By Novell Zwange – Last Thursday I had the pleasure to attend the media preview of the proudly South African movie, Hopeville which hits the South African and Lesotho cinemas on the 3rd of this month. The film tells the story of Amos, a reformed alcoholic on a mission to forge a relationship with his estranged son Themba. When father and son arrive in the dusty town of Hopeville, they discover a mean little community where apathy, fear and suspicion are the order of the day. When Amos decides to restore the public swimming pool so that his son can pursue a swimming career, he is met with scepticism and resistance from the town’s authorities and its inhabitants. Through patience, determination and above all courage, Amos’ selfless act ripples through Hopeville, inspiring others to take action and to do what they know is right. Slowly but surely, good ripples through Hopeville, transforming the town and its inhabitants for good.
Hopeville was filmed in the picturesque town of Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Art director Karel Flint visited more than 70 small towns throughout South Africa, driving in excess of 11 000 kilometres in his search for the perfect site to set the production in, before arriving in Waterval Boven.
Some of South Africa’s top actors including; Desmond Dube, Leleti Khumalo, Fana Mokoena, Themba Ndaba, Terry Pheto, Jody Abrahams ,Junior Singo and Mary Twala star in the production.
Below is a summary of some of the main actors and their roles:
- Jody Abrahams (Hard Copy) is PJ DANIELS – the hardened businessman who’s happy to get involved in any shady deal for a quick buck.
- Desmond Dube (Dube on Mondays, Hotel Rwanda), is PATRICK GUMEDE the Mayor of Hopeville, a corrupt official who is planning to rezone the land where the swimming pool is into a liquor outlet.
- Leleti Khumalo (Sarafina!, Yesterday and Generations) plays FLO RAPHOTO, Themba’s aunt who protects Themba and his mother, Gloria, from Amos’ drinking, and who continually tries to get custody of Themba – to ensure that he has all the opportunities he could have, even if this means losing his father.
- Paul Luckhoff (Stander) plays FELIX VENTER, who is perceived as the town racist. He lives in the past and has lost touch with his humanity and the thing that is most important: his son. Felix will learn to abandon the fear and anger that has governed his life, and discover that he still has a contribution to make, for good.
- Fana Mokoena (Generations, Yizo Yizo, The Lab) is KHOABANE the corrupt town cop who kowtows to Mayor Patrick, but who learns to take responsibility for his actions as the drama unfolds. Through Khobane’s son, Andile, we realise that Andile’s bravado is merely a front as behind closed doors everything is not well at home, where domestic violence is always threatening to boil over.
- Themba Ndaba (Generations, Streaks Ahead and Teleschool presenter) plays the main character, AMOS MANYONI, a recovering alcoholic who gets custody of his son, Themba following the death of Gloria, Themba’s mother. When Amos takes Themba to Hopeville to take up his new job as parks and recreation manager he is faced with numerous challenges that he overcomes with courage and a belief in what is good.
- Terry Pheto (Tsotsi, The Stick Fighter), is FIKILE, an illegal immigrant hiding her true identity – she’s Patrick’s mistress, but has deepening feelings for Amos. Her character develops as the drama unfolds as she too stands by her values and courageously does what is right.
- Junior Singo (Beat the Drum, The Wooden Camera and In My Country) plays THEMBA MANYONI, Amos’ son – whose refusal to reconcile with his father and grief for his mother leads him out of the house and into some unwholesome experiences with a local gang. But through Amos’ perseveres and the courage of his convictions, Themba’s hostility is replaced by a new found respect for his dad. By giving Amos a second chance, Themba wins a father.
- Mary Twala (Muvhango, Ubizo, Sarafina! and Taxi to Soweto) plays MA DOLLY, Amos’ sobriety counsellor, who is the only person in Hopeville looking after the numerous abandoned children in the township of Halala.
Hopeville is a co-production between HEARTLINES and SABC Education, and is produced by Curious Pictures.
Hopeville was produced by award winning production company Curious Pictures. Harriet Gavshon and Mariki van der Walt are the Executive Producers and John Trengove is the Director.
Curious Pictures has built a reputation as one of South Africa’s top creative innovators- both a home to independent film making and film makers yet of a size to support large scale production of television and drama series. Curious has just over 15 years’ experience in film and video production and are known for producing content that balances entertainment with substance. The Curious signature, defined by rigorous and intelligent research methods, uncompromising attention to creative detail and a commitment to telling resonant, significant stories, is evident across the range of work, which includes documentary, fiction, commercials, factual, reality and education.
HEARTLINES is an NGO that started in 2002. It uses the mass media (radio and television) and training materials to help people live their good values, thereby addressing key social issues.
The reason that Heartlines emphasizes values is because unlike other initiatives which tend to tackle behaviour change from a health, legal and human rights perspective, HEARTLINES goes to the root cause of behaviour, namely values. HEARTLINES challenges people (irrespective of gender, age or religion) to live out positive values in a way that will build people, families, communities and the nation.
In 2006 HEARTLINES developed a series of 8 short films– which screened on SABC 2. This period – ‘8 weeks, 8 values, 1 national conversation’ – was very successful: the 8 films reached over 7,3 million people, resulted in over 82,000 additional acts of caring for people with HIV/AIDS and led to at least 4,5 million values related conversations.
The eight film series, which was produced by Curious Pictures, also won many major local and international awards
Hopeville series was their second project and the HOPEVILLE Movie was created.
Humble Pie Entertainment is a creative media, marketing, distribution and project management agency specializing in the film and music industry. Over the past three and a half years Humble Pie Entertainment has been involved with various Christian film releases including One Night With The King, Bella, Son of Man for Ster-Kinekor, The Ten Commandments – Animated Film for MFILMS and Nu-Metro, Flywheel, Fireproof, Tornado and the Kalahari Horse Whisperer for Aquavision and Ster-Kinekor, Faith Happens together with Side By Side Films, God of Wonders, The Calling, The Blind Side and A Dance For Bethany just to name a few. Humble Pie Entertainment has gained a respectable name in the entertainment industry as a company who knows how to speak to the Christian market in South Africa and has evolved to launch campaigns into the secular market. With more than 19 years accumulated business and marketing experience, the management offers a creative, qualified and highly competent team to any film or music project. Humble Pie Entertainment will handle the distribution of the film HOPEVILLE and is a suitable entity to present such a film to South Africa and the World.