Every country has a person who is the butt of all jokes. In Ireland, it is Paddy. In Israel, it is Hymie and in South Africa, that person is Van der Merwe and this tongue-in-cheek family comedy is about him.
Producers Bruce Lawley, Bruce Macdonald, Craig Jones and Murray Macdonald bring you this star-studded affair with the role of Van, the underdog, played by the well-known and very talented, Rob van Vurren.
"I had the best time shooting Van Der Merwe! What an experience. An unforgettable opportunity to play an iconic South African character. I think people are going to have a great laugh seeing Van come to life and I hope they also connect with the heart I tried to imbue the character with. I loved playing him and I hope they love watching him," says Rob.
Setting the scene for all sorts of problems and challenges, the film centres around Vans daughter, Marike, who returns home from a gap year in England with a new fiancι, George, a British medical student. Not only does Van have to come to terms with the fact that his daughter is marrying an Englishman but he is also pressured by his bossy, traditional father to put an end to the relationship. This puts Van in a precarious situation, as he must either risk the wrath of his father by condoning the wedding or obey his father and risk losing his daughter forever. The fireworks really begin when the family of the English fiancι arrives on the farm, as the clash of cultures results in a number of side-splitting incidents and hilarious situations, as we witness some classic Van Der Merwe jokes played out in front of our eyes.
Van is part of our culture, a character that we can all relate to. He has a history and a place in our hearts. Bringing him to life on the big screen is something that a lot of people want to see, says director and screenwriter, Bruce Lawley, about his debut feature film. Van Der Merwe is a feel-good film. More than anything, we want viewers to leave the cinema smiling and with the positive message that no matter what your circumstances or shortcomings are, things will be okay. But you have to be able to laugh at yourself. You cant take life too seriously. Be true to yourself, keep trying and keep smiling, he adds.
Besides for van Vuurens excellent portrayal of Van, the film is supported by an array of interesting characters played by well-known names including Ian Roberts, Chanelle de Jager, Reine Swart, Adrienne Pearce, Andre Jacobs, Rika Sennett, Erica Wessels, Louw Venter, Benedikt Sebastian, Matthew Baldwin, Neels van Jaarsveld and Melt Sieberhagen to name a few. Kurt Darren also makes a guest appearance as the wedding singer and Barry Hilton plays the role of Freddie, the barman and Vans best friend.
Complete with the misconceptions, biases and characteristic inability to succeed, Van Der Merwe promises some truly funny laughs about family politics, awkward situations and living up the Van Der Merwe title. The film is distributed by Ster-Kinekor Entertainment and will be released in cinemas nationwide on the 28 July, 2017.