The Bang Bang Club in focus


Frank Rautenbach, Neels van Jaarsveld, Taylor Kitsch and Ryan Phillippe

Currently on release locally, The Bang Bang Club tells the story of a team of South African photographers who became known during apartheid as The Bang Bang Club. They were Ken Oosterbroek (Frank Rautenbach), Kevin Carter (Taylor Kitsch), Joao Silva (Neels van Jaarsveld) and Greg Marinovich (Ryan Philippe).

The Bang Bang Club was directed by South African director Steven Silver (who lives in Canada) and produced by Foundry Films and Out of Africa Entertainment. It premiered very successfully at the Toronto Film Festival in 2010.

Independent distributor Indigenous Film Distribution is handling the local release. CEO Helen Kuun says the film was released in 53 sites around the country. “We were thrilled to be asked to distribute the film locally and we have an all out marketing campaign. This comprises TV, radio partnerships with Primedia (702 and 94.7), a print partnership with The Star Tonight and online and social media activation, as well as some outdoor advertising and a big premiere at Ster-Kinekor Sandton. Internationally the film is sold by Entertainment One.’

Kuun notes that one of the biggest challenges with releasing any film is to make sure of dates, sites, planning and materials as all these factors need careful consideration. “There wasn’t anything in particular that was more difficult about this film than others we’ve released. In fact, the film has received good support from media and audiences alike.’

She believes that the release of The Bang Bang Club will show South African filmmaking in a better light. “The more quality local products that are released, the more South African audiences will buy into them. The Bang Bang Club is the next installment after the recent success of stories like Liefling and Spud. Our local content market is definitely growing and producing a film like this is testament to that.’          

The film’s South African co-producer, Lance Samuels of Out of Africa Entertainment, adds: “This was one of the best filming experiences I’ve ever had. The team really came together and I was thrilled to be part of this process. When Steven Silver initially approached me I jumped at the opportunity to become involved in this project. I would like to thank the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Canadian authorities for being 100% behind the film.’

Samuels adds that they wanted to work with Indigenous Film Distribution from the outset. “They had distributed our Leon Shuster film, Shucks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa, and did a fantastic job. I really hope that South African audiences give the film a chance and appreciate this unique part of our history.’   

He adds that the crew and cast were fantastic. “It was really wonderful to see how American actors Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch got behind their characters and embraced the country. We shot in the actual locations so the emotional impact on all involved was really very moving.’

Silver concurs: “This was a fantastic filming experience. Lance and his team were great and, even though this was a small budget film by international standards, the quality of the crew and production values were exceptional. We also shot the whole film in 30 days with
1 600 slates so it was a tight shoot.

“I would like as many South Africans as possible to see this film to engage in interesting debate about this important part of our past.’


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