South African university reunion movie “Between Friends”, in the tradition of “The Best Man Holiday” and “Madea’s Family Reunion”, opens in cinemas on 15 August. The film features a well-known male cast that will be familiar to local audiences.
It tells the story of a group of five university friends who reunite at an upmarket game lodge in KwaZulu Natal, seven years after graduation. Their reunion is coloured by the secret of a wild night they spent together at the very same lodge while at varsity. Long buried secrets shared by the old friends are eventually exposed, and the tension in their current relationships becomes palpable.“The cast made the movie,” says director Zuko Nodada. “They understood what was expected of them and they did not disappoint. Working with actors that respect their craft made it very easy for me to work with them.
As Nkanyiso, Thapelo Mokoena is charming, smooth and very appealing to the ladies. Nkanyiso is a suave, successful entrepreneur who is reluctantly attending the reunion with his gorgeous trophy girlfriend, Nisha. He is one of South Africa’s most recognisable faces, having starred in 2013’s “Nothing for Mahala” and “Long Walk to Freedom”. He also appears in the “Hunters Dry” advertising campaign.
Siyabonga Radebe plays Njabulo the older, more laid back brother of Nkanyiso who recently took over the management of the family-owned game lodge they are visiting. He’s the guy the audience loves to hate. Radebe, an actor, singer, writer, director and stand-up comedian is known for his role as Cassius in the SABC1 drama series “A Place Called Home”, which aired from 2006 to 2009. Other television series he has acted in include the SABC1 drama “Intersexions”, the SABC1 mini-series “uGugu no Andile”, the ITV drama “Wild at Heart” and the SABC1 legal drama “Sokhulu & Partners”. In 2009 he played the role of a lieutenant in the award-winning science fiction film “District 9”.
Dumisani Mbebe, known for his role as Dumisani Shabani in “Generations”, in which he appeared from 2008 to 2011, takes on the role of Winston, who is constantly at loggerheads with his wife Portia. “Dumisani was the big surprise,” says Nodada. “He plays totally against type and manages to turn Winston into a totally lovable guy. I think more than a few ladies will expect their men to carry their handbags after seeing this film.
The role of the hapless Justin, the Canadian fiancé to Linda, who is tortured by her feelings for a man who belongs to another woman, is played by Morné du Toit, who appeared “Andre Metstrepie” (2007), “Spaarwiel” (2007) and “Hoofmeisie” (2011).
“The whole team worked like a well-oiled machine and everyone gave their all in making my vision come to life,” says Nodada. “It was exciting to shoot a film of this genre – one that we seemed to have neglected for a long time. We wanted to show how far South Africa has come in the last 20 years by telling the story of a group of attractive, sexy, middle-class South Africans.”
Nodada says the film’s target market is those who enjoy a good romantic comedy, particularly those who love films like "Think like a Man" and the Tyler Perry "Why Did I Get Married" films.
The film is being distributed nationwide by Indigenous Film Distribution.
The film was made possible with funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and the Department of Trade and Industry Film Rebate.
View the trailer here