Filming has started in Gauteng on the new Heartlines feature film Nothing for Mahala, which boasts a cast of stars and is aiming to be South Africa’s big comedy hit for 2013.
The headline stars include Marius Weyers, Thapelo Mokoena, Desmond Dube, Jamie Bartlett, Dorothy Masuku, Casper de Vries, Kenneth Nkosi and Lillian Dube.
The film, with a script written by Darrel Bristow-Bovey, is scheduled to premiere in cinemas in September this year.
Foray into comedy
Heartlines, the NGO well-known for its values films and campaigns, has again teamed up with Quizzical (formerly Curious) Pictures, the production company with which it has won so many awards for its previous dramas.
“This is our first foray into comedy and we are hoping that the script, which has been in development for more than three years, will touch South Africans with its message of values and money,” said Heartlines CEO Dr Garth Japhet.
“All the elements are there for a great film. We have a stellar cast and a great script being directed by Rolie Nikiwe,” said Japhet.
Heartlines has previously produced award-winning dramas such as The Good Provider, Crossroads, The Bet and the Heartlines movie. These films, first made in 2006, were recently rescreened on SABC3, attracting audiences of over a million people six years after they were first released. In 2009, Heartlines also produced Hopeville, a co-production with the SABC, which included a six-part mini-series that won a prestigious Rose d’Or award.
A fun story to tackle big issues
Nothing for Mahala revolves around a young man Axe (played by Thapelo Mokoena) who is rich, successful and on his way up. Or so he wants people to believe. In fact, he is drowning in debt. After a run-in with some dangerous loan sharks, Axe lands up in court, and is sentenced to 200 hours of community service at an old age home.
There, however, he gets stuck with Hendrik (Marius Weyers), a grumpy old man who once had it all and is now angry, alone and miserable.
“The events that unfold provide a great platform for comedy that eases life’s painful lessons,” said project co-ordinator Jennifer Charlton. The film forms part of a larger campaign which will include roadshows and resources based on the film distributed to communities across the country. The aim of the campaign is to get South Africans to review their attitudes, behaviour and skills with regards to money, with an overall objective of tackling some major social issues including over-indebtedness, corruption, crime and poverty.
Funding for film and the wider Heartlines campaign has come from Nedbank. The following organisations are also funding the film: the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Film and Video Foundation and the Industrial Development Corporation. Campaign support is from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the National Debt Mediation Association and the SABC. Once the film has finished its run in cinemas, it will be flighted on all SABC channels.
The crew is currently filming around Johannesburg with opportunities for photographs and interviews.