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A still from production of Akin Omotoso's new film Vaya, which is currently being filmed on location in Johannesburg. (Photo courtesy of Rififi Pictures)

Four strangers from Durban, on the same train bound for Johannesburg, each on their own mission, will have their lives irrevocably changed by a single event.

Vaya, the latest movie from acclaimed filmmaker Akin Omotoso, interweaves three separate plots in a gripping, often funny and deeply moving narrative about survival and dignity on the streets of Africa's second-largest city.

Like Omotoso's previous offering, romantic comedy Tell Me Sweet Something, Vaya is set in Johannesburg - filming is currently underway in Soweto and parts of the CBD - but that's where the similarity ends.

"The Vaya movie is gritty, it is set on the streets, it is about the lives of those invisible people, but it is also an exciting story," Omotoso said in a recent interview with City Press. "We think how these characters and their lives intersect is exciting."

The filming is the culmination of a long, in-depth, innovative creative process involving a team of seven writers and researchers who formed part of the Homeless Story Project.

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Vaya stars several newcomers as well as some big names, including Mary Twala, Sihle Xaba and Warren Masemola. (Photo courtesy of Rififi Pictures)

Established six years ago by Omotoso's business partner and producer Robbie Thorpe, the Homeless Story Project set out to "give a voice to the voiceless" by creating opportunities for the stories of people living on the city's streets to be told via film and other media.

Thorpe, Madoda Ntuli, Zibo Mafela and others working on the project developed a way of putting stories together that achieved a level of authenticity beyond what a conventional writing process could produce.

In 2013, the project received funding from the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) for the development of a feature film script, and there's been no looking back since.

Vaya stars several newcomers as well as some big names, including Mary Twala, Sihle Xaba and Warren Masemola. Shooting is expected to wrap up in January, and the film will most likely be released in late 2016.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission