Akin Omotoso (pictured) has surprised the film industry by writing and directing a romantic comedy.
Known for the serious topics in his films, Omotoso has chosen a romantic comedy with the name Tell Me Sweet Something. The film is set to release next year and stars Maps Maponyane (Rockville) and Nomzamo Mbatha (Isibaya).
“The chemistry between the two of them was great,” said Omotoso. “The camera loves them. They are really beautiful, great actors. This is their first film.”
The film also stars Kagiso Lediga, Thomas Gumede and Thembi Seete.
The film is about an aspiring writer whose work was rejected as a teenager.
“She never wrote a book since then,” explained Omotoso.
“We find her later on in life when she owns a bookshop in the centre of town. She meets Maponyane’s character. He is a model who has never read a book in his life.”
The film was shot in and around Maboneng and Braamfontein.
“We looked at the city not from the violence of the streets, but the way you would look at the city if you were in love.”
The film was co-written by himself and his partner, Robbie Thorpe. It was initially work-shopped with funding from the African Women’s Development Fund.
“I always had an idea to do a romantic comedy after watching Love Jones in the late ’90s,” he said.
When he won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Film he took that money and finished Jesus and the Giant, which was made using stop-frame photography. The movie was shown at the Toronto Film Festival.
“The award helped me finish the film and I remember feeling great that I was recognised.”
When the African Women’s Development Fund saw the film, it invited him to a conference about Nollywood and the representation of women.
This conference led to more funding for Omotoso to workshop the idea for the film.
“I took five actors and we work shopped the idea of a love story in Joburg.”
He then went away and he and Thorpe worked on the script.
They received more funding and took another five actors and workshopped for a month. Then for two years he and Thorpe worked on the script. The whole process took four years and filming began earlier this year. The film shoot is finished.