SOUTH AFRICAN-BORN FILM MAKERS ARE BRINGING HOLLYWOOD HOME!
Henk Pretorius of Dark Matter Studios subscribes to the philosophy that you have to make it in the entertainment industry in your own country, before trying to do it on the international scene. In March 2014, the SAFTA nominations were made public and it included a nomination for South African director and script writer, Henk Pretorius. Pretorius has been nominated as best director, as well as best co-writer, for the feature film, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, and the awards ceremony will take place on 4 and 5 April 2014.
In 2011 Pretorius took on the international film festival circuit with Fanie Fourie’s Lobola and to date this movie has won the audience award at three international film festivals, including the prestigious Seattle Film Festival in 2013, and the award for best comedy film at the 2013 Sedona Film Festival in Arizona. Pretorius’s 10 successful years in the entertainment industry also includes directing and writing the scripts for the Bakgat 1&2 series. After being nominated by the Mail & Guardian as one of the 200 most inspirational young South Africans of 2013, Pretorius set out to bring Hollywood to South Africa with his latest film, Leading Lady.
He joined forces with London-based and South African-born leadership and business professional, Llewelynn Greeff; they are co-owners of the highly successful production company, Dark Matter Studios, based in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Greeff graduated from Oxford Brookes University (UK) and divides his time between South Africa and London, constantly searching for new business opportunities.
In 2013 Greeff encouraged Pretorius to go to Los Angeles to find internationally recognisable talent for Dark Matter Studios’ international flagship project, Leading Lady – a cross-continental love story. After six weeks and more than 20 meetings with talent agents, studios and actors, Pretorius was certain that he found the perfect cast! The film is currently in its post-production phase and is due for international release shortly, with local talent Bok van Blerk and Brümilda van Rensburg rubbing shoulders with well-known Irish actress, Katie McGrath (Dracula, Merlin) and hunky, veteran Hollywood actor, Gil Bellows (Ally McBeal, Shawshank Redemption).
Leading Lady tells the story of an aspiring British actress, Jodi Rutherford, who persuades Kobus Willemse, a farmer from Brandfort, to prepare her for a role in a major film as an Afrikaans war heroine. In return Jodi undertakes to arrange and direct the annual concert at the Willemse farm.
Jodi’s interaction with the quirky, small-town citizens of Brandfort and the stubborn Kobus, teaches her that there is more to life than Hollywood’s “lights, camera, action!” or is there…?
After Katie McGrath read the script of Leading Lady, she immediately confirmed that she would love to come to South Africa to act opposite Bok van Blerk – and, suddenly, everyone started to feel that local is getting a lot more “lekker”! One needs to remember that this remarkable actress recently shared the silver screen with Hollywood ‘A-lister’, Jonathan Reese Meyers in Dracula.
Leading Lady will hit the local movie circuit on 28 November 2014 and is distributed by Ster Kinekor Entertainment. The teaser trailer for the film will be released at 12h00 on Friday, 28 March 2014.