Persverklaring: Vervaardigers van Toorbos vra ondersteuning vir inskrywing by 2021 se Oscar-toekennings

  • 0

Sedert die langverwagte uitreiking van die Knysnabosromanse Toorbos sowat ’n maand gelede het die rolprent goeie kommentaar gekry van sowel die publiek as kritici. Dit is gekies as Suid-Afrika se amptelike inskrywing vir die 93ste Oscar-toekennings (Academy Awards) in 2021 in die kategorie vir beste internasionale rolprente. Die vervaardigers van dié treffende drama, gebaseer op die internasionaal erkende Dalene Matthee se vierde bosroman (oorspronklik gepubliseer in 2003), moedig Suid-Afrikaners aan om die projek te ondersteun.

Die vervaardiger, Dries Scholtz, sê Suid-Afrikaners kan hieraan dink as die kulturele ekwivalent van die 2019 Wêreldbeker-rugbytoernooi. Maar in plaas van ondersteuning aan Siya Kolisi en die Springbokke, is dit nou vir ’n rolprent met ’n sterk vrouehoofkarakter (Elani Dekker as die fassinerende protagonis Karoliena Kapp) en ’n fokus op universele temas oor liefde, identiteit en waar ’n mens inpas. Die temas van ontbossing en omgewings-verwoesting is ook steeds besprekingspunte van ons tyd.

“So ’n Oscar-toekenningsveldtog is ’n peperduur proses,” verduidelik Scholtz. “Rolprente uit Afrika kan maklik oor die hoof gesien word deur die beoordelingspaneel, eenvoudig omdat hulle nie voldoende fondse het om genoeg blootstelling en publisiteit te genereer om raakgesien te word nie.”

Volgens die Academy se reëls hoef Oscar-paneellede net 10 uit die 90 rolprente op die jaarlikse langlys te kyk. “Om Toorbos op hulle kyklys te kry, moet ons ’n groot en doelgerigte mediaveldtog in die VSA loods. Ons het al die hulp nodig wat ons van plaaslike korporatiewe of organisasieborge kan kry om ons droom waar te maak. Enige hulp van organisasies of maatskappye kan ’n groot verskil maak aan die rolprent se Oscar-sukses. Ook individue kan help, selfs al gaan kyk mense dit bloot in fliekteaters of deur DStv Box Office (ook beskikbaar vir nie-intekenare). Elke sent help.”

“As ’n land het ons so iets nodig,” sê Scholtz. “Dit was ’n rowwe jaar vir ons almal. Vir die rolprentbedryf, toerisme, almal. Knysna het dit nodig. Met die Tuinroete se strande wat toe is oor Desember kan ons ten minste die gebied in die plaaslike en internasionale oog hou met Toorbos, wat die streek se asemrowende skoonheid uitbeeld. Om op die kortlys en selfs verder te kom, kan baie goed wees vir Suid-Afrika se moraal en ook inkomste genereer.”

Conrad Steenkamp, uitvoerende hoof van die Afrikaanse Taalraad, wat saam met die vervaardigers aan die veldtog werk, sê hy wil korporatiewe maatskappye aanmoedig om die film se Oscar-inskrywing te borg. “Toorbos is ’n wêreldklas tuiskandidaat vir ’n Oscar-toekenning, maar die inskrywing kan struikel omdat die sisteem in Hollywood dit vir rolprente uit lande soos Suid-Afrika te duur maak om die beoordelaars se oog te vang. Toorbos moet opvallend aanlyn teenwoordig wees en mense moet op sosiale media daaroor praat. Mediadekking in Hollywood kos geld. Die Afrikaanse Taalraad hoop dus weldoeners sal hierdie geleentheid aangryp om ’n slag vir die Suid-Afrikaanse rolprentbedryf en Afrikaans as inheemse taal te slaan.”

Toorbos is geregisseer deur René van Rooyen, wat ook Matthee se topverkoper vir die skerm aangepas het. Van Rooyen is die derde Suid-Afrikaanse vrou wat Suid-Afrika op die Oscar-langlys verteenwoordig. Sy volg in die voetspore van Katinka Heyns vir Paljas in 1997 en Jann Turner vir White Wedding in 2009. “Toorbos is ’n wonderlike vakansiekeuse vir Suid-Afrikaners oor die feesseisoen,” sê sy. “Dit was vir my ’n liefdestaak. Die proses het meer as agt jaar geneem en ek wil dit graag met soveel mense as moontlik deel.”

Sonél Brits, besturende direkteur van die ATKV-MSW (nog ’n ondersteuner van die veldtog), sê die rolprent laat ’n belangrike voetspoor vir Afrikaans, plaaslik sowel as internasionaal. Dit is aktueel ter sake en lig die rol van die vrou en haar relevansie uit, al speel die verhaal amper 100 jaar gelede af. “Storievertel is ’n wonderlike instrument om konteks te skep, begrip te kweek en in te lig. Toorbos as boek het duisende mense oor die wêreld bereik en is in meer as tien tale vertaal. Dit het nuwe wêrelde oopgemaak vir ’n groter wêreldgehoor. Die rolprent doen dieselfde, net deur ’n ander medium. Die kwessie van vrouebemagtiging en -identiteit, asook ’n sentrale omgewingstema, sluit baie nou aan by vandag se tydsgees. Die film het ’n baie goeie kans om genomineer te word indien ons almal ons deel doen om dit daar te kry.”

Suid-Afrika skryf sedert 1989 rolprente in vir die Academy Awards se kategorie vir beste internasionale rolprente. Vorige Suid-Afrikaanse Oscar-nominasies in dié kategorie was Darrel Roodt se Yesterday en Gavin Hood se Tsotsi, wat gewen het by die 78ste Academy Awards in 2006.

Kyk Toorbos op DStv Box Office tot 11 Januarie 2021 (R40 vir nie-intekenare en R35 vir intekenare) of by plaaslike Ster-Kinekor- en Nu Metro-teaters, waar dit nog tot einde Desember wys en hopelik nog ’n week of twee in Januarie ook.

Foto: The Film Factory

 


 

In the month since the much-anticipated release of local Knysna forest romance Toorbos, the film has gained popular and critical recognition with its official selection as South Africa’s submission to the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021 in the Best International Feature Film category. Now the producers of the beautifully shot epic, based on internationally acclaimed author Dalene Matthee’s fourth forest novel (first published in 2003), are urging South Africans to get behind the project.

The film’s producer, Dries Scholtz, believes South Africans should think of this as the cultural equivalent to the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Except instead of Siya Kolisi and the Bokke, this time locals will be supporting a female-helmed, indigenous-language film, with a strong female lead character (Elani Dekker as compelling protagonist Karoliena Kapp) that speaks of universal themes about love, identity and belonging. It simultaneously addresses the theme of deforestation and environmental devastation, a talking point of our times.

“An Academy Awards campaign is an extremely costly process,” explains Scholtz. “Films from the African continent can easily be overlooked by the judging panel simply because they don’t have enough funds to generate adequate exposure and publicity to get noticed.”

According to Academy rules, Oscar award officials are only required to view 10 out of the 90 films on the annual long list. “To get them to include Toorbos on their watchlist is going to mean a targeted, big-budget US media campaign. We need all the help we can get from local corporate or organisational sponsors to realise our dream. Any organisation or company that helps could make all the difference to the film’s Oscar success. The same goes for individual support, even if people just watch it in cinemas or stream it on DStv Box Office (also accessible to non-subscribers). Every cent helps.”

“As a country we need this,” Scholtz says. “It has been a tough year for all of us. For the film industry, the tourism industry, everyone. Knysna needs this. With Garden Route beach closures over December, at least we can keep the area in the local and international eye through Toorbos, which showcases the region’s breathtaking beauty. Making it onto the shortlist and beyond could be both a huge morale booster and income generator for South Africa.”

Conrad Steenkamp, CEO of the Afrikaanse Taalraad, which is working alongside the producers to support the campaign, says he wants to encourage corporate businesses to sponsor the film’s prestigious Oscar bid. “This is a world-class film and a genuinely strong candidate. It would be a shame to see it stumble because the system in Hollywood makes it too expensive for films from countries like South Africa to catch the eye of the judges. Toorbos must have a strong online presence and we need people to talk about it on social media. To get coverage in the Hollywood media costs old-fashioned money. We urge sponsors to seize this opportunity to make a difference for Afrikaans as an indigenous language and the South African film industry at large.”

Toorbos was directed by René van Rooyen, who also adapted Matthee’s bestseller for screen. Van Rooyen is only the third South African woman to represent South Africa on the Oscar longlist, following in the footsteps of Katinka Heyns for Paljas in 1997 and Jann Turner for White Wedding in 2009. “Toorbos is a great holiday film choice for South Africans over the festive season,” she observes. “It was a labour of love for me to make it, and the process took over eight years. I would love to share it with as many people as possible.”

Says Sonél Brits, managing director of the ATKV-NPO (one of the campaign’s supporters): “This quintessentially South African story with a strong female lead has a lot of contemporary relevance, even though the story takes place almost 100 years ago. Storytelling is a wonderful tool for creating context, cultivating understanding and informing people about issues of the day. As a bestselling novel, Toorbos reached thousands of people across the globe and was translated into over ten languages. It helped open up new worlds to a larger world audience. Now this film version continues that legacy. Issues of female empowerment and identity, along with a central environmental theme, relate very much to today’s zeitgeist. This film has a strong chance of nomination if we all play our part to get it there.”

South Africa has submitted films for the Academy Award for Best International Feature since 1989. Two South African films have been nominated for what was previously known as the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film – Darrell Roodt’s Yesterday and Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, which won the Academy Award at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006.

Stream Toorbos on DStv Box Office until 11 January 2021 (R40 for non-subscribers and R35 for subscribers) or watch it at local Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro cinemas where it is still on circuit until the end of December (and hopefully a week or two into January as well.)

Photo: The Film Factory

  • 0

Reageer

Jou e-posadres sal nie gepubliseer word nie. Kommentaar is onderhewig aan moderering.


 

Top