Andile Mbeki, Nkuli Sebeko and Leli Maki Esq
Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki, writer Nkuli Sebeko and director Leli Maki Esq share smiles ahead of the special screening of Winsome. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde)

The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and Jack & Jill Productions hosted a special screening of Winsome at independent cinema The Bioscope in the Maboneng precinct on Wednesday, 19 May.

The romantic drama, which took two years to complete, was one of the official selections at the 2015 Pan African Film Festival, and is set to premiere on DStv's Mzansi Magic in August.

Directed by Leli Maki Esq and written by Nkuli Sebeko, Winsome takes a different approach as it tells the story of how a couple from different walks in life find love in downtown Johannesburg.

Shakespeare's lost play found in Joburg

Explaining this at Wednesday's screening, director Maki Esq said: "Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, and only 35 have ever been found. In this film, Shakespeare's lost Love's Labours Won play is found in Johannesburg.

Faith Mazibuko, Andile Mbeki, Sello Maake Ka-Ncube and others
Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Faith Mazibuko, Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki, actor Sello Maake Ka-Ncube and other local celebrities, stakeholders and board members pose for a photo with the Winsome production team. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde - CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION)

"This play becomes the secret to how lead actor Graeme Kriega, who plays Khanya, and lead actress Masasa Mbangeni, who plays Owami, fall in love."

"This movie makes for a different type of romantic film, because we used English sonnets translated into isiXhosa, which I think is one of the most romantic South African languages," Maki Esq added.

"It's a normal story about how lovers fall in and out of love in Johannesburg - with a Shakespearian twist."

For writer Nkuli Sebeko, Winsome is a genuinely sweet story with romantic Xhosa sonnets which features "amazing performances".

GFC support 'got us across the finish line'

"Putting this movie together almost broke us because of the challenges we had to overcome, but when we got accepted into the 2015 Pan African Film Festival, we realised we needed to finish it," Sebeko said.

Andile Mbeki with Graeme Kriega
Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki with lead actor Graeme Kriega, who plays lead actor Khanya in Winsome. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde)

According to Sebeko, the GFC "rescued the film" when it came to post-production, and were helpful in numerous other ways besides.

"The support they gave us was how we got across the finish line. Without them we wouldn't have been able to showcase the film at the Pan African Film Festival because the film wouldn't have been ready."

Also speaking at Wednesday's event, Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki said the GFC's special screenings provided a platform for film makers to present their stories to stakeholders, decision-makers and board members.

A film 'many South Africans will be able to relate to'

Sello Maake Ka-Ncube
Sello Maake Ka-Ncube, one of South Africa's most esteemed actors, said Winsome had "restored my faith in the South African film industry". (Photo: Elias Nkabinde)

"Through these screenings these entities begin to understand the hard work and the lengths the film makers have gone to in order to put their production together," he explained.

Mbeki believes Winsome is a film which many South Africans will be able to relate to, as it tells a powerful love story in an indigenous language. He also had high praise for the manner in which the story was filmed.

"It was insightful to hear of the obstacles the production team has overcome, because through this screening we hope to learn from the team so that other productions do not make the same mistakes."

The screening was also attended by one of South Africa's most esteemed actors, Sello Maake Ka-Ncube, who commented afterwards that Winsome had "restored my faith in the South African film industry".

Winsome: brief synopsis

Free spirit, Owami, estranged from her recently deceased father and eccentric mother, reluctantly returns to Johannesburg to put her fathers' affairs in order.



Khanya is an aspiring author, down on his luck and ready to put it all on the line for love. Their lives collide when Khanya discovers Shakespeare's lost play Love's Labours Won among Owami's father's effects.

It is love at first sight, they are meant for each other, but the unscrupulous Blake wants the lost play for himself, while Khanya's attempts to impress Owami lead them into a hilarious web of lies.

Blake, with bumbling side-kick in tow, will do whatever it takes to get to the lost play, while Khanya's lies dig him deeper and deeper into a hole.

Will love win out, or will greed and deceit destroy what could be the greatest love story ever told in Joburg?

Love's Labours Won remains one of Shakespeare's lost plays. No copy of the play has ever been traced.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission