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The director's statement: Noem My Skollie
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Mon, 15 Aug 2016 10:15
Still from Noem My Skollie

"I know this world. I know its people – the way they talk, move, think and feel. I know what brings them joy, and unfortunately, I know what brings them sadness. I know all this and more because I am one of them, born and raised on the Cape Flats. So when I read Noem my Skollie, there was an immediate connection to the story.

The most beautiful thing about this film for me is the fact that its protagonist, Abraham Lonzi, continuously uses storytelling as a way to escape the perils of his grim situation. Storytelling literally saves his life. How can that not resonate with any filmmaker? But for me it’s more than that. It resonates with me personally because its that same craft that paved my escape from the mostly harsh environment that is the Cape Flats.

So, the story of these boys – The Young Ones (AB and the gang) - is also partly mine, and that of all my friends and family who experienced with me those mean streets.

The scary thing about this story is that even though most of it takes place in the 60’s on the Cape Flats, so much of what happens in it continues to happen today – just as it did when I was growing up in the 80’s. Not much has changed; it remains a relevant narrative. I know the journey of Skollie intimately. I’ve not been to prison, thankfully – but a few of my closest friends and associates have, and what happens within those walls of Pollsmoor is treated as legend and mythology – a legend and mythology all of us from the hood are well versed in.

I feel like I have a unique insight into this world. And as a filmmaker I bring an authenticity to it like few others could. Above that – I feel as if I had a duty to tell this story. In recent times so many filmmakers have come and gone and made feature films about our Cape Flats, but to my knowledge, very seldom have any of them been one of us. Without neglecting my duties as an entertainer - I hope to have brought a truth to the world of the story that will not only emotionally and intellectually resonate with those truly living in it, but also with those peeking into it from the other side of the cinema screen.

Noem my Skollie is a dramatic film, which illustrates deep and painful human experiences touching on themes anchored in reality, and which shows sensitive characters with complex inner worlds. To get one idea out of the way immediately - for me this gangster’s story, like so many others, isn’t about the glamourisation of crime. I see the film as poetic and intimate, besides its hardness and violence. In fact, I believe that it’s this very juxtaposition of tenderness and violence that makes this a story worth telling and a film worth watching. Because therein lies the truth of the protagonist and his environment in the shared duality.

This duality is reflected in the design and shooting of the film: one, of a realistic and gritty style, which avoids a stereotyped world and characters but rings true of the period; and a second line, more poetic, more anchored in imagination and the mind of AB the storyteller.

But above all I hope that this bittersweet portrait of a gangster must leave the audience with hope. Because that is what it is based on – the true story of the scriptwriter, John W. Fredericks. A man, who was a product of his environment and made a few bad decisions, then suffered, but in the end survived to beat the odds - an example of what’s possible, a beacon of hope."

Written by Daryne Joshua.








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