Labour of love pays off for filmmaker
AFTER almost nine years of "working on projects that nobody wants", Ntshavheni Wa Luruli has finally entered the big time with his new film Elelwani, which will open the Durban International Film Festival.
But Elelwani nearly landed in the pile of "abandoned projects", according to Wa Luruli.
"I approached the SABC and, after they gave me a lengthy runaround and finally rejected my proposal, I decided to make a feature film, which turned out to be even more difficult," Wa Luruli said at the weekend.
But no sooner had he given up on the project then Florian Schattauer turned up to resuscitate the film and produce it.
The film is based on Titus Maumela's novel of the same name. The original story is set in the 1950s but director Wa Luruli adapted it to make it contemporary.
It is set in Venda, Limpopo, in post-apartheid South Africa and is about a liberal young woman (played by Florence Masebe) who tries to shed her culture but later learns to appreciate its value.
Masebe has been in some of the biggest soapies in the country, including Generations, 7de Laan and Muvhango.
Wa Luruli has chosen to kick-start his career by revisiting and retelling stories of the difficult times that have been forgotten.
"People were not interested in funding a film about amaShangani - a little tribe some people didn't even consider South African," he said, adding that lots of Vendas and Shangaans were killed during the xenophobic riots of 2008.
"I pray and hope that people will see the film not just as a Venda film but on its merits as a human story that touches humanity everywhere."
The Durban International Film Festival takes place from July 19 to July 29 and will show more than 250 films - most of which will be making their premieres.