This sweet journey all began when a semi-desperate Producer flew to Cape Town for what felt like the 100th time, to visit the winelands, in one last attempt to find a wine estate willing to get on board of this exciting new Afrikaans film. To get attention when there’s talk about an Afrikaans movie is often challenging, but Anel Alexander, who is the co-Producer with her husband James, presented this project and exciting opportunity to us in such a manner that we just could not resist. The project is called Semi-Soet.
It was clear that Semi-Soet held great potential for Vrede en Lust as a brand to get on board and become part of this new Afrikaans production as the main location for the film. As well-experienced the cast and crew were, I think we are still amazed at how excellent this entire project was executed and how well it has been received by the South African public to date.
The movie has enjoyed a great run in theaters. To date, nearly 300,000 people have seen the movie. According to the Alexanders, the highlight for them as producers has been the overwhelmingly positive feedback. Film critics rated Semi-Soet highly and it is clear that the South African audience loved it too!
Semi-Soet’s attendance soon beat the previous Afrikaans success story Platteland (released late November 2011): in the 3rd weekend of Semi-Soet’s run , it surpassed Platteland’s attendances by 111,7%, setting it up for the 4thweekend by 176,5%, the 5th weekend by 402,7%, the 6th weekend by 278,4% and the 7th weekend by 301,8%! Semi-Soet is currently still showing at just over 30 theatres while in its 9th week!
The latest box office figures showed that up until the 8th week, Semi-Soet has generated a total of R8 million nett at Box Office. Typically, the DVD sales and Pay TV agreements are worth more than box office sales, so the Producers are rather excited to see what the lifetime holds for this Afrikaans romcom. The planned release date for the DVD is 30 April and currently it is the top DVD on pre-orders on Kalahari.net!
The cast included former Afrikaans soap 7de Laan stars like Nico Panagio and Diaan Lawrenson, Paul du Toit (Binnelanders) and Corine du Toit. The talented Sandra Vaughn (from Getroud met Rugby) was both the scriptwriter and one of the main characters in the movie. Her character falls in love with comedian Louw Venter. These two characters caused lots of laughs in the movie.
The crew booked in on the 17th of April last year and by the 5th of May they had completed the wine farm scenes that made up almost 70% of the movie. The weather, true to the Cape, gave them some breathtaking summer days and some cold, rainy days, perfect for their fireplace scenes.
Although some of the shots in the movie look too good to be true, the director promises he did not edit the lighting and colour at all! It is one of the suprises of the film and something that struck our consciousness – to see how beautiful our workplace is on the big screen!
Anel and James had a very competent team that came on board, like the Director Joshua Rous, who worked on a previous film with Anel and James, called “Discreet” where they co-starred. Scramble Productions is the Alexanders’ start-up production company.
We accommodated most of the cast and crew on our premises during their shooting period. With them sleeping and shooting in the same spaces, it contributed a great deal to the feel and the experience they had and created on set. The energetic, positive and kind group of people got the opportunity to truly experience our historic Manor House and Jonkmanshuis. Chef Duncan from Cotage Fromage prepared a delicious buffet every morning and afternoon. Many thought it was the best on-set food ever!
In February this year we were involved in both the Johannesburg and Cape Town movie premieres. The Jo’burg premiere hosted 1,000 guests at the Montecasino Nu Metro theatres. The majority of guests were local celebrities, singers, actors, filmmakers, sponsors, media and corporates. Because of our partnership and wine sponsorship for these events and further marketing initiatives, we were also granted a certain number of complimentary invitations which we extended to our Gauteng-based Wine club members. They had the opportunity to be part of this classy, formal event and to share the red carpet with some big local personalities.
The Cape Town premiere was on a much smaller scale and hosted entirely by us, so we had the opportunity to invite our Cape Town-based Wine club members, friends and family, the local media partners plus some cast’s friends or family that could not make the Jo’burg event. It was another classy event, but more intimate than the Jo’burg one, hosted at The Fugard Theatre in District six.
James from Salt & Pepper Catering added to a lovely evening with delicious canapés and of course all our passionate ladies in red were serving our Jess Dry Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc or Boet Erasmus wines. They looked just as elegant as the movie stars! To add to the romantic ambiance, we partnered with Lindt to provide delicious dark chocolate to pair with the Boet Erasmus!
There were a mix of Afrikaans and English-speaking guests and the feedback on the night was that it was greatly enjoyed and definitely exceeded everyone’s expectations. It is a movie that portrays the Afrikaner in a more aspiring manner vs the slapstick movies of late.
In addition to the release of the movie, we launched a limited edition of the Boet Erasmus 2008. We named the wine “Vryersvoetpad” after the scene in the movie where Jaci (Alexander) and JP (Panagio) walk a lover’s lane of sorts and end up being chased by a pig into a dam and ended in a tree. The image on the label of the wine is synonymous with the imagery from the scene. Each bottle is numbered to a total of 1,400 and very little stock is still available from Makro and our tasting room. For Semi-Soet lovers, this wine can remain a collector’s item or serve well on a romantic date!
If you have not seen the movie, whether you are English or Afrikaans, we want to encourage you to go watch the movie, even if it is just to support a bit of local romantic-comedy. I am almost sure to say that you will be pleasantly surprised! And if you still don’t like watching Afrikaans movies (with English sub-titles), at least you will see how stunning Vrede en Lust looks on big screen!
We will have another movie night at Vrede en Lust for all the farm staff that has not yet seen the movie, pure with popcorn, Coke and a big screen!
We are very happy that Anel walked in here that day! James, Anel and the rest of the team, from our side CONGRATULATIONS on pulling together such a quality production and for making Vrede en Lust one of the stars in it!
Local is lekker!
To read more about the movie visit our website