Film deal for murder that captivated SA

Crime & Courts

Kimberley - The story of the Griquatown murders, when fifteen-year-old Don Steenkamp killed his father, Deon Steenkamp, his mother, Christel, and his sister, Marthella, will now head for the big screen after the Karoo Film Company announced that it acquired the film rights to the book “The Griekwastad Murders - The Crime that shook South Africa”, written by Jacques Steenkamp.

Don was found guilty of the murders, as well as rape and defeating the ends of justice in March 2014, shortly before Steenkamp’s book was released.

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Don Steenkamp, who was convicted of killing his father, mother and sister. Picture: Soraya CrowieFamily members at court during the Steenkamp murder trial. File photo: Danie Van der Lith

The Kimberley High Court last month sentenced the then seventeen-year-old to 20 years in jail.

It is believed that Don appealed his conviction and sentence on Tuesday.

Jacques Steenkamp followed the story since tragedy struck at the family’s farm in Griquatown on Good Friday, 2012.

The Karoo Film Company, co-owned by top South African crime writer, Deon Meyer, will now have the exclusive rights to convert the book into a movie for one year. The company was the driving force behind movies like the Die Laaste Tango, Alles Wat Mal Is and Die Ballade van Robbie de Wee.

Jacques Steenkamp on Tuesday said that having his book turned into a movie was “a dream come true” and added that that he was very excited to work alongside the legendary Meyer and Diony Kempen on this project. He confirmed that he would be responsible for writing the screenplay and Meyer was expected to produce the film.

Steenkamp said he met Deon Meyer earlier this year during the 2014 “The Bloody Book Week” book festival in Johannesburg, where Meyer asked Steenkamp to adapt his bestselling book into a screenplay for a feature film.

“The story of the Griquatown murders has a universal theme that will resonate with its audience. It has all the elements of a Greek tragedy, but it will be based on true events. The challenge with converting the book into a screenplay will be to tell a story, that is known by most South Africans, in a fresh and compelling way that will captivate a local and possible international audience.

“Because the story and subsequent court case were filled with so much twists and turns, there won’t be a need to add further surprises,” Steenkamp said.

Meyer added that he was “extremely proud” to be involved in the project with Jacques.

“His book - about a case that held the nation spellbound - is brilliant, and our goal and challenge will be to do justice to it,” Meyer said.

Steenkamp added that the film would probably be shot on location in Griquatown, if the screenplay was approved.

Steenkamp has been a journalist for about seven years. He also studied film in Britain.

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