Local film-maker David Moore’s upcoming Snaaks Genoeg production features a classy band of misfits. He shot the film in some of the most remote areas in the country to find awesome backdrops for this dark little comedy. JANE MAYNE found out more about offbeat Merweville.
“IT’S always funny…until someone gets hurt. Humour is a funny thing! It would seem nothing is funny unless someone feels the bite of a punchline. No bite, no funny and this is what Snaaks Genoeg (Funny Enough) is all about – the people who are at the brunt of a joke or in this case the clan, the Van Der Merwe’s who have been at the brunt of a nations humour for decades,” explains Moore.
“It was over 20 years ago while working in a takeaway shop in Epping (The Knuckle Sandwich) that this idea came to me. Having no money of my own I arranged meetings with various film-making companies, and although they invited me to tell the tale no one saw any future in, I put it on the backburner – until now,” he adds.
After making a “small” name for himself in this “crazy, difficult and sometimes rewarding industry”, he worked slowly to get this movie made. “Originally I wanted Tolla van der Merwe as the lead and Bill Flynn as the antagonist. The movie was then known as Van here to Eternity. Both sadly passed on before I got to make it. I then approached Marc Lottering and changed the name of the movie to Comic. He declined as he said he is a lousy actor. I did not agree, or disagree.”
Time marched on. “Actually it raced on and I wondered if I would ever make a full length movie. To make sure I had the ability to do so, I shot a low budget movie called Once Upon a Road Trip, which 80% of people seemed to love. I managed to sell this to a local channel and then set my sights on what became Snaaks Genoeg, and this is how it unfolded in the last year or so.”
Moore met with a friend in Joburg and over a couple of beers and a snack basket of samosas and kebabs, with his generous help they committed to making the film. “I mentioned that the only person I could now see in the lead was Casper de Vries. He happened to be a massive Casper fan. We shook on the deal.”
“Would Casper feel as excited? We invited him to a breakfast and he very kindly said yes he loved it, as it was something very original and quirky and ‘almost biographical’.”
The film’s premise is simple – a down-and-out comedian drifts from town to town working for food, accommodation, booze and enough cash to get him to the next town. “Okay Casper does not drink, so not all true, but anyway. So while he is out there trying to find his funny bone, real comedians are being murdered in very bizarre ways. Soli Philander is forced to swim to Robben Island in a speedo, but sadly cannot swim and well he does not make it. Barry Hilton is burnt with a steam iron, Jason Goliath is hung up in a shed with a rope around his stomach and asked to commit suicide and so on and so on.”
Why? “Well they have all told jokes that offended someone, and this someone wants to rid his family name of further ridicule. His name is Koos van der Merwe, played by a really good baddie, Tobie Cronje. Simple.”
“We shot Snaaks Genoeg in some of the most remote areas in the country to find the backdrops for this dark little comedy. We shot in the Tankwa, in Calvinia at the Vleis Fees, where we had a thousand unsuspecting extras, Williston at the Winter Fees, and then to a place called Merweville where Koos lives and controls his band of misfits – played by Robin B Smith, Ramey Short and Waldemar Schultz. Merweville exists and there are many Van der Merwes living there.”
It was always a dream for Moore to work with some of our countries best, and the film has more than its share of names. Sandra Prinsloo, Shaleen Surtie-Richards, Andre Roothman, Michelle Burger and others all help to bring this tale to life. “They admitted they did it because it was a little bit crazy.
Shaleen got the synopsis and simply said, ‘I am not even going to think about this one. It is a yes’. We also managed to get Tolla van der Merwe’s son, Wicus to do a cameo and represent his family.”
“Each person fitted in really well. It was like one epic road trip with celebrities in tow. Everyone fell in love with the Karoo again and again and the natural madness of the people out there.”
Although it felt like a “holiday” the actors gave their best. “Tobie Cronje always brings something magical to a movie and playing the bad guy here was the right choice. Something to be exploited again I think.”
He adds, “Casper gave so much of himself to this film which makes sense because he plays himself, but he is a true professional and an intelligent one at that. He gives and creates and does so without fuss. He did feel very much at home on set, as he brought both his dogs down for the full 5000km journey.
One never knows how things will work when making a movie and even big budget movies fail, but that is no reason for not trying and this movie seems to have worked, as 98% of people who have seen the preview seem to love it. This is already an 18% increase since our first movie. Those who have seen the entire film love it more the second time – a good sign!”
“Our aim is to entertain and this seems to be hitting the mark. It is a South African film. It is not an Afrikaans film, but rather a movie where people speak Afrikaans as that is the language most spoken in the areas we shot in. It is subtitled and the English speaking actors speak English – one conversation, many languages.”
So if you need a little madness, some good humour, a shock or two – all backed with a great soundtrack, then this is a must see. Look out for the upcoming release date.