Movies

Lights, Camera, Afrikaans in Action

 

The Afrikaans film industry is booming and has contributed 8 billon rand to the economy between 2008 and 2012

  • Between 1994 and 2007 only ten Afrikaans films were released.
  • During 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2005 there were no new Afrikaans films released.
  • Between 2008 and 2016 84 Afrikaans films were released.

According to the National Film and Video Foundation it is a proven fact that Afrikaans films industry has a strong base with a loyal support base that shows consistent growth.

Facts

  • According to industry reports ten local films have been produced thus far of which six are Afrikaans.
  • Over the same period last year a total of 13 films were produced locally of which nine were Afrikaans.
  • Since January local films earned R30 million and the box office compared to R43,9 million last year. 

The second half are extremely promising as figures for Kretoa and newe releases: Vuil Wasgoed, Vaselinetjie, Nul is nie Niks nie, Liewe Kersfeesvader and Raaiselkind figures will only be released by the end of this year.

Big earners 2016

  • Vir Altyd (action/crime) – record earnings of R15 million.
  • Vir die Voëls (romance/drama) - R8 million.
  • Paw Paw vir my Darling, Noem my Skollie, Dis Koue Kos Skat, Jou Romeo, Sy Klink Soos Lente and Modder en Bloed earned R18 million cumulatively.

The Afrikaans film industry is booming – with 17 films released in 2016 alone, there is a tid-bit for every taste. Having graduated from a more historical and slapstick style to powerful social commentary, you can now find Afrikaans films covering original drama, mystery, clever comedy and even action. You’d be wrong to expect only ‘candyfloss’ entertainment, though. Much like the Afrikaans culture, audiences of Afrikaans films are clearly skilled in social satire. Not to mention the fact that they are quite open to laughing at themselves. And yet at the same time, it seems that the industry can not resist the more ‘meaty’ offerings filled with drama and poignant social commentary either…

Lasting memories – the legacy of Afrikaans films

Just think about it: Afrikaans films have a way of leaving lasting memories. All you have to do is to think back to Afrikaans films like Katinka Heyns’ captivating ‘Fiela se Kind’, the kooky Jamie Uys blockbuster ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ or even the popular Leon Schuster movies to see how true this sentiment is. Across the board, Afrikaans films are celebrated for the breathtaking scenery. Another, perhaps more important, element of Afrikaans films is the depiction of stories that touch the heart of the South African people. In fact, no theme has been left untouched by filmmakers since the first Afrikaans movie, De Voortrekkers, was released in 1916.
 

Noem my Skollie /Call me Thief was an Oscar Award entry in 2017

Recently, the charming ‘‘n PawPaw vir my Darling’, Oscar award entry ‘Noem My Skollie / Call me Thief’, the raw ‘Abraham’ and the acclaimed ‘Tess’ were all examples of the courageous vision of directors like Koos Roets, Jans Rautenbach and Meg Rickards - telling stories others would shy away from. The unspoken mantra being, “If it’s hard, we go through it, not around it.”

Cross over – a blend between serious themes and humoristic content

Not that there is no place to celebrate the lighter side of life. In recent years, the film and music industry have crossed over. South African music megastars like Karen Zoid, Karlien van Jaarsveld, Steve Hofmeyr, Bok van Blerk, Bouwer Bosch and Bobby van Jaarsveld alluring the masses with romantic comedies, dramas and musicals. And audiences are loving it! Especially those who follow the lives of these local celebs closely.

 

Bok van Blerk in the movie Leading Lady

Amid the weighty issues such as abuse, mental health, sex trafficking and racism tackled by other contemporary films, these movies offer an elegant escapism to both Afrikaans people and those curious about the culture.
An excellent example is the feature film Johnny is nie dood nie.

After South African musician Johannes Kerkorrel committed suicide in 2002, a group of friends got together to relive their time back in the 1980s, when they were young and silly and mad about music. The storyline touches on friendship, betrayal, sexual and political freedom, the coming of age and compromises as they age. The film has won numerous local awards. In Afrikaans with English subtitles.

The coming-of-age comedy ‘Jonathan’, released this year with comedian Rikus de Beer, was also a crossover – this time from cult YouTube channel Radio Raps. This, again, points to the fact that the Afrikaans film industry is current, versatile, adaptable and here to stay. Most Afrikaans films have English sub-titles.