A scene from the surreal movie, Noem My Skollie. Picture: Supplied

Homegrown stories always resonate strongly with audiences. And Noem My Skollie has done just that. In fact, the feature film has walked away with 10 nominations, putting it in the lead.

It’s gotten nods for Best Feature Film, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Scriptwriting, Best Achievement in Editing, Best Achievement in Production Design, Best Achievement in Original Music/Score, Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling, Best Actor (Dan Jaques Mouton) and Best Supporting Actor (Abdurahgmaan Adams).

Following close behind, with nine nominations, is Shepherds and Butchers. The productions Sink (eight nominations) and Modder en Bloed (six nods) are also strong contenders.

Emotions ran high for the cast, crew and producers of Noem My Skollie.

Producer David Max Brown says, “You know, I’ve sat in those sessions where the nominations were announced and your name isn’t called.

“To be sitting there – getting 10 nominations – was just incredible.”

Shedding light on the conception of this project, he recalls, “I met John (W. Fredericks) in 2002. He was writing a trilogy.

“It was a story that started in Madagascar, went through the slave trade and kind of caught up on his own life… and we ended up writing one film because I thought we would never manage to do a trilogy. So, we did one that had aspects of the other two ideas. ”

He adds, “The story is part fable, part historical and much of it is based on the true story of John’s life.”

When asked about the funding process, which is always a bumpy process, Max Brown reveals, “Everybody thinks you need to have a budget of about R6 or R7 million.

“That you need to make it with one location and about five people. We had 50 speaking parts and 47 locations.”

Despite negative remarks meant to detract them from making the film, deemed at first to appeal only to a niche market, the gravitas of the script twisted the right arms to secure funding.

“Soon everyone came out of the woodwork, put their hands up and said, ‘I’m in!’ ”

Prior to filming, Daryne Joshua needed to know how they were going to steer the story.

Max Brown recalls, “The director asked me, ‘Who’s really the audience?’ Luckily, I had been to the township where he (the writer) grew up in the Cape Flats and met his mother and stepfather, and I said: ‘Make it for them.’ That helped him focus (the film) to that taste.”

Any concerns about it being too violent or of there being too many sex scenes and nudity were quashed.

He notes, “It’s not gratuitous. It’s part of the story. And it is very universal, too.”

Even the prisoners at Pollsmoor prison, where they did a screening, gave the film their stamp of approval for its authentic storytelling.

While Max Brown contemplates his next undertaking (not that he is a rookie producer, as he has over two decades of experience under his belt, making documentaries and TV dramas), the team and he are busy making plans for the big weekend, where the outcome of all the nominations will be unveiled.