The South African filmmaker known as Uzanenkosi has struck a deal with a Hollywood distributor that will see his debut feature film, uSkroef no Sexy, released internationally on DVD, VOD and repurposed into a 21-part iFlick web series.
Producer Alan von Kalckreuth of Los Angeles-based Argonaut Films will oversee the international cut, packaging and marketing. He describes uSkroef no Sexy, a story about two best friends who dream of moving up in life, “as a story the world can relate to’.
Shot in English, Zulu, Tsotsitaal and Sotho, the title of the film refers to the two main characters of the film, Skroef and Sexy.
Uzanenkosi of Ants Multimedia wrote, directed and produced the film, which he made with a two-man production team.
He came into contact with Von Kalckreuth in 2008, when he created PITCHIT.CO.ZA to afford African filmmakers the opportunity to pitch to producers without leaving their rooms.
“One of my email requests to advance PITCHIT.CO.ZA landed before Nigel Lythgoe, the creator of So You Think You Can Dance, and he forwarded my request to Alan. At the time he was a member of the BAFTA-LA committee, which could assist me with my request. We met for the first time last year and have been in contact ever since.’
Uzanenkosi believes Von Kalckreuth was attracted to the film because it was shot specifically for a South African audience, without thinking about film festivals.
“I also didn’t have the burden of trying to please an international audience that I had no way of knowing how to please. Perhaps because of this the film ended up being a unique glimpse of a world that everyone anywhere in the world can relate to,’ he explains.
However, changing the title for international release is proving to be a challenge. Uzanenkosi continues: “I am scratching my head. Silent film comedy stars Laurel and Hardy are international enough, but Skroef and Sexy are as international as my name, which is not at all. So far, the only title I’ve been able to come up with is One Flew Over A Cuckoo’s Nest & Two Remained? Obviously, I can’t use that.’
He cites the inspiration for his script as Jesse B Semple. “Jesse was a character created by Langston Hughes in 1940 to represent the black man of his America. When you fast-forward to today, in South Africa, you find Skroef and Sexy. Alan is convinced they exist everywhere.’
The web deal is ironic for Uzanenkosi because early last year he launched FlipAfrica.tv and generated similar content.
“Now there’s this opportunity to do the same at a much bigger scale of course. I guess I was in training for iFlick, without knowing it,’ he comments.
Because the film was shot as a feature there is not enough existing footage for the web series.
“Alan believes any additional shoots will be to a minimum. I hope his idea of minimum and mine are the same,’ comments Uzanenkosi.
Currently in post-production, the film was shot in October last year in and around Soweto and Johannesburg, with a budget of just over R800 000. The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) funded Uzanenkosi to the tune of R100 000 and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) came in at R412 000. The rest of the budget came out of his own pocket.
Uzanenkosi is looking at a June / July 2013 release.
uSkroef noSexy stars Khaya Mthembu, Given Khumalo and Kelly Khumalo.
screen africa magazine – march 2013