Lead actors Lemogang Tsipa and Grant Swanby
Working up a sweat on the first day of shooting of Beyond the River in Orlando, Soweto: lead actors Lemogang Tsipa and Grant Swanby. (Photo: Beyond the River on Facebook)

Heartlines, the multimedia NGO behind popular comedy Nothing for Mahala and the Emmy-nominated movie Hopeville, has started production on a new adventure drama set in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal province.

Written and directed by Craig Freimond and produced by Robbie Thorpe, Beyond the River tells the story of two men from vastly different walks of life who are brought together by their determination to win gold in one of the toughest river races on the planet, the Dusi Canoe Marathon.

There are a number of obstacles standing between them and their dream, however, as the film's synopsis outlines: "One has a marriage on the verge of collapse. The other is on the run from the law, and his so-called life. Then there's the minor detail of them never before having competed as a team…

"Somewhere along the river of their lives, there's a confluence that changes both of them - forever."

Based on the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruikshanks, Beyond the River promises to deliver a nail-biting adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit.

Training scenes in Soweto, race scenes in KZN

Day one of shooting of Heartlines' latest values-based movie
... and Action on day one of shooting of Heartlines' latest values-based movie. (Photo: Beyond the River on Facebook)

Filming began on Monday, 26 October in Johannesburg, where the focus will be on training sequences at Orlando Power Park Dam and Emmarentia Dam, homes of the Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club and the Dabulamanzi Canoe Club respectively.

Shooting will then move to the Dusi Marathon race venue in the picturesque Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu-Natal.

Beyond the River is being produced for Heartlines by Quizzical Pictures, with funding from the National Lotteries Commission and additional backing from sponsors Discovery, Vodacom and Adreach.

The film stars Lemogang Tsipa, best known for his role in the television drama series When We Were Black, as Duma, and Grant Swanby (Blood Diamond, Invictus, Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom) as Steve. Others in the cast include Mary Twala, Israel Makoe, Garth Breytenbach and Kgosi Mongake.

Values-based media campaigns anchored by films

Getting into the thick of things at Orlando Power Station Dam
One the camera crews gets into the thick of things at Orlando Power Station Dam. (Photo: Beyond the River on Facebook)

Heartlines has run a number of values-based media campaigns anchored by films, starting in 2006 with a series of eight movies and the associated campaign "8 Weeks. 8 Values. One National Conversation".

It followed this up in 2009 with a campaign based on the TV series followed by the film Hopeville, which went on the win a Rose d'Or, two Saftas and an Emmy nomination.

Its most recent campaign provided people with tools for dealing better with their money, while challenging their attitudes and getting them talking about the issue through the comedy feature Nothing For Mahala.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission