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Flats ‘extras’ give life to gang film

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A scene from the new Cape ganglands thriller Four Corners, in which 26s gang leader Gasant (Irshaad Ally) leads teenage rebel Ricardo (Jezriel Skei) and friends through the mean streets of a Cape Flats area.

Cape Town - Actors Irshaad Ally and Brendon Daniels were born in the ganglands on the Cape Flats and for the past year they have used their upbringing to shed light on the harsh realities of gang violence in the new crime thriller Four Corners.

Its official release is on February 28.

The movie, produced by Giant Films and Moonlighting Films, features Jezriel Skei playing Ricardo, a 13-year-old Cape Flats chess protégé having to choose between joining a gang or playing chess.

His father, Farakhan, played by Brendon Daniels, is the leader. He also plays the 28s gang boss in Pollsmoor Prison.

“We knew we needed to make our film in the real districts of the Cape Flats, in the shadows of the turf war, because our first responsibility was to tell the truth as much as we could,” director Ian Gabriel said.

The cast includes Lindiwe Matshikiza, who played Zindzi Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, beginners, non-actors and several first time teenage actors from schools, chess clubs and communities across the Cape Flats.

Four Corners is Daniels’s first lead role in a feature film.

“I am extremely privileged to have been a part of Four Corners, as the film offered the opportunity to shine a spotlight on a story of fatherhood and hope.

“It focuses our attention on a segment of the South African community that has many stories to tell, yet these are seldom told on film.”

 

Daniels grew up on the Cape Flats. He first acted in the theatre and then moved into film and television.

Irshaad Ally, who plays Gasant America, a 26s gang leader: “For me Gasant is the kind of guy that had to own the room when he walked into it. Either that or he would make sure that he could know or align himself with the guy at the top.

“All Gasant knows was the gangster life – be it with the numbers or his gangster brothers outside. And in the gang life respect is earned by taking control – whether by mentally overriding someone’s thinking or by violence. It doesn’t matter how you win.”

The movie cost R10 million to make “I searched for locations myself. I went to Belhar, Eerste River, Elsies River and other areas to meet with the residents and ask for help with the movie.

“They responded very well, and especially the mothers in the areas were excited,” Gabriel said.

“We cast ex-gangsters, ex- prisoners and kids from tough neighbourhoods like Belhar who know first-hand what this story is really about,” Gabriel said. - Cape Times

jason.felix@inl.co.za


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