Landmark SA dance film 'Hear Me Move' hits big screen

The movie set in Soweto unearths the vibrance of the city set against a backdrop of poverty and crime.

Hear Me Move. Picture: Hear Me Move PR.

JOHANNESBURG - Coal Stove Pictures' landmark feature film Hear Me Move that screened at both the Cannes and London Film Festivals has hit the big screen in South Africa.

Producer Wandile Molebatsi, who also plays the part of Thami Skhulu, says it's a film maker's dream come true.

Watch the official trailer here...

Molebatsi explains it all began with an unrelenting itch to give young people what they want to see.

The dance film looks at the life of a young man named Muzi (Nyaniso Dzedze), whose father was a legendary Pantsula dancer who died tragically in a knife fight at a party.

His mother makes him swear he will never dance again because of how his father died. The story is about Mmusi's journey to discover the truth about his father's death and the truth about his life and how dancing is a part of who he is.

The movie, set in Soweto and Johannesburg, unearths the vibrance of the city set against a backdrop of poverty and crime.

"While that's a backdrop in our lives, there are moments in our lives that are exuberant and excited, there's an urban-ness to our lived experience that hasn't been captured yet," Molebatsi said.

"We've always felt there is an incredible dance culture in South Africa and yet it's never been captured on screen. As young film makers you always have that chip on your shoulder that, ah man, I just want to make something different.

"So we just decided look we're gonna phone Coal Stove Pictures, set this dream and just go for it."

He also says choreographer Paul Modjadji brought the rich heritage of Pantsula into the movie.

"Dance is not something that just happens at the Bolshevik or the New York Ballet Academy. Even now when we go out to parties, we go out to Soweto towers, there's an energy that we have to capture on screen and that's really what we wanted to do."

The cast is also 100 percent local and include Loyanda Mfene, Anele Vilana, Bongani Skosana, Niyaniso Dzedze, Tumelo Seleke, Bontle Modiselle, Mbuso Kgarabe and Mindo Sefafe.

"We actually cast dancers first, we went around the country and had auditions, we asked people to dance for us."

The full length feature film was made on a shoestring budget.

"Dancers have to be conditioned, dancing is not something you can just pick up in eight weeks and get it right. That's something Paul made very clear to us, he said it was going to be hard for us to get dancers to get to the level that we need for this film, in the kind of time that we have and on a South African budget."

He also says dance culture is alive and kicking in South Africa.

"Kopanyaza, Ko-Soweto, Ko 707" he said.

Director Scottnes L. Smith and producers Fidel Namisi and Molebatsi attended the University of Witwatersrand together.