Johannesburg - Monday night saw the Johannesburg media screening of new local film Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story at Ster-Kinekor’s head offices in Sandton.
It is based on the true story of a Cape Flats mother who killed her tik-addicted son in 2007 – a case that drew international attention at the time.
The film, directed by Daryne Joshua – the man behind 2016’s critically acclaimed Noem My Skollie – has been raking in rave reviews, and was officially selected for the Rotterdam International Film Festival in the Netherlands and the Seattle International Film Festival in the US.
“We had our international premiere at Rotterdam and it was amazing. We sold out all three screenings two days before,” Joshua told City Press.
“The most surprising thing was that we thought we were telling a story from the Cape Flats, but there were so many people in the audience going through the same thing. After the film many addicts and ex-addicts came to tell me their stories – people were crying, hugging me and saying ‘thank you’.”
The film also won three awards at last month’s kykNet Silwerskerm Festival – for Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Script.
Ellen Pakkies herself was at the premiere. Joshua says it was important that Ellen was happy with the film prior to public screenings. Also in attendance was Jill Levenberg, who plays Ellen.
“Getting the positive feedback we have received overseas just shows what a fantastic standard we are on in terms of South African film,” said Levenberg, who is passionate about the story bringing about change.
“We are sitting with a situation where, 11 years after the death of Abie [Pakkies’ son], nothing has changed. In fact, it has got worse.”
Joshua and Levenberg both mentioned that in May this year, a Tafelsig father murdered his tik-addicted son.
“How many cases like this are we going to have before someone listens?” asked Levenberg.
The film had many in the audience crying, thanks to the impeccable direction and standout performances by Levenberg and Jarrid Geduld, who plays Abie. It received a standing ovation.
Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story is showing in cinemas nationwide