This year, Women’s Day will be celebrated in style with the release of the award-winning actor, screenwriter, producer and television presenter (Fliek Foendies on kykNET) Ivan Botha’s long-awaited directorial debut, STROOMOP, which is currently being filmed.
Botha is best known for his role in the Bakgat movie franchise, as well as for starring in two of the most successful South African box office hits, Pad na jou Hart and Vir Altyd, opposite Donnalee Roberts, who not only co-wrote and -produced this inspirational movie, but who also plays the leading role. Ivan, who is always seeking new challenges, is looking forward to being in the director’s seat: “I am excited to be at the helm of STROOMOP and look forward to working on it alongside the right team.”
An experienced film crew that includes, among others, the seasoned cinematographer Tom Marais and co-producer Danie Bester, has just started shooting this gripping adventure, which takes place in the Onseepkans area on the Orange River. “Tom and I met on the set of Bakgat 1 and promised one another that, when I got round to directing my first film, he would be there for me. Ten years on and here we are, on our very own adventure,” says Ivan. Describing the pristine Northern Cape jewel that serves as the setting for the project, Donnalee says: “This part of the country has the indescribable ability to make you stand quietly… in awe… and to take your soul to go on an unforgettable journey.”
STROOMOP tells the story of five women being tossed about by life’s rough waters and drowning in their own lives. Together they not only have to fight tears, fears and pain, but they must also fight for survival in this exciting white river rafting adventure on the Orange River. The film offers hilarious laugh-out-loud moments that make you realise that sometimes you simply have to accept your circumstances and make the most of it. In fact, sometimes you will have to swim against the current to discover that you are more than enough, and that you possess everything you need to overcome what the river of life may float your way.
The film boasts a strong cast; each of the actresses had to undergo training to not only be authentic on screen, but also to be safe on the water. “My character finds herself in a situation where she must take the lead in rough waters, so it was crucial for me to be fully prepared for the challenges of filming on the river,” explains Donnalee, who has won numerous awards, including Huisgenoot Tempo’s for Best Actress and Best Feature Film.
MEET THE CHARACTERS
Donnalee Roberts plays Lana, a surgeon with a tragic past. She lives for her work and is passionate about saving lives, because she was unable to save her own parents. However, when she loses this gift due to an old injury, her identity is challenged, and she is forced to rediscover herself.
* The actress, famous for her roles in Ballade vir ’n Enkeling, Pad na jou Hart, Vir Altyd, Klein Karoo and 7de Laan, holds a BA degree in Drama from the University of Pretoria as well as diplomas from the Performing Arts and Lifestyle Institute and the New York Film Academy. She is the co-owner of 17FILMS and an award-winning screenwriter and film producer.
Simoné Nortmann is Vivian, a data analyst living a lie. She has lost her passion for life and is searching for a new adventure.
* Simoné made a name for herself as Nadia Croukamp in 7de Laan, for which she received a Royal Soapie Award for Best Newcomer. However, she is probably best known for her gripping portrayal of Irma Humpel in the film, Vir die Voëls, for which she won Best Actress at both the Huisgenoot Tempo’s and the Tallgrass International Film Festival. She can also be seen in the kykNET series, Hotel, and the movies Vuil Wasgoed and Wonderlus. The talented performer – who also possesses a talent for singing – has a BA degree in Drama from the University of Stellenbosch.
Adrie, played by Chanelle de Jager, has tons of potential, but she has lost herself somewhere between marriage and motherhood. She is looking for a way to recharge her batteries and to take care of her own needs for a while.
* Chanelle has been working in front and behind the camera for the past twenty years. Although acting has always been her first love, she is also a talented casting director and owns her own studio in Cape Town. She is also a keen scriptwriter and some of her film connections have been internationally renowned. Her most recent work includes the British series, Outlander, as well as The Widow, which will be released soon. Most people know her as Egoli’s Des du Pont, but also featured in series like Die Boekklub 1&2 and Boland Moorde. The actress stars in two films and two series, which are all scheduled for release later this year.
Nixie is an introverted millennial hiding her pain behind false illusions in the form of filters and hashtags. She is very specific about who she spends time with and what she says, and does not have a good relationship with her mother. She feels lost and must decide what she wants to do with her life.
* Carla Classen holds an honours degree in Drama and Film Studies and is a talented actress and stage artist. In 2016, she won a Woordfees Award for her stage production, Howled and she forgot to say sorry, and has starred in several other productions, including Bloodwedding, Hinterland, Stanley Washed Away, A Sense of Touch, Liewe Heksie en die Rotbende and Christine’s Room. The actress also made her television debut in 7de Laan earlier this year.
Diona is a strong-willed family lawyer, who has spent years helping other families, but have neglected her own in the process. She does not need other people to feel worthy and shows her love by presenting events and solutions, but that is not what her daughter needs.
* Ilse Klink is a familiar face on the stage and the screen. She has starred in some of the country’s most popular television programmes, including Isidingo, Inkaba, Villa Rosa, Roer Jou Voete and 7de Laan and also features in the movie, The Path, due for release later this year. The star has won many awards, including an Avanti award for her role in Isidingo, a Naledi award as Best Actress for her role in the stage production Big Bang Blast, as well as a Fiesta for Best Actress in Kristalvlakte and another Naledi award – in the same category – in 2017.
Armand Aucamp, famous for his roles in Ballade vir ’n Enkeling, Die Boekklub 1 and 2 and Knapsekêrels stars as the river guide, Guy. He is joined by a number of other familiar faces.
STROOMOP is a sincere and exciting drama about self-discovery, forgiveness and acceptance and will appeal to audiences of all ages. The film is being produced by 17FILMS and The Film Factory SA, in cooperation with kykNET, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Distributed locally by Ster-Kinekor Entertainment, the film is due for release in cinemas nationwide on 9 August 2018.
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PHOTO CREDIT: Suna Roberts