Faan Se Trein (2014) Production Notes

Director: Koos Roets
Producer(s): Helena Spring
Main Cast: Willie Esterhuizen, Marius Weyers, Anel Alexander, Cobus Rossouw, Deon Lotz, Nicola Hanekom
Genre: Drama
Release Date: 2014-01-24
Age Rating: 4 L, V, P
Runtime: 115 mins. / 1 h 55 m
Facebook: @faansetrein
X / Twitter: @faansetrein

Faan se Trein is set in the late fifties and deals with a simple middle aged man, in a small Karoo town, who never develops beyond the innocence and simplicity of a young child.  When his father passes away, he leaves all his belongings to be shared amongst Faan and the church.  Greed immediately tears the community apart...  until love brings them to their senses once again.  This is an iconic tale that makes you laugh and cry at the same time

Please note: Some production notes may contain spoilers.

Background And Synopsis

Originally written by Pieter Fourie, FAAN SE TREIN (the stage production), first premiered in 1975 in Cape Town. It was an immediate runaway success and received glowing reviews.

Over the next two years the production played in every theatre and town hall throughout South Africa. More than 300 000 people attended these performances. FAAN SE TREIN became the biggest box office hit in the history of South African theatre.

FAAN SE TREIN became a household name and a national treasure and was firmly established as family entertainment.

Due to popular demand, Faan se Trein was rewritten for the big screen by Koos Roets and filmed in April 2013. Based on a story that captivated theatre audiences for more than 30 years, the film promises to entertain and touch the hearts of all South Africans, young and old, with its universal themes.

Set in the late fifties, Faan se Trein is about a middle aged man in a small Karoo town, who never fully developed beyond the innocence and simplicity of a young boy. When his father passes away leaving all his valuables to be divided between Faan and the church, greed overcomes the community...will love conquer all?

An iconic story that brings a smile to one’s face, even as you wipe away a tear.


Faan - Willie Esterhuizen

Over the past twenty years, Willie Esterhuizen has written and produced more than 400 hours of television (Orkney Snork Nie, Vetkoekpaleis, Molly en Wors and Hester en Ester Bester to name a few) and 8 feature films (Poena is Koning, Vaatjie sien sy gat, Lipstick Dipstick among others). He has received numerous awards for acting, writing and producing.

Although better known for comedy, Willie regards this dramatic and demanding role of Faan as the highlight of his career. He put aside his own projects for 2 months in order to dedicate all his time and efforts to the portrayal of the character. He received the 2013 kykNET Silwerskerm Award for Best Male Actor for his performance in Faan se Trein.

Dr Andre Dippenaar - Deon Lotz

Internationally award winning actor Deon Lotz studied drama in Cape Town before entering a thirteen year career in the Hospitality industry during which he opened and managed various five star hotels in and around Cape Town.

Deon returned to acting in 2001 and has since appeared in a variety of theatre, television, radio and film productions.

In 2008 he received a Fleur du Cap - Best Actor theatre nomination for his performance in Wrestlers at Artscape.

He was nominated in 2012 for a KykNET Fiesta Theatre Award as Best Actor in the play – “Agterplaas”.

2011 was a great year in Film for Deon, with the release of Roepman and the Skoonheid/Beauty premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where it garnered the Queer Palm Award as part of the Uncertain Regarde section of the competition. The film also won an award at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa and Deon won the Best Actor award at the Zurich Film Festival 2011 and the SAFTA Best Actor award in South Africa 2012.

Sleepers Wake Premiered at the Durban International Film Festival and was screened in competition at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012. Flight of the Storks and “Verraaiers” were also released in 2013.

“Faan Se Trein” was part of the Silwerskerm (silver screen) Film Festival in Cape Town during September 2013, where Deon won the Best Supporting Actor Award. He also had a role in Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 7 September 2013.

New film productions due for release include KITE opposite Samuel L Jackson, “Hoe soet is de suiker” a Dutch film, and Black South Easter.

Truia - Anel Alexander

Anel Alexander is known for her roles in two of South Africa’s most popular,

local daily soaps. In 7de Laan, she won the nation’s heart as the shy Liesl and then went on to show her versatility by playing the drug troubled Nina in M-Net’s Binnelanders.

Believing that one must never underestimate the power of hard work, Anel started her professional career whilst still studying Drama at the University of Pretoria. She appeared at the State Theatre in the musicals The Witness and Jesu - An African Portrait and also joined theatre legend Nicholas Ellenbogen on stage at the KKNK in the play The Calitzdorp Passion. She graduated Cum Laude in 2002 and stepped out of varsity onto the books of one of the top agents in SA’s showbiz industry.

