Dust (2020) Production Notes

Director: Pieter Du Plessis
Writer(s): Pieter Du Plessis
Producer(s): Greig Buckle, Anant Singh
Main Cast: Shana Mans, Michelle Bradshaw, Kaz McFadden, Gustav Gerdener, Danielle Goodall, Deon Coetzee, Justin Strydom, Christian Gous, David Butler
Release Date: 2020-10-09
Runtime: 93 mins. / 1 h 33 m
Release Status: Complete

When Rachel (Shana Mans) and her traumatised family find asylum at a remote farmstead in a barren landscape, she believes that they have found a place to rest before moving on again, until the matriarch of the farm asks her to marry one of her sons. This sets off a cascade of clashing allegiances and ideologies that becomes more and more constricting to the young woman, her disabled father and adopted little brother. Dust is a slow burning tension thriller set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Please note: Some production notes may contain spoilers.


Rachel (Shana Mans), her father David (David Butler), and adopted brother Isaac (Christian Gous), flee an attack on their home that leaves David disabled, and everyone traumatised. When they arrive at Janice’s (Michelle Bradshaw) farm, they are welcomed in and given asylum. While David convalesces, Janice asks Rachel to marry her youngest son, Caleb (Kaz McFadden).

With the offer of marriage looming over her, she learns of hidden tensions within the family, slowly illuminating cracks in the happy facade Janice seems intent on living. Rachel is determined to go North, where rumours tell of a land less blighted than the one they live in.

David regains consciousness, but he struggles with survivors’ guilt, feeling responsible for the death of Rachel’s mother. When Rachel tells him about Janice’s offer, he entertains the idea of staying and becoming family. With the pressures to stay mounting, Rachel must decide how to deal with the growing tension around her, while maintaining her autonomy in the face of everyone’s expectations off her.

As the relationships grow deeper, the stalemate between leaving and staying becomes more and more untenable.


Pieter du Plessis – Director/Writer

Pieter du Plessis is a filmmaker from Johannesburg, South Africa. From an early age, Pieter learned the ins-and-outs of storytelling from his grandfather, legendary Afrikaans writer PG du Plessis. He obtained a degree in journalism, discovered a love for philosophy, and decided to become a filmmaker. Towards this end, he worked on television series and feature films for more than a decade, honing his craft and knowledge of all the different aspect of filmmaking.

He is the writer/director of Arts , a 24-minute short film made for kykNET’s Silwerskerm Film Festival.

The Furnace , his first produced feature film screenplay (which he co-wrote with director Darrell Roodt who directed the Academy Award®-nominated Yesterday ), was nominated for Best Foreign Screenplay at the 2019 Madrid International Film Festival.

Anant Singh – Producer

Anant Singh, recognised as South Africa’s preeminent film producer, has produced more than 80 films, including the Academy Award® nominated films: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Yesterday and other notable films, The First Grader; Red Dust; Cry, The Beloved Country; Sarafina!; Remember; Shepherds and Butchers and The Song of Names . He is President of Distant Horizon, Chief Executive and chairman of the Videovision Group of Companies; Chairman of Cape Town Film Studios; Member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Lifetime Achievement Golden Horn Award at the inaugural South African Film and Television Awards, and the first Simon Mabhunu Sabela Lifetime Achievement Award from the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission; inaugural Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award of the RapidLion Film Festival; the Crystal Award of the World Economic Forum; Lifetime Member Award from the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund; Palm Beach Film Festival’s World Visionary Award and was the first man to receive the International Women’s Forum Legacy Award. He has been conferred with Honorary Doctorates from the University of Port Elizabeth; University of Durban-Westville, the Durban University of Technology and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Greig Buckle – Producer

Greig Buckle is the owner and director of Enigma Pictures. Since the start of his career in the entertainment industry more than 30 years ago, Greig has earned recognition as one of South Africa’s most results-driven producers in the delivery of both local and international productions.

It was through working on South Africa’s first-ever Daily Soap, “Egoli”, that Greig acquired a solid foundation that set him up for his future as one of the country’s most skilled film executives in finance and project management.

Greig rises to most challenges and was involved in the production of Promised Land , the first ever high-definition feature film to be shot in South Africa, and only the 6th in the world and is the go-to person in South Africa for series pilots.

His line producer credits include Nicholas Cage’s Lord of War , Starship Troopers 3: Marauders, Natalee Holloway, Mister Bob , Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left , Flight of the Storks , Restless , Twentieth Century Fox’s Chronicle , the “Dominion” pilot for NBC Universal, which went to two seasons and most recently The Scorpion King: Book of Souls for Universal Pictures. Greig has also been credited as production manager on Warner Bros. Mad Max: Fury Road directed by George Miller.

