A new feature film, shot mainly in Ottery, is set to hit the big screens in April next year, offering the world a different view of the Cape Flats, say the producers.
The film’s cast includes Danny Ross, Melissa Mel de Vries and Roby Rossouw. The production team has wound up three weeks of shooting at locations in Ottery, Simon’s Town, Wynberg and Grassy Park.
The film’s working title The Way Back, is inspired by a real-life event in Ottery, according to writer and director Imran Hamdulay.
“We were at my friend’s place braaiing and his son went missing and that was the seed of the film, and from that I wrote the story. Although the film isn’t based on real life, I just took the incident as a catalyst and branched off from there.”
The film is about the events that happen when the main character’s son goes missing and it explores themes of fatherhood and family, he says.
“It revolved around this specific male experience, Ryan’s difficult past and how hard he’s worked to overcome his past and doing better, but when someone so close to him is almost lost, some parts of his past come out and he has to reconcile that, figure it out again and try to be better again.”
He says Ottery is the perfect location for the film because it’s where the story has its roots and it has an authentic feel.
“These areas are full of good and hard-working people so we approached it from a position of honesty, honesty and empathy. The areas we filmed in are beautiful, there’s texture and colour and we just want to see more of that in the films we present – hopefully that comes through in the movie.
“Many of the films that come from the Cape Flats have a single-story narrative about gangsterism and drugs so we want to show a different side of the community through our lens.”
Brandon Eckardt, a community activist and CEO of the Life Changers Foundation, liaised with the film crew to shoot in Ottery, and he is excited about the story it tells.
“All films of the Cape Flats are about gangs and gangsterism, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing because those are real and it happens in our communities, but what influences people is what they see, and what we’ve seen over the years with these gang movies is that children and youngsters then glorify gangsters because they want to emulate what they see in those movies.”
The film, he says explores friendship and how friends come together, and it also touches on mental health.
“The lead character has a past; it creeps up to him, and his wife finds out about it, and I think that many people, especially men on the Cape Flats, will resonate with the storyline because we come from that.”
Ross, who spent the first few years of his life on the Cape Flats and has many family living there, says it’s an honour to be part of the project.
“The film really shows our people in a different light. It was beautiful being out in Ottery and how the community came together to support us in telling the story… It is going to be a beautiful story and I can’t wait for people to see it.”
Producer Khosie Dali says she hopes the audience will see themselves in the film.
“When Imran came to me with the story I was excited because it’s something different so my role is for his vision to come through. It has been great for me to be in Ottery and speak to the people of Ottery.”
This is the second film Hamdulay and Dali have worked on – they also made Sons of the Sea, which can be seen on Showmax.