Mitchell’s Plain – The Movie premieres

TAMLYNNE THOMPSON

Emotions played out at the première of Mitchell’s Plain – The Movie, as about 400 friends, family members and supporters, dressed in black and white, gathered to watch the local film at the City of Grace Living Waters Church in Belhar recently.

“There were laughter, tears, heartbreaking moments and funny moments,” said producer Robin Van Der Byl, of Beacon Valley. “People were very proud of us and congratulated us.”

The movie is the brainchild of Mr Van Der Byl, who started writing scripts for the true-life drama about two years ago.

At the event, the main actors in the film, Sergio Miller of Beacon Valley, Miche Gilbert of Colorado Park, and Anthony Walter of Rondevlei, spoke about their experiences while shooting the film.

Mr Van Der Byl said they did not expect the event to be well-attended. “We just thought it would be friends of the cast and crew. The venue seats about 750 people. We didn’t expect all the seats to be filled, but we expected less than 350.”

Ward councillor, Eddie Andrews also showed his support by being the MC for the evening.

Mitchell’s Plain – The Movie is a one and a half hour film about three teenagers and their loved ones who get caught up in a world of crime, drugs and gangs. Mr Van Der Byl said the movie shows people what really happens in Mitchell’s Plain, but there is also a positive message.

Mr Van Der Byl said the aim of the movie was to eliminate the negative images that people have of Mitchell’s Plain and portray it as a place of hope. “There are a lot of positive things happening in Mitchell’s Plain as well, and we want to show people that.”

The movie was funded from Mr Van Der Byl’s pocket, and the crew members were regular people from Mitchell’s Plain who volunteered their time. “It was also a platform to showcase the talent of the cast. They actually discovered that they can act,” said Mr Van Der Byl.

He said the week leading up to the premiere had been stressful for his friends and family, but he had been relaxed.

“I believed that we’ve already come so far, so we will be carried through. We were offered the venue for free, the cast were volunteers, and the equipment was sponsored, so I was calm and collected.”

The cast were also stressed out, but more about what they were going to wear, he joked.

Mr Van Der Byl said the next screening will be in the movie’s homeground, Mitchell’s Plain.

The group is also planning to do a roadshow, and have already received invitations to showcase the movie at churches in different communities. “We even got an offer to do a screening in Robertson. We are working towards getting bigger.”

He said he would like the movie to be played nationally, then hopefully to an international audience. “We haven’t gotten calls from any movie companies yet, but we think it is because few people saw the movie. The more exposure we get, the more we will grow.”

The next screening of Mitchell’s Plain – The Movie will be at Shekinah Gospel Church in Beacon Valley. Details are to be confirmed.

Regular updates of movie screenings can be found on the movie’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MitchellsPlainTheMovie/