South African thriller iNumber Number, written and directed by Donovan Marsh, features one of the country’s rising young actors, S’dumo Mtshali in the lead role of Chili, an honest, undercover cop.
Discovered when he entered and won the SABC1 reality competition Class Act in 2010, Mtshali landed his first leading role in Intersexions, a drama series on SABC1, which won a Peabody Award in 2011. In that year, Mtshali starred in a recurring role on the hit daily drama, Rhythm City.
He went on to star as Kuti Daniels in SABC1’s drama series set in the glamorous fashion world called TempyPushas and in 2012, he played Spikiri in the feature film, Inside Story, directed by Rolie Nikiwe and produced by Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership and Quizzical Pictures. Mtshali has starred as Sibusiso or “S’bu’ Ndlovu in the Mzansi Magic telenovela, isiBaya in 2013 and 2014.
As the winner of Class Act, Mtshali’s prize included representation from Moonyeenn Lee and Associates, the top South African casting agency, an eight-week acting course at New York Film Academy and the lead role in iNumber Number.
Says Mtshali: “To star in a film where corruption is the norm and gangsters from the streets of Soweto and Johannesburg relate to each other in ‘tsotsi taal’ was a huge amount of fun for me, as well as an exciting step up in my career.”
iNumber Number recently won the Audience Choice Award at the 2014 Jozi Film Festival, an indication of what a crowd pleaser the film is. “This is a top-quality film with outstanding performances,” comments Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing iNumber Number in South Africa. “S’dumo shines in the lead role and it’s not hard to see why he’s becoming so popular with local audiences. He’s a talent to watch.”
“As a heist movie, the film has an intricate plot and S’dumo delivers on every level,” adds producer Harriet Gavshon. “Chili is an essentially good guy who is disappointed because the system he believes in lets him down. Torn between participating in the caper and saving (his friend and partner) Shoes, Chili attempts to do both. When it becomes clear that innocent guards are going to be killed during the heist, Chili must decide if he is going to let the heist go down or not. S’dumo captures Chili’s struggle as the film reaches its climax.”
iNumber Number is award-winning director, writer and editor, Donovan Marsh’s fourth film. He has worked in the industry since 1992 and wrote and directed the feature films Dollars and White Pipes, Spud and Spud 2: The Madness Continues.
iNumber Number had its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival in September 2013. Wrekin Hill Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based production and distribution company, has acquired the North American rights to iNumber Number and is planning a US nationwide theatrical release of the film in the spring of 2014. At the end of last year, Universal Pictures optioned the remake rights to iNumber Number.
Concludes Gavshon: “It’s a major coup for us as filmmakers because it highlights the quality of the film. The international film market is highly competitive and securing a US release and a remake are big wins.”
iNumber Number was produced by Marsh, Quizzical Pictures’ Harriet Gavshon, JP Potgieter and Mariki van der Walt, and executive produced by NimGeva and Owen Kessel.
The movie releases nationwide in South Africa on 25 April.