South African Film “Layla Fourie“ Wins Recognition At Berlinale

The new feature film by Berlin-based, South African filmmaker, Pia Marais, which played in Main Competition at the recent Berlinale International Film Festival, won a JURY SPECIAL MENTION AWARD at the Awards Ceremony last Saturday night, 16th February.

This multi-country co-production, led by prolific German producer, Pandora Film Produktion, is co-produced by Dv8 Films and Spier Films of South Africa.

Jeremy Nathan of Dv8 said of the award for the film, “This is wonderful recognition for the film and the team. It was great just being in Main Competition, and we hope the award will help promote the film“.

Layla Fourie

Mike Auret of Spier Films says:
“It is wonderful news that such a unique South African story has been recognised at the highest level and we congratulate Pia Marais, Pandora and particularly Dv8 for their excellent work in achieving this. Spier Films was happy to play its role in the making of this film and delighted that it could be part of another film to win honours at this prestigious festival”.

Layla Fourie

After her first two award-winning features The Unpolished (Die Unerzogenen) and At Ellen’s Age (Im Alter von Ellen) , director Pia Marais has now turned to the genre of the classic suspense thriller for her third film, Layla Fourie, which sees her returning to South Africa, the place of her childhood.

Layla Fourie

The story centres on the title figure, the polygraphist Layla Fourie, who is given the opportunity of proper employment in a company specialising in lie-detection and security. As a single mother, Layla is forced to take her son Kane with her on the trip. However, as they head into the country and what Layla hopes will be the beginning of a real life, an accident occurs which will radically change their lives. A web of lies and deception become firmly wrapped around the young mother and her son and, as their trust is put to the test, it is perhaps just a matter of time before the truth will tear them apart…

Layla Fourie is set in South Africa, a country that has gone through a complete upheaval“. Marais explains. “Firstly, it is a film about a young single mother and her son. Yet their relationship and how it evolves throughout the story reflects a certain atmosphere that prevails in this country. One of hope and yet shadowed by distrust.“

“We shot the film in more rural parts of South Africa, north of Durban and in Johannesburg, a very cinematic city,“ Marais adds about shooting in her home country. „Obviously, South Africa went through a major change since my childhood there, so, for me, it is also a rediscovery“.

Layla Fourie features South African actors Terry Norton, Rapulana Seiphemo and is a debut for the young 9 year old Rapule Hendricks. It also stars August Diehl, who starred in SALT and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.

The film was produced with the support of the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC).

Layla Fourie will be released in South Africa in July 2013.


South African And German Artists Read Between The Lines

Michaelis Galleries in partnership with the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) presents the exhibition Between the Lines, featuring artwork by German and South African art students, from 1 to 20 March 2013.

Forging a dialogue in the exploration ofthe potentialofa< /span>rt for radical mediation, Between the Lines is a meeting point between German and South African art students. The works are chosen by Candice Breitz and Nadja Daehnke, featuring 10 students each from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste and from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. The exhibition opens on Friday 1 March at 18:00, and will run until Wednesday 20 March.

Probing cross-cultural communication and the capacity of art to function as a tool of social translation; Between the Lines includes paintings, photography, installations, video-work and performances by Fine Art and Art Theory students – those in their third and fourth year of study, as well as students from current Masters programmes.

“When two cultures encounter one another, tools of translation are essential in the building of a sustainable relationship. In terms of striving towards a greater mutual understanding of the specific pasts, presents and futures of Germany and South Africa; contemporary artists can offer a range of translation strategies. What tools might be used to translate German experience into South African experience or vice versa?” comments Michaelis Galleries Curator Nadja Daehnke.

The Between the Lines exhibition is part of a wider exchange project, which includes two high profile public conferences at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (25 to 28 February 2013) and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig respectively. These will explore ideas and strategies relevant to the role of art in translating experience and creating mutual understanding across international borders. For more information, please visit

The Between the Lines exhibition will open on Friday 1 March at 18:00 and close on Wednesday 20 March 2013. A public walkabout will take place on Tuesday 5 March from 13:00 – 14:00. For more information, please contact Nadja Daehnke on 021 480 7170, 0823165272 or Michaelis Galleries are on the University of Cape Town’s Hiddingh Campus, 31-37 Orange Street, Cape Town. Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:00 to 16:00, Saturday 10:00 to 13:00, or by appointment.


Writing Studio Workshops

The ABC of Writing A Screenplay

Turn fantastic ideas into big screen spectacle!  Calling all storytellers who would like to write for a visual medium, this motivational and inspirational workshop explores the art of visual narrative and the fundamentals of successful storytelling.  The workshop takes place at the studio in Green Point, Cape Town, on four Saturday afternoons from 2pm until 5pm on March 2, 9, 16 and April 6. Only 5 spaces are available for this uniquely interactive workshop, so it is advisable to register in advance. Read more about the workshop and how to register:
or email

The Writing Studio will present a unique workshop for aspiring Xhosa
. It will on at The Writing Studio on Saturday mornings from
10am until 1pm on April 6, 13, 20 and May 4. Read more:

The Write Agency

The Writing Studio’s exclusive agency for writers is developing screenplays, manuscripts and stories, turning words into action and uniting storytellers and storymakers. Writers who are looking for representation or producers looking for original and unique stories from South African writers can email or visit


Gritty Comedy-Drama, BENCH Runs At Alexander Theatre

Popular writer, actor and comedian, Brent Palmer, presents his latest play, Bench, at Alexander Theatre from 13th to the 16th of March 2013.

