South African cinema audiences can expect the release of Daryne Joshua’s directorial debut, Noem My Skollie, on Friday, 2 September 2016. The film, set in the Cape Flats and in Pollsmoor prison, is based on the life of scriptwriter John W. Fredericks.
Noem My Skollie tells the story of four teenagers, AB (Austin Rose) and his three best friends Gimba (Ethan Patton), Gif (Joshua Vraagom) and Shorty (Valentino de Klerk) who grow up in the impoverished ganglands of the Cape Flats in the 1960s. Despite their circumstances, the children try to avoid the gangsters who infiltrate their daily lives but when AB goes through a traumatic experience they decide to form a gang to protect themselves.
The four friends, now like brothers, do not commit serious crimes, but the police keep a close watch on them as they grow from teenagers into popular young men. Eventually the now older AB (Dann-jacques Mouton) and Gimba (Gantane Kusch) are arrested whilst breaking into a shop and sentenced to two years in jail. It is here, in the vicious world of prison, that AB decides to use his storytelling talent to entertain the hardened prisoners and raise his status whilst his friend, Gimba engages on a very different path to ensure his own safety.
When AB is released from prison he picks up on the relationship with his beautiful childhood sweetheart Jenny (Tarryn Wyngaard) and so tries to focus on writing his stories to impress her, but his gang friends persuade him to join them one last time, a decision that leads to shocking consequences for all of them.
Noem My Skollie is beautifully shot with intricate attention to the detail and the look and feel of the 1960’s period. The film features convincing performances from an array of South African talent, both old and new. Most importantly, the film is engaging and entertaining while delivering enormous emotional impact.
Noem My Skollie reflects on the themes of friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, acceptance, the desire for a better life, hope and love. The title of the film plays on the old adage that one should not judge a book by its cover and promotes the view that everyone has a gift even if it is sometimes hard to find, and even if that gift comes at a price.
John W. Fredericks, left school as a teenager and spent many years of his youth in jail and yet he has managed in his sixties to write a major screenplay. This film will resonate with audiences both locally and on a larger scale as it celebrates the triumph of the human spirit. The dialogue is in Afrikaans but the film is presented with English sub-titles.
The score was composed by Cape Town musician, Kyle Shepherd – winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award in 2014.
The cast also includes, among others, Christian Bennett, Gershwin Mias, Oscar Peterson, Abdu Adams, Peter Butler, Charlton George, Jill Levenberg, Denise Newman, Sandi Schultz, Andre Roothman, Paul du Toit and Irshaad Ally, as well as a stellar performance by newcomer David Manuel who plays the jail-boss and who was still serving his parole whilst the film was being made.
Noem My Skollie was produced by David Max Brown and Moshidi Motshegwa (Maxi-D Productions) in association with M-Net, kykNET, the NFVF and the DTI, and distributed by Ster Kinekor Entertainment.