South African-born Oliver Schmitz, who now lives in Germany, first made a name for himself with the feature Mapantsula which impressed film critics at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1988. The film about a petty criminal from Soweto went on to win a number of international festival prizes. His documentary film Hijack Stories which looks at young people after the collapse of the apartheid regime won a prize at Cannes in 2001 in the section Un Certain Regard
Schmitz („Paris je t’aime”, „Doctor’s Diary”, „Turkish for Beginners”), a German Grimme Award laurete, is now back in South Africa directing the film Chanda’s Secrets based on novel of the same name by Canadian Allan Stratton. Chanda’s Secrets. Filming which began on 16 November in Elandsdoorn near Johannesburg, tells the story of a family on the verge of disintegrating.
Chanda is growing up in Elandsdoorn and lives an ordinary life up till her sister Sara dies at the age of only a year. From now on nothing is as it used to be: Chanda’s stepfather Jonah disappears, her younger siblings Iris and Soly are raising trouble, and her mother Lilian, the heart and centre of the family is falling seriously ill. Chanda is now burdened with the responsibility for her siblings. A fate which has befallen many children in South Africa whose parents have contracted HIV and died.
South African actors comprise the entire cast of Chanda’s Secrets and also involves the residents of the township Elandsdoorn.
Chanda’s Secrets is produced by Oliver Stoltz/ Dreamer Joint Venture Filmproduktion („Salami Aleikum”, „Leroy”, „Lost Children”) in co-production with Greig Buckle/ Enigma Pictures (South Africa). Other co-producers are Helge Sasse/ Senator Film Produktion and Thomas Reisser/ Niama-Film. Senator Film Verleih will release the film in Germany in 2010. Thorsten Ritter/ Bavaria Film International is handling international sales. The project is supported by Bundesministerium fur Kultur und Medien (BKM), by Filmforderungsanstalt (FFA), the Filmstiftung North Rhine-Westphalia, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) and the Deutscher Filmforderfonds (DFFF).