While it’s still early days, it’s promising to have been asked to give comment on a prospective local crime thriller. The feature film with strong South African roots is currently in development and Spling was asked to read it and report general findings with a view to greater involvement.
It’s always exciting to work on local content. South Africa is alive with possibilities in terms of storytelling. The country’s crime is rampant, something that seems to be worsening with high murder rates as well as violence against woman and children making the news. While recent movements are creating awareness, the underlying problems need to be dealt with before a positive influence can be felt.
It may seem quite bleak when you consider the crime stats verge on the murder rate of small scale civil wars. If one had to mine for a silver lining, the widespread near-epidemic has the potential to stir the creativity of those who have been affected or live with the constant state of alert on a daily basis. It’s not easy to think about, but the raw emotional intensity can be turned into compelling narratives that in turn help fuel a thriving film industry. Many of the greatest films are within the crime genre. The concept of injustice, people breaking the law, vigilantes upholding the law… it’s a popular series of themes that generally lends itself to substantial stories.
While escalating crime is something to subvert immediately and should never be taken lightly, this battle of good versus evil can be leveraged for rich storytelling. Consider City of God and other tense, exciting films from areas where crime has settled in. South Africa’s cosmopolitan nation, diversity and array of amazing film locations make it ready to take on the world. We just need the writing community to generate the sizzle… whether it be playing up cash-in-transit heists to rival Heat and The Take or getting grittier with inner city crime.
Back of the Moon demonstrated that it’s not just contemporary South Africa, but that we’ve got decades worth of material, simply focusing on Sophiatown in the ’50s. Hard to Get shows us that we can make slick Bonnie & Clyde style thrillers. iNumber Number, Four Corners, Alison, Cold Case Hammerskjold, Tsotsi… there’s a wealth of crime-related stories waiting to be told. Some for pure entertainment value, others that will hopefully create awareness, inspire hope and restoration.
Either way, it’s great to be advising on a crime thriller that’s destined to take bits and pieces from across South Africa’s crime landscape to craft something praiseworthy and packed with dramatic intensity.