Inspired by the story of two small time crooks, Bench is a gritty, compelling comedy-drama that examines a day in the life of two hustlers.  Brent also performs in the production alongside acclaimed actor Adrian Collins, and the show, which enjoyed a successful reading at the Baxter Theatre earlier this year, is directed by Michael Kirch.

Bench tells the story of two local petty thieves, Hendry and Dwain, who are sat on a park bench, about to embark on their most daring job to date. This is the job they believe is going to change their lives and make them wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. When one of them gets a crisis of conscience and begins to question the job, the planning takes an interesting turn with surprising and unexpected results.

Brent Palmer’s inspiration:

“I was inspired by the story of two small time crooks, and curious about what motivated them,” says Brent. “I wondered, what would these two hustlers speak about? What makes them laugh or cry? I was interested in their humanity; not just in our views of them as crooks.  I wanted to peel back the layers to reveal two absorbing characters, who, despite what they do, are able to hold up the mirror to all of us and reflect some of our own humanity; our aspirations and our disappointments. Of course, with a healthy dose of comedy thrown in!”


Adrian Collins:

Adrian Collins’ extensive theatre work includes Hamlet, directed by Janet Suzman at the Baxter and Swan theatre in Stratford upon Avon, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Birthday Party, for which he received a Fleur de Cap nomination.  Adrian is a member of The Mechanicals theatre collective and most recently played the role of Edmund in King Lear.

Michael Kirch:

Michael Kirch holds a Masters degree in directing from UCT.   Credits include directing a production of The Wizard of Oz for an all-Japanese audience, when, since English is not widely spoken there, the script was reduced to an absolute minimum, and Toto the dog became a Japanese speaking narrator who cleverly linked the show from one song to another. The Japanese national broadcaster NHK was so impressed they filmed the production and gave each of the cast members a video copy to take home.

Other projects include an adaptation of Dario Fo’s One was Nude and One wore Tails, called Nude/Tails.  Michael again took on a challenge and translated the play from its original Italian context and localised it in a contemporary South African political and cultural setting.  At this point he realised that he had a knack for the politics of comedy, as well as the comedy of politics, and has since worked with various Cape Town comedians to develop their shows.

Brent Palmer:

Brent Palmer is a London trained actor who has enjoyed an illustrious career locally and internationally in theatre, film, TV and stand-up comedy.  He has performed on stage in numerous Shakespearean and modern productions, while his international film credits include, The Flood, The Triangle and Mercenary for Justice with Steven Seagal and Leon Shuster’s Shucks Tshabalala.  Brent performs regularly as a stand-up comedian, and has also written and performed two one-man comedy shows, Credit Crunch and Corner Hope & Vrede. He has directed all of Nik Rabinowitz’ comedy shows over the past seven years, including “Stand and Deliver”. Brent has most recently directed award winning comedian Siv Ngesi in his hit show “Race Card” which can be seen at the Baxter in October.

To meet Brent’s character Hendry, visit,

Here is what the press had to say:

Cape Argus ‘Funny and surprisingly poignant,  four stars’

Cape Times “Palmer is a joy to watch, while Collins brings an almost visceral energy to his performance. Bench is a worthwhile contribution to local theatre. It is stimulating and, at the same time, entertaining.”

Die Burger – Die interaksie tussen die twee sorg vir puik komedie

Encore online ‘an emotional and clever journey between comedic and serious moments; a must see’

Broadway World  ‘a script that is stand-up sharp’

The Next 48hours – ‘It’s that great  combination of strong script, spot-on acting and sound direction – the type of all-round winner that you always hope to stumble across’

Sunday Independent – ‘One of the most unique and funny theatre offerings Cape Town audiences will experience this year’

Megans Head  ‘the characters are absolutely classic….absolutely kak funny.’

Writing Studio   ‘…superb….hilarous…Invest time and effort to see Bench. The reward is great. It will be a sinful crime to miss this fresh and entertaining production that makes going to the theatre a pleasure and also serves as a reminder of how great is it to be on the other side of the bench. ’

Monday Missile ‘one of the best performances of the 2012 season to date’


Bench will be performed from Wednesday the 13th through to Saturday the 16th. Performances start at 7pm.


To book visit:

Or call: 021 300 1652


International Release For South African Feature Film Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People

The locally produced feature film Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People is set for a worldwide release in March through Sony Pictures International. The film will be releases in Canada on 11th March followed by theatrical releases in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the Benelux countries on 18th March.  It will also be available on DVD and VOD.

Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People is based on true life events of three individuals who experienced the life-changing effects of Angus Buchan’s ministry. The film was produced by Johannesburg-based F.C. Hamman Films and Spotlight Entertainment. The film was released in South Africa in 2012 and was well received by cinema audiences. Director F.C. Hamman attributes the success of the film to the universal nature of the story and the search for enlightenment and spiritual fulfilment.  “The film deals with the very real impact that the ministry of Angus Buchan has had on the lives of the three people depicted in the film.  They are stories that uplift and inspire” says Hamman.

The filmmakers were determined that the film should be able to travel and hoped to take it to an international audience.  Following its theatrical release Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People had a very successful DVD release with over 50 000 units being sold. It also topped the DVD best seller lists for some time.

The international release was made possible by Ster Kinekor Entertainment’s CEO Mario dos Santos who sent the film’s trailer to executives at Sony Pictures International in Los Angeles. “This opened the door for me to talk to Rich Peluso of Sony Pictures International Acquisitions who liked the film and offered us an international deal,” comments dos Santos. “Hopefully this will open the door for other local productions. It also demonstrates that by finding our own style and telling our own stories we can create films that will travel”.