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Gauteng-made movies will hit the ground running in 2016, with two films set in Johannesburg due to open in South African cinemas in February.

Happiness is a Four-Letter Word, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Cynthia Nozizwe Jele's award-winning novel, will get the ball rolling on 19 February, followed a week later, on 26 February, by South African all-star thriller Assignment.

Provocative geo-political thriller Assignment, the directorial debut from Laszlo Bene, tells the story of conflict journalist Kathleen Jacobs, who returns to her home in Johannesburg after a near-fatal incident in the Congo.

Her determination to publish what she uncovered there pitches her squarely against major political forces. When she refuses to back off, she finds herself on the run, aided only by her ex-husband Ryan, a former military consultant. What ensues is a cat-and-mouse chase that will force her to risk everything - or let go of her principles.

"It's a gritty thriller set against a city that is at times nurturing and safe, at others menacing and filled with violence and danger," says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing the movie locally. "The film highlights the dangers of being a journalist, and it's a universal tale to which citizens all over the world can relate."



Assignment stars well-known film and television actress Sandi Schultz, who has appeared in US TV series "NYPD Blues" as well as a variety of movies, including German production Lion Girl and critically acclaimed South African film While You Weren't Looking.

Besides tackling her most challenging role yet, Schultz also co-wrote and co-produced Assignment. The film also stars Gert Van Niekerk, David Dennis, Jonathan Pienaar and Dirk Stoltz, with Nick Boraine, Justin Strydom, Anthony Oseyemi, Peter Terry, Johan Baird, Hanli Rolfes and Nicholas Van Der Bijl in supporting roles.

According to director Bene, the characters "are ordinary people whose stories are being told daily by the news, people we can relate to, people we can love, hate, understand and root for".

Assignment marks a return to his roots for Bene, who learned his craft in the trenches of Hollywood before moving to South Africa. With more than a dozen feature films under his belt as producer, he shifted focus to writing, producing and directing TV shows for broadcasters in South Africa and other African countries. His shows include KykNet's successful family programme "Dis Rugby!", as well as Nigeria's most popular reality series, "Gulder Ultimate Search".

The film was financed by Mind Fox Productions in association with Klonkie Made Media and AFDA. It had its world premiere at the 2015 Durban International Film Festival.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission