Based on the true story of a young man in the 1960’s who became a storyteller in jail, Noem My Skollie, is a powerful and moving film that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit. The film opens at cinemas across South Africa on Friday, 2ndSeptember 2016.
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Audiences can look forward to Daryne Joshua’s directorial debut in this true life, big-screen cinematic experience that will keep viewers spellbound in a world that has never before been depicted in such an authentic way. The film is set on the Cape Flats and the Pollsmoor Prison and is based on the life of the film’s scriptwriter, John W. Fredericks.
Noem My Skollie tells the story of four teenagers, AB (Austin Rose) and his three best friends Gimba (Ethan Patton), Gif (Joshua Vraagom) and Shorty (Valentino de Klerk) who grow up on the impoverished ganglands of the Cape Flats in the 1960s.
Despite their circumstances, the children try to avoid the gangsters who infiltrate their daily lives but when AB goes through a traumatic experience they decide to form a gang to protect themselves. The four friends, now like brothers, do not commit serious crimes, but the police keep a close watch on them as they grow from teenagers into popular young men. Eventually the now older AB (Dann-Jacques Mouton) and Gimba (Gantane Kusch) are arrested whilst breaking into a shop and sentenced to two years in jail.
It is here, in the vicious world of prison, that AB decides to use his storytelling talent to entertain the hardened prisoners and raise his status whilst his friend, Gimba engages on a very different path to ensure his own safety…
When AB is released from prison he picks up on the relationship with his beautiful childhood sweetheart, Jenny (Tarryn Wyngaard) and so tries to focus on writing his stories to impress her, but his gang friends persuade him to join them one last time – a decision that leads to shocking consequences for all of them.
The film is beautifully shot with intricate attention to the detail and mood of the 1960’s period and presents convincing performances from a host of celebrated South African actors and refreshing new talent. Most importantly, the film is engaging and entertaining throughout and delivers a massive emotional impact.
Noem My Skollie delivers on the themes of friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, acceptance, the desire for a better life, hope and love. The title of the film plays on the old adage that one should not judge a book by its cover and promotes the view that everyone has a gift even if sometimes hard to find and even if that gift comes at a price.
John W. Fredericks, left school as a teenager and spent many years of his youth in jail and yet he has managed in his sixties to write a major world-class screenplay. John was in Pollsmoor during the 60’s when it was a very basic structure with a corrugated iron roof that he and other prisoners were forced to lay the foundations of what has now become the modern high security facility that it is).
In August 2016, the film was screened to inmates and staff at Pollsmoor Prinso, making history as the first feature film in South Africa to premiere at a maximum security prison before its national release.
This film will resonate with all South African audiences but particularly those who are able to confront the violent reality of the world of the story and are willing to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit. The entire script is written in Afrikaans but the film is presented with English sub-titles.
The powerful score was composed by internationally renowned Cape Town musician, Kyle Shepherd – winner of theStandard Bank young artist of the year award in 2014.
The cast also comprises, amongst others, Christian Bennett, Gershwin Mias, Oscar Peterson, Abdu Adams, Peter Butler, Charlton George, Jill Levenberg, Denise Newman, Sandi Schultz, Andre Roothman, Paul du Toit and Irshaad Ally and a stellar performance by newcomer David Manuel, who plays the jail-boss and who was still serving his parole whilst the film was being made.
David Manuel was part of a programme run by NICRO together with the Department of Correctional Services which is linked to a programme of arts and culture inside the Pollsmoor Prison. It was from a performance at Artscape in 2014 that the director spotted Manuel’s talent – a testament to the rehabilitation programme at Pollsmoor.
Noem My Skollie was produced by David Max Brown and Moshidi Motshegwa from Maxi-D Productions in association with M-Net, kykNET the NFVF and the DTI and distributed by Ster Kinekor Entertainment.