Thursday 25 February 2010


I love this city. Yes, it is big, and busy, and full of pot holes, but it has a soul, and an energy, like no other place.

To celebrate this wonderful metropolis, a movie comes out this weekend that pays tribute to our city. And yes, it is called "Jozi". Check out

I know the film making team, and the writer/director is the real deal. I have watched their vision take shape over the past few years, and a few weeks ago I went to the premiere of this charming piece of work, and I was very chuffed. It made me feel normal and it made me laugh. Jozi has been an inspired journey for the film making team and I was very excited to see the final product - it is slick and smart, and it makes you laugh, a lot!

With all the buzz around South African cinema of late, the truth is, there has not been a commercial hit that has captured the world's imagination since 1980, when The God's Must Be Crazy made its mark. Films like Invictus and District 9 may showcase South Africa, and they may include South African talent, but they are not South African films. These are Hollywood endeavours that have capitalized on our "flavour of the year" status. They are good for our local film industry but they do not form part of our cultural library. Also, films like Tsotsi, Jerusalema, and District 9, do not have people rushing to the travel agent to book their tickets to come visit. Quite the contrary. But, if you look at films like Shirley Valentine, which got my mother running off to Greece, and Blame it on Rio, which got me running off to Rio, there has always been those artistic works which have influenced tourism and boosted national pride. The Gods Must Be Crazy goes down as a classic, and it was the Bushmen that captured the imagination of the world.

My heart tells me that South African film artists are getting closer to another commercial break-through film like this. I really hope that I can be a part of the team that does this, as I have been investing and working with film makers for over 8 years now.

I remember reading a piece that Barry Ronge wrote a few years back. It was about that lovely film set in New Zealand called the Whale Rider. That movie also captured the world's imagination, and Barry Ronge said that when South Africa makes its own Whale Rider then our local cinema would have come of age. This resonated with me, and I understood exactly what he meant. Sure, District 9 is exciting and ground-breaking, and it made a fortune of money for Sony Columbia in America, but it will be forgotten in a year's time. But no one will ever forget the Coke bottle that fell from the sky. I can see myself sitting back in 10 years and enjoying the Full Monty all over again. The same with other works like the Castle, Amalie, Billy Elliot, Saving Grace, and The Gods ... these are all movies that talk to your heart, and their messages are timeless.

Please all go and see Jozi - you will agree that it is a big step forward for locally made cinema. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker