Producer Thapelo Mokoena and writer and director Lungelo Mdlalose of Easy Sundays Production have chosen a sublime yet just as dangerous substance in their film about addiction.
Called Skyf, the film is about nicotine addiction. Rather than come in with some hard-hitting substance addiction like heroin or alcohol, the two young filmmakers are tackling the insidious nature of addiction by the smallest decisions we make as addicts.
Explains Mdlalose: “The story is about addiction and how, in one day, because you can’t control your addiction, by the time you go to sleep you will have a totally different life. It’s about the choices you make.”
“I remember when I used to smoke cigarettes,” continues lead actress Nompumelelo Mayiyane, “I was always distracted for that next fix. People are generally distracted if they are addicted to something, even if it’s smoking.”
The cast is comprised of young, mostly unknown actors. Mokoena plays the lead role, while Channel O’s latest addition, Dineo Moeketsi, makes her debut film appearance, as does DJ and television presenter Siyabonga Nkwekwesi. Judging by the adverts already on youtube, the film looks pacy and fresh.
Skyf opens at Ster-Kinekor Junctions on April 1, with a DVD release on April 7. However, the film’s makers have much bigger plans for their offering.
Mokoena takes up the story: “The idea started off as a public service announce-ment. We were tired of filming government seminars and wanted to do something that could win us a Vuka Award, which would open doors for us. It then became too much of a big concept to be an advert and finally turned into a 95-minute film.”
Armed with the film and the message of addiction, these entrepreneurs turned to government with a great idea and government loved it, particularly the Department of Health.
Towards the end of the year Skyf will embark on a national roadshow with a plan to educate pupils about the dangers of smoking.
“With this film we want to reach people who don’t normally go to movies, people in the rural areas, the townships,” says Mokoena. “We will be arriving at a town or village on the Monday where the cast and a professional health team will give talks on the dangers of addiction.
“We are also planning film workshops as well as talks on issues facing teenagers.”
Throughout the week representatives of the community will sell tickets for a mini premiere of the film, complete with a red-carpet arrival. The film will be screened and it will be rounded off by music performances.
They will also use independent DVD sellers in the Chicco Twala style to sell the DVDs.
“This is not a hectic anti-smoking movie,” says Mdlalose. “We’re not preaching. Instead, we’re dealing with the decision one makes to feed an addiction. When we were shooting a woman driving towards us dropped her lighter and nearly crashed into us.
“Skyf speaks about the community and how your decisions affect everyone,” he continues.
“One person’s life influences other people’s lives so take your own life seriously.”
The film is the first in a five-year plan Mokoena and Mdlalose are determined make come true. They want to make a feature film every year for the next half a decade on social issues affecting South Africa.
While they are running around promoting Skyf, in the back of their minds they are already formulating a script for their next project.