Principal Photography Wraps On South African Family Drama 'Felix!' ('Billy Elliott w/ Cape jazz')

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by Tambay A. Obenson
November 5, 2012 2:00 PM
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From the press release... Filmming has wrapped in Cape Town, South Africa on the new South African family feature film, Felix! which features an all-star cast that includes Joburg-born Oscar-nominee Dame Janet Suzman in her first South African film; South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) Best Actress winner Linda Sokhulu in her feature film debut; and newcomer Hlayani Mabasa, who was cast in the title role from over 400 auditions across the country.

What's the film about?

14-year-old Felix Xaba dreams of becoming a saxophonist like his late father, but his mother Lindiwe (Sokhulu) thinks jazz is the devil’s music. When Felix leaves his township friends to take up a scholarship at an elitist private school, he defies his mother and turns to two aging members of his father’s old band (Thapelo Mofokeng and Royston Stoffels) to help him prepare for the school jazz concert.

Described as “Billy Elliott with Cape jazz,” Felix! is based on an acclaimed script by Shirley Johnston, which won Sithengi’s 2004 Writer’s Forum Award; was a quarter-finalist in both Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest, and the Moondance Screenwriting Competition; and was a finalist in the US Specscriptacular Competition.

SAFTA Lifetime Achievement winner Roberta Durrant is directing, her feature film debut.

Natalie Haarhoff, who shot the Emmy-nominated Orphans of Nkandla and the BAFTA-nominated Lost Girls of South Africa, is the director of photography, while Kate Schalk is line producing her debut feature film.

This makes Felix! the first South African film written, directed, shot and line produced by women since Elaine Proctor’s Kin 12 years ago.

The stellar cast includes familiar faces like Andre Jacobs, Langley Kirkwood, Nicholas Ellenbogen, Adrian Galley, Terry Norton, Andrea Dondolo and Jeanne Nielson.

Felix! is a Penguin Films production for Sabido Productions.

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