As from 26 February, the new South African comedy, Jozi, starring Carl Beukes and Lionel Newton, will be released at more than 40 cinemas around South Africa. Sneak previews will take place on 20 February.
The marketing of the Jozi been different from other films, with strong online elements that integrate social networking sites Facebook (facebook.com/JoziMovie) and Twitter (twitter.com/JoziMovie), and an interactive website (www.joziethemovie.co.za), all with exclusive content, including video clips and gags from the film. The Facebook and Twitter pages also feature competitions for their respective users, while the website has a unique feature, a “Shout It Out’ box where fans can post comments.
Written and directed by Craig Freimond, produced by Anant Singh and co-produced with Helena Spring and Robbie Thorpe, Jozi tells the story of James, a successful comedy writer in Johannesburg who feels overwhelmed by crime, politics, pessimism and a feather duster salesman. When his girlfriend leaves him for a guy who he thinks is the most boring man in the world, he loses the very spark of humour which enables him to earn his living. In a madcap journey, James travels through the highways and byways of South Africa from Daspoort Rehab to Johannesburg to try and recover his elusive sense of humour as well as his ability to love and laugh again.
Other stars in the film include Lindiwe Matshikiza, Jena Dover, Moshidi Moshegwa and Nick Boraine, with a guest appearance by Tobie Cronje.
Jozi has already generated extremely positive reaction from critics. It was described as a funny, absorbing and clever local comedy without cliches and slapstick by Leon Van Nierop of You/Huisegenoot/Drum.
TV Plus’ Doreen Premdev regards it as one of the best local films she has watched in a long time. “I was especially impressed with the actors and the storyline was unique and truly South African.’
Debashine Thangevelo of The Star said, “A traffic jam of converging witty lines in this slice of life comedy that leaves one veering between lanes that straddle tongue-in-cheek humour and surreal drama about surviving Johannesburg".
Rapport’s Paul Boekooi declared, “The way in which an audience can relate to any film, is essential for its success. It is on this level that Jozi scores high. Anyone living in Joburg can fully associate themselves with what happens to the main characters – whether you like them or not….This is especially reflected in the wacky humour’.
Anant Singh noted that the audience reactions to date had been exceptionally positive. "We are very excited about this. Jozi is a very original story and we look forward to the audience embracing the film and more positive reactions when the film opens nationally.’
Jozi is a Videovision Entertainment release through United International Pictures (South Africa). The film is a Videovision Entertainment production in association with Distant Horizon, Coral Films, T.O.M. Pictures and The National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa.