Back to the mainstream


After concentrating on religious films and TV productions for many years, well-
known South Africa director Regardt van den Bergh (Faith Like Potatoes) recently
broke away to focus once more on mainstream films.

Following the feature film Die Ongelooflike Avonture van Hanna Hoekom and the
critically acclaimed TV series Vloeksteen for Afrikaans-language pay-TV channel
kykNET, Van den Bergh completed Klein Karoo, which is currently on release at
the local box office and distributed by Indigenous Films.

Klein Karoo is a romantic comedy about a young high school teacher in the
Swartberg close to Oudtshoorn, who tries to enhance the lives of the children in
the valley and at the same time fight the evils of alcoholism.

The film stars Donnalee Roberts, Tim Theron and Hykie Berg. Popular musician
Chris Chameleon was responsible for the music score.

Van den Bergh explains his move back into mainstream cinema: “My main priority
is to work on Christian films, but as a freelance director it is sometimes
necessary to do mainstream work as well, as long as the film tells a good story.
It seems like I have received a second breath of life with all the mainstream
work coming my way.

“During the past few decades I mostly directed films, but recently I revisited
being in front of the camera as an actor in an international film. I play the role of
a real baddie, totally out of synch with how I’m known locally.’

To the layman, Christian movies may seem to have a limited market but Van den
Bergh believes the audience for religious films is unbelievably vast.

“I’m somewhat disappointed that I don’t own royalties to Visual Bible: Gospel of
Matthew, which I completed in 1993. To date the series has earned more than
R1bn and copies of the DVD are still sold worldwide.

“Faith Like Potatoes did well in South Africa, breaking even at the box office and
selling two million DVDs,’ notes Van den Bergh.

His next two productions are once again religious works: The Lamb and

Van den Bergh is in the process of acquiring funds to produce The Lamb, which
tells the story of a world torn apart by religion and politics, in a time of promise
and expectation in which an astounding story of reconciliation unfolds.
Despite pressure that international stars should be contracted for big films, Van
den Bergh plans to cast as many local actors as possible.

The script for Tertullus is still being written. It deals with a first century Jewish
lawman who saves a convicted person from being executed.


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