Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Story of an African Farm fares well on Opening Weekend

The lighthearted book-to-screen adaptation of Olive Schreiner's, The Story of an African Farm, released countrywide on 8 October to rave reviews and audience applause at the box office.

With a print average of R7 400 per print, The Story of an African Farm outperformed Darrel James Roodt's 'Yesterday', which earned just over R6 700 per print in ticket sales on its opening weekend earlier this year.

Starring Richard E. Grant, Karen van der Laag (Isidingo) and Academy Award nominee, Armin Meuller Stahl, and introducing Kasha Kropinski, Anneke Weidemann and Luke Gallant, The Story of an African Farm brings a classic South-African novel to the big screen as a fun-filled children's adventure in the tradition of films like The Secret Garden and Whale Rider.

The production and release of The Story of an African Farm saw key South African film industry players in Ster-Kinekor Distribution, The Independent Development Corporation, The National Film and Video Foundation, SABC 2, Proudly South African and producer, Bonnie Rodini, combine forces.

The film follows the life and trials of the three children on a farm in the Karoo at the hands of Tant Sannie and her love interest in Bonaparte Blenkins, and revolves around the first half of Schreiner's novel.Says Helen Kuun of Ster-Kinekor Distribution: "A true reflection of African Farm's success would be the fact that it outperformed comparable genre or peer features such as Ella Enchanted, Thunderbirds and Around the World in Eighty Days, on their opening weekends. That gives a more realistic understanding of the success of African Farm. Thunderbirds earned just over R4 300 per print, whereas Ella Enchanted earned R8 700 per print on their opening weekends.

"In Cannes, the CEO of Miramax International told me to make sure the film does well in South Africa so the release here is very important to me," said Bonnie Rodini writer-producer of Story of an African Farm. "Part of our sustain activities includes an outreach program - we are aiming to get corporate companies to buy batches of tickets for underpriviledged children to come and see the film at cinemas."