensen and Marno van der Merwe (Longshot). Also starring in the film is Terence Bridgett as the flamboyant hairdresser and mayor of ‘‘Pretville’’. Other well known stars appearing in the film include Annette Engelbrecht, Lizz Meiring, Steve Hofmeyr, Rina Nienaber, Emo Adams, Margit Meyer-Rodenbeck, Willem Botha, Sanet Ackerman, Kevin Leo and Jakkie Louw, as well as a line-up of fresh, young talent.

“Machiel, Linda and I all had a few people in mind for the cast, but the process was very organic,” says Kruger. “As the story developed, so we thought of people who could play the part for example, Emo Adams and Margit Meyer-Rodenbeck as the ‘Pretville’ police officers and Kevin Leo and Jakkie Louw as the jail wardens. And who better to play the prisoners that Kobus Wiese and Jimmy Abbott? Terence Bridgett as the hairdresser and mayor was also a shoe-in. The casting was spot on.”

‘Pretville’ will be distributed by Indigenous Film Distribution. “The attendance figures show that South African audiences are loving the top quality Afrikaans films that have been produced in the last two years,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution. “It’s exciting to see the progress being made in driving quality and excellent production values while also creating great South African entertainment.”

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Pretville in cinema 23 November

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NHU Africa’s Saving Rhino Phila wins Panda Award

NHU Africa’s production, Saving Rhino Phila has won a prestigious Panda Award for best film in the Nature Conservancy Environment and Conservation category at the Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol, UK. The Wildscreen festival is the longest standing and most respected wildlife film festival in the world, drawing top names from broadcasters like Animal Planet, Discovery and National Geographic. The film was commissioned by NHU Africa and produced by Triosphere and directed by Richard Slater-Jones.

The film was steered from conception to completion by NHU Africa’s commissioning editor and creative director Vyv Simson, who had this to say about last night’s accomplishment; “Winning a Panda Award at Wildscreen is about as good as it gets in this business. I’m so pleased and so proud of everyone who has worked so hard. This award has placed the whole of the South African wildlife film making industry centre stage.”

Oloff Bergh, producer from Triosphere was also extremely pleased to receive the award, and explained initial motivation for the film; “As a team of passionate wildlife filmmakers and conservationists, we were desperate to bring the world’s attention to the mass slaughter of South Africa’s rhinos. But, we had to create a concept which would appeal to international audiences. Just another news piece about “the war on rhinos” was not going to have an impact. Phila’s tragic ordeal presented the ideal opportunity to tell one rhino’s story in a personalized yet compelling and informative way. Winning the Panda award for Saving Rhino Phila not only gives deserved recognition to the highly talented, committed and passionate team that produced the film – but it accentuates the original objective of drawing the world’s attention to the plight of rhinos in South Africa.”

Saving Rhino Phila is a 52 minute documentary that tells the harrowing tale of Phila, who survived being shot nine times on two separate occasions in attempts to kill her for her horn. It is a powerful story that identifies the individual struggles of both owners and rhinos in the ongoing battle to keep the species from falling prey to the persistent and brutal attacks by poachers. Saving Rhino Phila set out to educate people about this through the use of dramatic recreations and the compelling struggle for survival against the odds by heroine Phila. According to director Slater-Jones, the film is meant to “hit the audience between the eyes” and hopefully stem the tide of demand for rhino horn on an international level.

Saving Rhino Phila is available for purchase on Kalahari.com

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