Domestic abuse in focus


The first in a trilogy of South Africa feature films about domestic violence, I Don’t!, premieres in Gauteng on 29 February.

According to the film’s producer and CEO of Turning Heads, Nonkululeko Ndlovu, the idea for the trilogy came about late last year when a colleague expressed the desire to make a movie about domestic violence.

“This subject touched my heart as I myself am a survivor of domestic violence,” explains Ndlovu. “I went through it, I contributed to some of the issues, I moved on, I forgave and turned my pain into purpose. Domestic abuse is rife in South Africa, with over 51% of women in Gauteng affected by it.”

Ndolovu penned the script about an abused wife, partly based on her experiences. Marina Bekker, who directed the film with Dare Oluwasanmi, edited the script.

The film’s budget of just under R1m was offset by product placement and deferred payment contracts. “We all doubled up on jobs because we had very little money,” says Ndolovu.
Bekker and Oluwasanmi, who also handled production logistics, filmed on a Canon 7D for four weeks over November and December. The film’s trailer was ready for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign in December.

Ndlovu describes the shoot, which took place in Blairgowrie, Northcliff on Malibongwe and Bryanston Drives, as very taxing but rewarding.

“It’s been a learning process,” she continues. “We had to contend with extremely limited resources but are now able to laugh about some of the challenges we went through. The production team was stellar and I felt really safe in the hands of my directors, my co-producers and the team in the office.”

A serious hiccup on the shoot saw an actress on call involved in an accident with a taxi. The scene was rescheduled with a new actress who then suffered epileptic seizures just before filming commenced. Ndlovu’s marketing and sponsorship assistant Khanyi Mthembu had to step in and do the part.

The Gauteng Film Commission (CFC) will assist with the film’s distribution with a new anti-piracy model that will reach shopping centres, taxi ranks, rural areas and film festivals. Plans are afoot to distribute the film in Nigeria and the US too.

Penny Lebyane’s Find your Wings organisation, together with Turning Heads, will also champion the movement beyond the films.

The sequels I do Again and Never Again!!! go into production in April 2012 and July 2012 respectively.

“I decided to do a trilogy of films because I felt the subject matter couldn’t be compressed into one feature. Like addiction, it is important to show the cycle of abuse,” concludes Ndlovu.


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