SA Movie Internationally Acclaimed

Beyond the River goes beyond borders

Hot on the heels of its cinema run, Beyond the River, is set to hit the international circuit. Requests for the movie, which will be available on DSTV’s Box Office from 24 June, and on DVD for rental or retail from mid-July, have been received from as far afield as Belgium, Australia, Argentina, Britain and Tasmania.

“We have received several messages from international canoe clubs, expats as well as locals who didn’t manage to see the film in cinemas. Beyond the River tackles universal themes around trust, understanding and tolerance; we want to make it available to audiences far and wide,” says Heartlines CEO and Beyond the River Executive Producer, Dr Garth Japhet.

Inspired by the true story of Piers Cruickshanks and Siseko Ntondini, who together competed in one of the toughest river races, the Dusi Canoe Marathon, the widely-acclaimed locally produced film is an adventure drama, which highlights racial tension, inequality and social gaps.

Reviewers have called the film “pure gold” (Independent), and “beautifully shot… the performances nothing short of epic” (Sunday Times). The movie has been well received across the board, with rave audience reviews, several company block bookings and interest from schools, churches and community groups.

Starring Grant Swanby, Lemogang Tsipa and Israel Sipho Matseke Zulu, Beyond the River has been linked to a larger campaign being led by Heartlines, The Centre For Values Promotion. The campaign, called What’s Your Story, aims to use the movie as a starting point to tackle some of South Africa’s deepest divides.

“We live in a world of stereotypes where we treat each other according to the opinions and assumptions that we make. Beyond the River is the perfect example of how, through getting to know each other’s stories, we can come together and break these stereotypes,” says Japhet.

Beyond the River will be available on Box Office for R40 per download, and will retail in major stores, including Takealot and Loot, for R159.99. It will also be available for rental from local DVD stores from 14 July.

“Whilst we are keen for as many people as possible to see this film, the DVD is for home use only and not for public screenings,” says Japhet. “People wanting to use the film for larger audiences should contact Heartlines directly. We also have discussion guides that people in workplaces, schools and faith-based organisations can use to take conversations further beyond the film.”

Produced by Quizzical Pictures and Heartlines, Beyond the River was written by Craig Freimond and Robbie Thorpe, directed by Freimond and produced by Thorpe, Harriet Gavshon and Ronnie Apteker. The beautifully shot film showcases some of South Africa’s spectacular KwaZulu-Natal landscapes and has been funded by the National Lotteries Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Film and Video Foundation and the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, with sponsorships from Discovery, Vodacom and ADReach.