“Right from the classic pose in the poster to the happy ending, it is the very archetype of the genre: light, cliched, uplifting entertainment. And that is what makes it so surprising. If you aren’t careful you’ll be well out of the cinema before you realise you’ve just watched a South African film, set in Johannesburg and Cape Town, in Afrikaans, rather than the latest from Hollywood. Which is a very good sign indeed for a local industry that is rapidly finding its feet.” According to the Phillip De Wet’s review on the Mail and Guardian website
A very succinct comment from a highly regarded local film critic! We participated in the Semi-Soet Johannesburg Premier at Monte Casino (2nd of Feb) and last night’s Cape Town Premier at the Atholl Fugard Theatre. “The best South African movie yet” was the typical response heard from most of the premiere guests. Both events were packed and the guests were in high spirits, mixing with many local entertainment celebrities. The main actors – Anel Alexander, Nico Panagio, Sandra Vaughn, Louw Venter, Diaan Lawrenson, Paul du Toit and Corine du Toit - were at both the premieres where they stayed till the last guests went home.
When we were first approached about Vrede en Lust being the wine farm in the movie we had a few concerns. Not least being that one’s brand could suffer collateral damage in the event of a poor movie. We watched the DVD of Anel and James’s movie Discreet, which convinced us that the risks on the downside were less than the benefits on the upside. We had high hopes for Semi-Soet, but I suspect the movie will do much better than our wildest expectations. Semi-Soet will launch at 70 movie theaters across South Africa on the 17th of February 2012.
Everyone agreed that it was very funny, classy, gripping, professionally produced and shows that Afrikaans movies can be successful without being slapstick and musician centric. Anel and James Alexander from Scramble Productions put their heart and soul into this project and made a great movie on a $ budget that would any producer in Hollywood’s mind! They put together a strong cast backed by a professional production team. Most importantly, they got everyone to believe in what was possible and that the movie would change the direction of local movies going forward.
A big thanks on our side to the cast and crew of Semi-Soet for the great job done and for allowing Vrede en Lust to participate to the extent we do! Thanks also to Janina Otto for all her work with Semi-Soet and the premieres, and to my wife Anneke and her team who worked so hard to ensure everyone had enough wine to taste and enjoy at the premieres. The photo above was taken at the Cape Town event with the cast and some of the Vrede en Lust team.
There is an interesting connection that goes back to 2003, with Corine du Toit, one of the stars of Semi-Soet. Corine was the model we had selected for the very first Vrede en Lust advertisement! We used the ad for about a year, by which time Corine had moved on from modeling to a role in the TV series Egoli. She had done numerous other TV series and movies over the last 9 years. Great to do something together again Corine!
Our wines and marketing have also moved forward a long way since then! To celebrate the release of Semi-Soet, we are launching a very limited release wine – the ‘Vryersvoetpad 2008‘, as featured in the movie. It is a smooth, sophisticated, Merlot dominant, Bordeaux blend. Only 1,450 bottles were produced. Each bottle is numbered and the Vryersvoetpad will be available exclusively from Makro fine wine departments country wide, as well as from our cellardoor and eStore.