Soon she was seen showing off her musical and dancing abilities in the cabaret show Blondes but it wasn’t long before she was snatched up by 7de Laan to play their ‘ugly duckling turns swan beauty’, Liesl. Since then, she’s acted in well known TV shows like, Zero Tolerance 3, Amalia 2, City Ses’la, Hillside, Rhythm City, Getroud met Rugby and the sexy SABC 3 drama The Mating Game. Most recently she starred in the hugely popular Kyknet drama series, Donkerland and is currently part of the lead cast for the new SABC 2 drama series Geraamtes in die Kas.

Anel also starred in the romantic comedy ‘Klein Karoo’.

In September 2013, Anel won the Silwerskerm Award for Best Supporting Actress in Faan se Trein.

Pastor - Marius Weyers

Marius was born in Johannesburg. He is one of South Africa’s most admired, veteran actors.

Marius is known for his roles in various feature films such as The Gods must be Crazy, Bopha (directed by Morgan Freeman), Friends (French Film), Farewell to the King (opposite Nick Nolte), The Power of One, Ghandi, Fourth Reich and The Guest (opposite Athol Fugard) Red Dust, (directed by Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech) Stander, Die Wonderwerker, Nothing for Mahala and Paljas to name a few.

He is also often seen in South African dramas such as Onder draai die duiwel rond, Amalia, Fees van die Ongenooides and Vloeksteen. He has also had guest appearances in international productions like Good and Evil, Golden Girls and Designing Women.

His international theatre productions inlcude Lesson from Aloes (Londen), Report to an Academy (Edinburgh, Jerusalem en Los Angeles), Valley Song (New York), and Sorrows and Rejoicings as well as I. D. in London.

He has received a total of 17 awards. (11 for theatre, 5 for feature films and 1 for television).

Beatrice Dippenaar - Nicola Hanekom

Nicola has a Diploma in Drama and studied at the University of Cape Town.

Highlights in her career include ‘Husk’, a short film, for which she received the Stone Award. In theatre, she received the Vita Award for best supporting actress for ‘Ek, Anna Van Wyk’ and in 2006 she was nominated for a Fleur du Cap for best actress for her performance in Ingrid Jonker in ‘Altyd Jonker’. She has been seen in various television productions such as ‘Plek van die Vleisvreters’, ‘Transito’, ‘Vloeksteen’ as well as the international production ‘Human Cargo’.

Her films include ‘Hond se Dinges’ and ‘Taste of Rain’. Her stage script, ‘Hol’ was short listed in 2008 for the Nagtegaal- prize and has been published. She has also garnered a Fleur du Cap Award and a Standard Bank Golden Ovation award for her performance in the one-woman show ‘Betésda’, which she wrote, produced and directed. She is also the recipient of3 Kanna Awards and 2 Fiësta Awards for her production ‘Lot’. It has also been translated into Spanish as part of Proyecto 34. Her stage play ‘Babbel’ won the ATKV Award for best drama script in 2011 as well as 5 Kanna Awards.

Production Team

Helena Spring - Producer

HELENA SPRING is one of South Africa’s most accomplished producers. With multiple feature film credits to her name she has been responsible for some of South Africa’s top grossing films. She is also the recipient of the 2013 Arts and Culture MBOKODO WOMEN IN ARTS AWARD for her contribution to the South African Film Industry. Her films have won many awards, locally and internationally and include an Independent Spirit Award nomination, a prime time Emmy nomination and an Oscar nomination for Yesterday in the best foreign film category.

Currently Helena has a number of motion pictures in various stages of development including Karoo Boy, based on the evocative award winning novel by Troy Blacklaws, and Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes – winner of the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke award for best Science Fiction novel.

Recent credits include, Mad Buddies – the first South African co-production with The Walt Disney Company, the multi-award winning The First Grader, and the dark urban comedy Jozi.

FAAN SE TREIN is Helena’s most recently completed film, and the project that she is most proud of to date.

Pieter Fourie - Writer

Pieter Fourie is a multi-award winning dramatist, recognized both for his literary excellence as as well as his work in live theatre. This includes the Hertzog prize (2003) and a Doctors Degree at the University of the Free State (2011).

As theatre administrator he distinguished himself as Artistic Director: Drama (1966 to 1981) at KRUIK (Artscape) and was the first Executive Director (1994 to 1998) of the KKNK.

Many of his theatre productions are still box office hits after almost 4 decades and continue to be included in the repertoire of Theatres and Festivals in SA.

He was also Resident Dramatist for 5 years at TRUK and KRUIK respectively.

He wrote the first South African gay drama (The Parents) which premiered in 1982 at THE PEOPLE'S SPACE theatre in Cape Town with Sean Taylor as the lead.

FAAN SE TREIN is his debut (in conjuction with Koos Roets) as screenplay writer.

Koos Roets - Screenplay And Director

Koos started his career in 1962 with Jamie Uys (The Gods must be Crazy). After assisting on a variety of documentaries and feature films he graduated to cinematography, working on international features at SA Film Studios.

At this time SA Film Studios was closely involved with the British film industry and Koos had the opportunity to work and train under top British cameramensuch as Irwin Hillier, Denys Coop and Ray Sturgess.

In 1969 he photographed his first feature, the highly acclaimed “Die Geheim van Nantes”. After photographing more than a dozen features in a short span of time, winning high critical praise from the media, he stepped into directing both for television and the big screen.

His love for visual imagery and lighting has ensured an ongoing involvement with cinematography, together with editing at which he is also adept. , Increasingly, however, Koos has made his mark as a writer/director.

Over a career spanning 5 decades, Koos has Directed some 14 feature films, 21 TV series and 38 documentaries. He has also been the director of photography on a further 30 Feature films and 12 TV series.

Koos has received many nominations and won numerous awards both locally and internationally, including the Kodak Spectrum, Rapport Artes, Star Tonight, SA Academy for Arts & Sciences, Artes, M-Net Vita, ATKV and recently received the SASC award for a “Lifetime of Excellence in the South African Film Industry”.

In September 2013, the kykNet Silwerskerm Fees awarded him the Best Diretor Award for FAAN SE TREIN.

Gillian Pearson - Line Producer

Gill’s initial career was in general business and a perchance meeting introduced her to the world of film, starting on the International TV series Shaka Zulu as a Production Secretary.

This love of film-making has lasted 27 years.

Gill has worked on over 20 features, 6 TV series and more than 80 local and international commercials both in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Namibia.

Gill’s main strengths lie in her organizing skills, humour, problem solving and being able to get on with crew and cast alike, Gill first met up with Helena Spring 19 years ago whilst filming Cry the Beloved Country and they have continued to work together on many other projects since then.

Both ladies complement each other in various ways and this has made for a strong focused team.

Amelia Henning - Cinematographer

Amelia Henning has dedicated her life to the world of visual interpretation. She considers painting a story with light and colour as the most exciting creative adventure she could undertake. Supporting artists in the interpretation of their roles as a story unfolds makes her come alive.

Amelia has worked in camera departments for 20 years, as an operator and assistant to numerous masters of the craft on a variety of projects. The most notable of these was working under the tutelage of Koos Roets as the principal camera operator on Die Wonderwerker.

Koos and Amelia continued their professional relationship which resulted in Amelia’s big screen debut as Director of Photography on FAAN SE TREIN.. Her excellent work on the film garnered her the 2013 kykNet Silwerskerm Award for best cinematography.

Wademar Coetsee - Production Design

Waldemar was born and raised in Johannesburg. In 2005, he completed a Bachelor’s degree in film at AFDA and soon after that, his career took flight.

Initially, Waldemar started out as a buyer and a set dresser, but he soon proved himself a very competent member of the art department and has since established himself as a well-known production designer for feature films.

In 2010, he worked as production designer on the set of Bakgat! and in 2011, he was part of the very talented production team of the critically acclaimed Afrikaans film, Roepman. Other highlights of his career include: Ek Joke Net, Hoofmeisie, Wolwedans in die Skemer and Verraaiers.

Nicholas Costaras - Editor

After acquiring a degree in Computer Science at the University of Pretoria in 1995 and working the corporate world for a few years, Nick decided to follow a career in the creative realm. He started his career as a camera man, and editor for local TV productions in South Africa but soon toured all over the world from Haiti into China filming various documentaries and commercials. Semi-soet, which had great commercial success, was his feature film debut.

Nick has a great understanding of the digital film making process and is part of the new school approach to creating beautiful images in the digital realm.

Nick has been nominated and won a number of awards for his work on City Sesla, the short film Valentown. He received the Best Editor Award at the 2013 kykNet Silwerskerm Awards for Faan se Trein.

Nik Sakellarides - Music Composer (Original Music)

Composer Nik Sakellarides studied sound engineering before finding his way into the broadcast industry and music composition. He has scored countless commercial jingles and defining Channel themes, many of which have stood the test of time for 20 years or more.

In 1994 Nik relocated to the USA where he composed jingles for Coca Cola commercials and created the theme for CNN’s World Beat – a weekly world music program. He devoted 5 further years to studying music and score in Hollywood where he defined his own specific hybrid sound by combining traditional orchestral music with a strong digital electronic and sample-based palette.

Since his return to South Africa in 2004, he has produced a bouquet of compositions for television as well as the score for Hansel and Gretel – The Ballet.

Nik’s work is characterized by his gift for melody and the creation of emotional sub-text. He relished the opportunity of composing the score for Faan se Trein and regards it as a dream opportunity and an undoubted career highlight.