Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, Julia Roberts. These are just some of the strong female leads audiences adore. The characters they have played are unforgettable and, while they are not perfect by any standards, many women look up to them as role models because they never give up. Instead, they choose to draw on their inner strength to pull themselves up, and beat the odds by doing things their way.
Now there’s a new film, shot on location in Johannesburg and releasing in August 2016, that focuses on a women determined to do anything she sets her mind to, even though she finds herself living in difficult circumstances. Dora’s Peace, starring Khabonina Qubeka and directed by Kosta Kalarytis, tells the story of Dora, a Hillbrow prostitute, who sets out to save a gifted young boy from the violent clutches of organised crime. In the process, she is forced to rediscover aspects of her own lost humanity.
The film features an ensemble cast including Danny Keogh (Invictus, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder), Hlubi Mboya (iNumber Number, How to Steal 2 Million), Ronnie Nyakale (Jerusalema, Blood Diamond), and 12-year old Paballo Koza (Thola, The Blanket).
Yes, she’s a hooker, but she’s also smart, sassy and tough as nails. Now in her forties, she has seen it all. She’s sold her body on the streets, been locked-up and used by the cops, abused and beaten by customers. But it wasn’t always like that. Once, she had been in demand, and had even been in a relationship with Stavro, a Greek bookie who she still sees occasionally. Into her solitary existence comes 12-year old Peace, a talented artist and the son of a druggie neighbour. Before long Dora will be forced to make a decision – protect Peace from the bad guys or let them win. Dora’s only ally appears to be Ravi, a Rasta-loving Indian taxi driver with a wicked sense of humour. What ensues will thrill and chill audiences, as Dora comes up against her hardest opponent yet – her own true nature.
“The film deals with underworld characters that inhabit Hillbrow,” says Kalarytis. “Aspects of my own Greek background and culture are also incorporated, which I don’t think has been done before in a South African movie. In making the film, the most important aspect was the relationship between Dora and the young boy, Peace. We knew if we could make that work, we stood a good chance of making a great movie.”
Khabonina is a familiar face on South African television and has been nominated multiple times for her roles in series including Muvhango, The Lab, The Wild and Rhythm City. Her first TV role was as the controversial Doobsie on SABC 2’s Muvhango and then she quickly followed up with more roles in The Mating Game and Erfsondes. She also acted in the successful theatre production The Table. Currently she is starring as Nina Zamdela in the popular soapie Isidingo on SABC 3. Aside from her television and feature film work, she is also a dancer, presenter and musician. Dora’s Peace sees her take the lead role in a film for the first time.
Director and producer Kalarytis began his career as a cartoonist and illustrator. His passion for film led to a stint in the animation and television industry where he specialised in producing promos and movie trailers. Under his production company One Man Band he directed his first international feature film, The Company You Keep, in 2003. In 2005 he produced and edited the documentary, Mules, a hard hitting expose on drug mules in South Africa. After editing numerous feature films, he produced, directed and edited Dora’s Peace.
Dumi Gumbi, also a producer on the film, is an award-winning consultant, focusing on film, television and consumer marketing. His first feature film Gog’Helen premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in 2012. Gumbi has produced several documentary films for the SABC, including My Big Fat Afrikaner Wedding and Who Killed Johannes Kerkorrel?. In 2009, he produced the ground-breaking SAFTA award-winning 3D, CGI animation short film series, Backyard Shorts.
Gaby Mariola came on board as a producer thanks to her knowledge of finance. She also assisted on set in various departments and was pivotal in raising funds for the production.
The script was written by Andrew Herold, who has developed several projects with Kalarytis. In 2013, he published his first novel Gabriel’s Apology. Dora’s Peace is his third completed feature as a screenwriter.
The film will be distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution and is set for release on 26th August 2016.
Indigenous Film Distribution: www.indigenousfilm.co.za
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