Among the sincere looking faces currently gracing street poles around Johannesburg, an election poster with a difference has made its appearance: Vote Wonder Boy for President, it exhorts, above the punchline, "Somebody asked for change?"

The cheeky marketing is an example of the kind of nail-on-the-head humour that South African audiences can expect, by the bucket-load, when a team of SA's top comedians hit the big screen in political spoof Wonder Boy for President.

The film follows the escapades of Wonder Boy, a charismatic young man from the Eastern Cape who is cajoled into running for president by a couple of dubious types who, even as they set about moulding Wonder Boy into a winning politician, are busy preparing his downfall.

Filmed in Joburg on miniscule budget

It was filmed in and around Johannesburg on a ridiculously small budget of R300 000 and it opens in cinemas with immaculate comic timing on 29 July - five days before South Africans queue up to vote in the latest municipal polls.

At the helm are director-writer-producer John Barker and actor-producer Kagiso Lediga, who teamed up for Bunny Chow, an official selection for the 2006 Toronto Film Festival which went on to score selections and awards at a host of other international film festivals.

 

 

Lediga is Wonder Boy, Ntosh Madlingozi and Tony Miyambo play the shady kingmakers, Thishiwe Ziqubu is the ambitious young opposition leader (and love interest), John Vlismas does "dodgy dude with gun", Akin Omotoso takes a turn in front of camera as a Nigerian "political correspondent", Barker mucks in as "dodgy construction guy" - and Loyiso Gola (as you would expect) is Loyiso Gala.

Others in cast are David Kibuuka, Zabalaza Mchunu, Lara Lipschitz, Bryan Van Niekerk, Christopher Steenkamp, Camilo Saloojee, Daniel Friedman, Ntokozo Majozi, Tshepo Mogale, Lazola Gola, Robbie Collins, Mary Twala and Mojack.

Undercover shoots at political rallies

"We were really blessed to have a whole bunch of South Africa's top comedians who collaborated on the film with us," Barker said in a press statement ahead of the 2016 Durban International Film Festival, where his "mockumentary" had its world premiere.

The movie took five years to make, and required quick thinking and nimble footwork from cast and crew during undercover shoots at major political events and rallies.

"And then there are a host of well-known faces that, um, play themselves," Barker continued, "including President Jacob Zuma, Julius Malema, Mmusi Maimane, Floyd Shivambu, Cyril Ramaphosa, Zwelinzima Vavi, Helen Zille, and Zapiro.

"We used available footage from various news sources and spliced it into (in)appropriate places to add to the laughs.

"At a time when the rand/dollar has set a morose mood in the country, and amid all the doom and gloom in the media about corruption, greed and cronyism, it was fabulous to make a film that could parody the current times, make us take a long look at the absurdity of it all and laugh."

Wonder Boy for President was produced by Barking Rat Film in association with Dog Pack Collective, with Tammy Lewis-Houghting and Jeremy Nathan co-producing and Indigenous Films distributing.

South African film fans, cast your vote where it counts on 29 July - at your nearest box-office. Wonder Boy for President!

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission