Co-producers Robbie Thorpe (TOM Pictures) and Anant Singh (Video Vision Entertainment) are elated at the prospects of one of Gauteng's major films to date, the recently released

Lindiwe Matshikiza and Carl Beukes in Jozi

Singh sees the film as of significance to Johannesburg, known colloquially as Joburg and Jozi, as he feels "the city really looks great and comes across fantastically well. The film is very original and, to the best of my knowledge, a film like this, where a city is the focus, has never been done anywhere in the world before. The fact that it is a comedy and that it is totally indigenous is very exciting for the city, for our industry and for all the talent involved in the film."

While he described Jozi as a film "about the relationships of people that live in Johannesburg -Johannesburgers; the city and their love/hate relationship with the city," he is also upbeat about how the film fused the city's culture, landmarks and people in its messages.

Ronnie Nyakale in Jozi

His conviction is that the city's culture and its landmarks are very much a part of the unfolding narrative of the story in which the beauty, the complexities, the uniqueness and the originality, all come across in a very loving, effective and engaging way. "Different people will see different aspects of the city and how it integrates into the narrative of the film."

Robbie Thorpe spoke about how the Joburg audiences will view this interpretation of their city. "We hope that the audiences will respond positively to our vision of Joburg. We think that perceptions of Joburg often skew to the negative and I think the film asks the question, why do we allow our negative experiences to so far outweigh our positive experiences?"


What are his takes on the city - its cosmopolitan nature and its locations, as well as its film friendliness? "Personally, I have lived most of my life in Joburg and have found it to be a challenging but rewarding experience, and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. I think that Jozi is a beautiful city that offers a great variety of locations - Joburg is Lagos and Los Angeles at once. When it comes to film friendliness, unfortunately there is still much work to be done," he says.


TOM Pictures have made other projects set in Joburg, such as A Place Called Home, which utilised the city's culture, landmarks and people. Set in the inner city, A Place Called Home dealt with the lives of homeless people. Thorpe says it was interesting in that "it showed the gritty underworld of Joburg, very seldom seen before. The landscape of Joburg was crucial to the telling of the story and added a rich aesthetic quality to the programme."