Jozi hits home


Hundreds of guests, including the Minister of Trade & Industry Rob Davies, attended the world premiere of the new South African film, Jozi, at Nu Metro, Montecasino on 7 February. A character-driven quirky comedy that reflects the craziness of life in Johannesburg, Jozi generated loud guffaws of laughter throughout its screening.

A Videovision Entertainment and T.O.M Pictures production, Jozi was made by the same team of filmmakers who created the acclaimed comedy of a few years back, Gums & Noses. With the story idea by director Craig Freimond and producer Robbie Thorpe, Jozi gives ample opportunity for actors Carl Beukes, Lionel Newton and Moshidi Moshegwa to showcase their considerable comic talents.

Prior to the screening, producer Anant Singh of Videovision Entertainment spoke about the impact that film had on a country. “We have so many talented young filmmakers in South Africa. The success of District 9 shows how big South Africa’s potential is. But getting films together is very difficult. The fact that government has identified film as a key industry is very important and we are delighted that Minister Davies is here tonight.

“Even more difficult than making films is getting the films into cinemas and getting audiences to come and see them. As local filmmakers we have to compete with Hollywood and Bollywood. Countries like Korea, Australia and the UK have traversed the difficult challenge of developing audiences for their local films. We’re very excited about Jozi – it’s very local and fun and it should have a big potential box office.’

Freimond thanked all his colleagues at T.O.M Pictures and extended “a huge thank you’ to Videovision Entertainment. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. Jozi was graced with a focused, dynamic and very special crew. Our editor Megan Gill came all the way from Hollywood to cut the film because she liked the script, which says a lot about her as a person. And I must thank our wonderful actors – to me actors are everything in a film. Lead actor Carl Beukes was with us for 24 hours a day, every day of the shoot.’

Thorpe thanked story consultant Mike de la Hunt and Andy Kasrils who contributed to story ideas. “I would also like to thank Jay Savage at Sony for pulling all the music together. A big thanks to Anant Singh for believing in our little film. Thanks also to Videovision Entertainment producer Helen Spring and to the National Film and Video Foundation, as well as the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) for believing and investing in South African films. Jozi has been an amazing journey – it was a difficult process and took us a long time.’

Spring thanked the crew and cast. “I’d also like to say thanks to Anant Singh who’s given so many opportunities to me personally as well as to South African filmmakers. Supporting local art is the only way to build a national psyche.’

Minister Davies noted that it was a very great pleasure to be at the premiere of a local film. “Since 2004 the DTI has been supporting local films through its rebate. We’ve seen an evolution since that time and South Africa is beginning to do its own quality films that have audience appeal. In 2008 we tweaked the rebate to lower the threshold and increase our funding. Between 2004 and the end of this financial year which ends in March, the DTI would have provided in excess of half a billion rands to the film industry.

“Rest assured the DTI will do all that it can to continue being a reliable partner for the local industry.’
In closing the speeches Singh quipped that it was nice to have a Minister who actually goes to the movies.

Jozi releases nationwide on 26 February.


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