As acclaimed director Oliver Hermanus’ new feature film Moffie continues to compete on the international film circuit, the official South African trailer for the film has been released. While the film’s South African debut on the commercial circuit is slated for March 13, 2020, Moffie has already premiered at several international film festivals, including its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September.
The story of a young, conscript who battles to survive compulsory service in apartheid-South Africa’s military, has enamored audiences worldwide with sold-out screenings in London, Stockholm and Glasgow in October, and high praise from film critics.
The new trailer sets the tone for what Variety labeled as “Oliver Hermanus’ masterpiece” with a stripped-down reimagining of Rodriguez’s “Sugar Man”. It was a 25th hour decision by Hermanus to acquire the rights to the song, and include it as part of the film. With only a ten-day window before the film had to be finished, Hermanus reached out to music producer Ben Ludik. He asked Ludik to imagine recreating “Sugar Man” with a female vocalist as a haunting anthem to end the film.
“Every producer dreams of being tasked with reimagining an iconic song,” says Ludik, whose credits include the score for another celebrated Hermanus film, Skoonheid/Beauty. “I believe Oliver chose to include “Sugar Man” in Moffie because it’s a song about yearning to escape; a haunting poem by a bewildered individual” – much like the experience of the film’s main character, Nicholas (Kai Luke Brümmer). “The song needed a special voice to convey such frailty and longing.” To do this, Ludik sourced the rich alto-voice of singer Rebekah Thompson.
“I am so excited about sharing our new trailer with the South African audience,” says director Oliver Hermanus. “It has been such an amazing opportunity to include Rodriguez’s “Sugar Man” in the film and then to have Ben Ludik rework it for our trailer is the cherry on top. I love what he has done with the song and I hope audiences will come and experience the extraordinary work by the group of brilliant South Africans – actors, designers, photographers, composers, producers and crew – who made this film. Our new trailer is a testament to South African cinema and cinema makers taking on the world.”
Moffie is based on the memoir of the same name by André-Carl van der Merwe, produced by Eric Abraham and Jack Sidey, and co-produced by Theresa Ryan-Van Graan.
“As a woman and a mother, I have been immensely moved and very proud to be associated with this film,” says Ryan-van Graan. “I cannot imagine what it must have been like to send your son to war, or to worry about his survival in an environment that shamed and persecuted boys that were different or weak in any way.”
Moffie, produced by Portobello Productions and Penzance Films, premieres in The United States in early January at The Palm Springs Film Festival before heading to Norway. Over the next three months it will also premiere in Scotland, Ireland, and Mexico.
Moffie stars Kai Luke Brümmer, Hitlon Pelser, Matthew Vey, Stefan Vermaak, and Ryan de Villliers. It is produced by Eric Abraham, Jack Sidey and co-produced by Theresa Ryan- van Graan.
Moffie premieres on 13 March, 2020 in South Africa.