He facilitated and produced Thula , An Elephant’s Journey , Shepherds and Butchers , Back to School Mom, Kite with Samuel L. Jackson, Luke Goss’ Charlie , Patrick Swayze in the Hallmark Channels version of King Solomon’s Mines , Against the Wild 2 , Global Effect, Save Angel Hope, The Seven of Daran and the multi-award winning Life Above All - which went on to garner the Prix Francois Chalais award in Cannes Uncertain Regard, and Best South African Feature Film at the Durban International Film Festival – in 2010. At the time it garnered a record-breaking seven SAFTA award nominations including Best Feature Film, which it won, and was presented as South Africa’s official film in the Foreign Language category of the Academy Awards®.

Short film producing credits include Instance, Protect the Nation and Heart and Soul , which was one of only two projects selected from over 75 submissions in M-Net’s New Directions Program.

Brian Cox – Executive Producer

Brian Cox is a writer/producer/director. As writer/director, his credits include The Obit Writer with Norman Mailer which premiered at Venice, Scorpion Spring with Matthew McConaughey which premiered at Sundance, Keepin’ It Real, and El Muerto. As a writer/producer, credits include Kite starring Samuel L. Jackon, Don’t Look Up, Tao of the Golden Mask , and AmericanEast. As a producer, among his credits are Tsui Hark’s Zu Warriors , Pulse , Chain of Desire, Terminal Bliss, the MTV release of Volcano High with Snoop Dogg, Wu Lin Warriors for Cartoon Network, Cairo Exit , Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Atom Egoyan’s Remember, Un Padre No Tan Padre, Serpent, Museo, Clara and Through Black Spruce . Brian was a fellow of both the Film Independent’s “No Borders” script development program and the Film Independent Screenwriter’s Lab and a member of the Writers Guild of America.

Thomas Revington – Director of Photography

Wherever Thomas goes, a camera goes. It is, after all, his lifelong passion for photography that led him to discover and study the wonderful world of Film and Television at Wits for four years, where he learnt the art of combining images and storytelling.

As a member of the South African band Shortstraw, Thomas has found himself shooting many music videos for other South African artists.

Passionate about the industry, image making is hardwired into Thomas. He loves the teamwork and collaborative effort that goes into film making, and gets excited about the different ways in which ideas are brought to life. Dust marks his first feature film debut as cinematographer.

Leon Gerber – Editor

Leon Gerber is a South African film editor and post production coordinator. He is best known for editing Trouvoete , Mignon Mossie Van Wyk , Siembamba , and Skorokorro and The Furnace for Darrell Roodt. As well as editing several commercials and TV series, he also edited the Showmax hit, “The Girl From St. Agnus”.

Lelanie Pieters – Production Designer

Multi-talented Lelanie Pieters worked on numerous TV commercials as an art director, for wellknown South African brands including OUTsurance, Vodacom, Klipdrift, Wimpy, Nando’s and MacDonald’s to name but a few.

Dust is her first feature film as production designer.

Andrew Phiri – Costume Designer

Andrew Phiri started his career as costume designer in 2009, right after matriculating in Botswana, on the internationally acclaimed BBC series, “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” with Jill Scott, under the watchful eye of costume designer, Jo Katsaras as her trainee.

His breakthrough came when he worked as costume designer on the TV series, “Room 9” with director Darrell Roodt, for which he was nominated for a SAFTA as Best Costume Designer. He also worked on Roodt’s Little One, which was South Africa’s official submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 85th Academy Awards® in 2013. He was again nominated for a SAFTA in 2017 for the BBC TV series, “Broken”.


Shana Mans – ‘Rachel’

Young and upcoming Cape Town based actress Shana Mans plays the leading role of Rachel in her first feature film debut, Dust. She appeared in director Julian Jarrolds’ The Girl and can also be seen in next year’s Kissing Booth 2 for Netflix.

Her television credits include “What Lies Beneath” and “Suidooster” for kykNet.

David Butler – ‘David’

David Butler is a South African actor best known to international audiences for his role as Art in the television drama series “Life is Wild”. He played the same role in the pilot episode of the original British version of the show, called “Wild at Heart”. Butler is better known to South African audiences for his roles in the television series “Generations”, “Shado's”, “Snitch” and “Binnelanders”.

Internationally David has worked with various American and British television directors on projects such as “Black Sails”, “Cape Town”, “Kings & Prophets”, “Madiba” and most recently the series written by Bruce Lee called “Warrior” to name a few.

He has also acted in numerous feature films, including Cop Land, Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target, Circles in a Forest, Gums and Noses and Zulu Love Letter . Most notably David has stared in Long Walk to Freedom, Game Changer, Breathe, Maze Runner, and The Forgiven.

