Two films currently in production, one local and one international, both deal with the contemporary Cape Flats gangland crisis that has continued to make headlines throughout the year. Principal photography wrapped this week on Four Corners, the Cape ganglands coming of age thriller directed by Ian Gabriel and produced by Giant Films and Moonlighting Films with producers Genevieve Hofmeyr and Cindy Gabriel.
Meanwhile cameras have started to roll on international French crime drama Zulu, also set in the Cape Flats, starring Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker.
The screenplay for Four Corners, based on an original idea by Ian Gabriel and Hofmeyr Scholtz, was developed over several years and was written by Hofmeyr Scholtz and Terence Hammond. Ian Gabriel’s previous film Forgiveness was last year listed as one of the 10 Best African films of the past decade on CNN’s African Voices programme.
With over 60 speaking parts and four intersecting stories, Four Corners is an ambitious, epic “low budget’ South African film, with real people, non-actors and first time actors working alongside a cast of established acting talent and young newcomers drawn from schools and communities across the Cape Flats.
“We took the unusual step of starting with casting almost a year before principal photography began, finding and where necessary training the broad range of characters the film needed,’ said producer Cindy Gabriel. “Our biggest challenge was to find the several young teen roles in the film, which took casting director Moonyeenn Lee working with Jody Abrahams numerous visits and outings into the Flats. Extensive castings for the key gangster roles were run by casting director Amin Grey who cast with an eye and ear for an authentic gang style, body language and dialogue. Several key speaking roles in the film are played by ex and reformed gang members sourced from various outreach programmes based across the Flats.’
Four Corners is set entirely in the local Cape Flats communities. “We were determined to work well within the communities and spent several months in advance of production getting to know community and neighbourhood personalities. The film was welcomed as a great opportunity by local leaders, in areas which we were often reminded constitute South Africa’s “forgotten communities’. Part of our objective was to create training and opportunities for sustainable filmmaking and film storytelling on the Flats. The actors and crew members we recruited and trained intend to continue to work in film and performance in the future, using what they’ve learnt on Four Corners as the basis for continued film work.’
To make a lasting contribution to some of the communities, Four Corners donated over a hundred trees from the Trees For All campaign, to be planted in in the neighbourhoods where the film is set, in the hope that film storytelling will continue to take root in these areas.
Four Corners is funded by the Industrial Development Corporation, Giant Films and the National Film and Video Foundation.
It is scheduled for local and international release in mid-2013.