Classic caper coming to our screens


Skeem is a South African film in the same
vein as Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two
Smoking Barrels and will be released in
local cinemas via UIP in October.
Written and directed by Tim Greene
(Class Act, Boy Called Twist, Hard Copy),
Skeem is produced by Zaheer Goodman-
Bhyat (Confessions of a Gambler, Master
Harold and the Boys) of Light & Dark

Greene says that the biggest selling
point of the film is that it is entertaining.
“Skeem is a lot of fun – an intelligent
comedy mixed with fast paced action. It is
a classic caper movie: a mile-a-minute
chase after a cardboard box full of money,
featuring a cast of colourful characters all
hell-bent on getting their hands on the

“The movie also boasts household
names like Kenneth Nkosi, Rapulana
Seiphemo, Casey B Dolan, Terence
Bridgett and top comedians David Isaacs
and Kurt Schoonraad.’
Recent test screenings generated good
results. “This has given us reason to
believe that audiences are going to
embrace Skeem, mainly because it is very
different from the brow-beating,
angst-ridden fare that has become typical
of South African movies,’ continues
Greene. “We’ve had a very warm response
from the test audiences from late teens
through to people in their 70s. However
the film is mainly aimed at the 16 to 35
market; it is hip and has a lot of bad

Skeem’s budget was “around R7m’.
Goodman-Byhat explains that they were
lucky to get great support from the
National Film and Video Foundation
“They became a cornerstone financier
that helped us raise the rest of the money.
We also had a UK pre-sale. Above that
we worked with a pool of very savvy
private investors who really do expect to
make a great profit out of this film,’
he says.

In terms of distribution Goodman-
Byhat is exploring all options. “What I
have learnt is that all over the world
studio films are handled completely
differently to independent films.
“South African distributors have a lot
of experience in putting out studio films
and have a solid model that works for
them. Local films, by contrast, resemble
American indie films much more closely
than studio films and so require a
different way of thinking about
marketing. We’ll be building a word of
mouth following rather than buying
adverts in media that our target audience
does not consume.’

Goodman-Bhyat notes that budget was
a major issue during production. “Making
independent films on a shoestring means
you are always under resourced and
everyone has to push themselves to the
limit. We had a brilliant cast and crew
who gave it their all.’
Skeem has a UK theatrical release
scheduled for next year and is represented
by a top sales agency.

SCREENAFRICA Print Magazine – October 2011 (view here)


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