Michelle Bradshaw – ‘Janice’

Michelle Bradshaw is a South African actress and voice artist and is best known for her role as Lindsay Barnes, in the M-Net television series, “The Wild”. She has appeared in numerous local television series including “Isibaya”, “Isidingo”, “Generations” and “Binnelanders” as well as the British comedy series “Beaver Falls” and the American series “Crusoe”.

Michelle was the “station voice” and a radio presenter on Jacaranda FM for over a decade and has also featured in and voiced hundreds of commercials through the years. She was recently seen as the tyrant Cheryl Banks on the local Mzanzi drama “Isithembiso”.

Her theatre work includes “Sleeping Around”, “Same old Story” and “Selle ou Storie” where she starred in both with Pieter Dirk Uys.

Michelle studied an N Dip Drama at Pretoria Technicon and went on to complete her licentiate teachers diploma through the Trinity College of London.

Kaz McFadden – ‘Caleb’

Kaz McFadden was born in Pretoria, South Africa. After matriculating at HTS John Vorster, he enrolled at the Performing Arts Lifestyle Institute (PALI). After completing his third year at PALI in 2006, he made his debut on the local television series “Binnelanders”.

In 2007 he completed his fourth year at PALI as well as accepting a permanent role on the kykNET series “Villa Rosa”. Since then he has appeared in other television series such as “Egoli”, “7de Laan”, “Die uwe Pottie Potgieter”, “Koos Roets”, “Pantjieswinkel stories”, “Getroud met Rugby”, “Erfsondes” and “Ouboet en Wors”. His theatre productions include “Paulus”, “Noises Off”, “Vaselinetjie”, “Somewhere on the Border”, “Die Vrou uit die See” and “Baba met die Badwater”.

His film credits include ’n Pawpaw vir my Darling , Angus Bachun’s Ordinary People , Katinka Heyns’ “Die Wonderwerker , Knysna , Strikdas , and Kampterrein . In 2016 Kaz made his debut as producer when he joined Lara Lourens in producing the short film Koue Voete for kykNET’s Silwerskerm Film Festival.

In 2016 Kaz was appointed as Director of Operations for the Performing Arts Lifestyle Institute and in 2018 was appointed as Managing Director of this Performing Arts incubator while functioning as co-owner and Creative Director of Third Law Productions.

Gustav Gerdener – ‘Obel’

Gustav Gerdener is a classically trained theatre actor with more than 15 years of experience in the film, television and theatre industry. He has been nominated for various theatre and television awards throughout his careers, receiving critical acclaim for many of his performances.

He has made his mark oversees starring in various international series and films. His film credits include House on Willow Street , Bram Fisher and In the Outback . Television credits include “Outlander”, “Warrior” and “Madiba”. Local television and films include The Last Victims, Modder en Bloed , “Donkerland” and “Swartwater” among others.

Gustav Gerdener is also a skilled director and is currently looking to further his career in this discipline.

Danielle Goodall – ‘Elma’

Theatre trained Danielle Goodall is making her feature film debut in Dust as the emotionally conflicted, Elma. Her theatre credits include “The House of the Four Temperaments”, “The Red Light Canteen”, “The Skriker”, “Tangaroa”and “The House Of Bernarda Alba”. She also appeared in the local television series “7de Laan”.

Deon Coetzee – ‘Lemmy’

Deon Coetzee is a South African actor and was a provincial rugby player in his younger years before becoming an actor. His first major role was in the television series, “Skooldae” in 1980. From there he appeared in numerous Afrikaans television series including “Die Rooi Komplot”, “Agter Elke Man”, “Egoli” and “7de Laan”.

His film credits include Boetie gaan border toe , Swansong for Charlie , Bakgat! , Stilte , Die Ballade van Robbie de Wee and Bram Fisher . He can also be seen in The Last Victims alongside Gustav Gerdener.

Justin Strydom – ‘Shane’

Justin Strydom has been in the film and entertainment industry for over 25 years and is probably most recognised as a SAFTA award winning actor in South African daily dramas like “Isidingo”, “Generations”, “7de Laan”, “Binnelanders” and “High Rollers”. His love for factual crime narratives started with “Innocent Times”, which was deeply inspired by the Charmaine Phillips and Pieter Grundlingh story. He also appeared in the internationally acclaimed film District 9 for director Neill Blomkamp. Other film credits include Stander , Winnie Mandela , Stealing Time , Impunity , Assignment and State Enemy No. 1.

He is currently in story development for “Binnelanders”, as well as a new factual project for SABC 2 called “I Wish I’d Said”.

Christian Gous – ‘Isaac’

Cristian Gous was born in Pretoria as one of a pair of twin boys. Apart from an interest in drama, Christian sings in the choir, has a passion for visual art and is an academic achiever. He also plays cricket for his school and is an avid Judoka. Christian is making his first feature film debut in Dust.