Film version of “Triomf’


After six years of development, acclaimed Zimbabwean film director and novelist Michael Raeburn is to bring Marlene van Niekerk’s award-winning novel “Triomf’ to the big screen.

The film focuses on the lives of a poor white family as South Africa lurches towards a different future than the one promised by the Afrikaner nationalists.

Says Raeburn: “It’s a very bleak and disturbing story yet filled with moments of hilarious madness. It reveals a side of South African life that has never before been captured on screen before. The dramatic tension and setting of poor people on the edge echoes the work of Tennessee Williams and Sam Shepherd.’

Set to star are South Africans Lionel Newton, Vanessa Cooke, Paul Luckhoff, Eduan van Jaarsveldt, Obed Baloyi, Coco Merckel and Pam Andrews.

Backed by MEDIA, a European film development fund, Raeburn spent much time and energy attaching big names like Tim Roth, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek in order to secure finance. But when the distributors asked for Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman, Raeburn decided to divide the budget by 10 and make an authentic all-South African movie backed by two key French funds for African cinema (Fond Sud and Image Afrique), and a private Zimbabwean financier, Lyndon Plant of Giraffe Creations in London.

After hooking up with South African production company Red Pill Productions, the director has spent the past few months scouting locations around Johannesburg, rehearsing his actors and locking down key crew.

The film’s main location is a small house in Jan Hofmeyer Park, near Brixton. Says Red Pill’s Natalie Stange: “We could not have found a more perfect location for the film. Everything is there, as if a huge Hollywood studio came and built it for us. We’ve also got dozens of people wanting to be extras. It’s going to be an adventure.’

Raeburn, who has directed numerous feature films and documentaries like “JIT’, “The Grass Is Singing’, “Winds of Rage’ and “Zimbabwe Countdown’ since he began his career in the 1970s, recently published his second novel, which is set in Mozambique: “Night of the Fireflies’ (New Africa Books, Cape Town).


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