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Tuesday, August 5, 2014


(Dumisani Mbebe & Mandisa Nduna)

Between Friends, a South African university reunion movie in the tradition of The Best Man Holiday and Madea’s Family Reunion, opens in cinemas on August 15 and features an exciting female cast.

The film tells the story of a group of five university friends who reunite at an upmarket game lodge in KwaZulu-Natal, seven years after graduation. Haunting their reunion is the secret of a wild night they spent together at the very same lodge while at varsity. Long buried secrets shared by the old friends are eventually exposed, causing tension to arise in their current relationships.

The film features a cast of familiar faces. Thapelo Mokoena plays Nkanyiso, a suave, successful entrepreneur who is reluctantly attending the reunion with his gorgeous trophy girlfriend, Nisha, played by Amanda Du Pont. Last year Du Pont was cast in Intersexions, End Game, and Task Force and currently presents RGB on SABC1. She is a Swazi actress, model and television presenter best known for her role as Thabisile Dlamini in the SABC2 soap opera Muvhango. She is also known for co-hosting the SABC1 celebrity gossip show The Real Goboza. She has acted in numerous television series including Generations, A Place Called Home, City Ses'la, Life is Wild, Intersexions, Single Guys and End Game.

The films also stars Lihle Dhlomo, who won Best Newcomer at the 2012 Mercury Durban Theatre awards and is well known on the Durban stage. An actress, singer, dancer and voice-over artist Dhlomo studied drama at the Durban University of Technology and graduated cum laude. She played the role of a nurse in Ronnie Govender’s Botoo, an important work which premiered at the South African Woman’s Art Festival in the Playhouse Loft in 2013. Between Friends is her first feature film performance. She plays the role of Linda, a woman tortured by her feelings for a man who belongs to another, while her own fiancĂ© seems to be taking forever to arrive in her home country.

In the role of Portia, who is constantly at loggerheads with her husband, is Mandisa Nduna, a new star who was in the final four of Class Act 2. She has had leading roles in Mzansi Magic’s Devil in the House and Uninvited Woman and is described as a household name in Loxion Bioskope. Between Friends is her first feature film performance.

Between Friends is directed by Zuko Nodada, who has directed a number of films, theatre shows and drama series for SABC1, including the hit drama series Intersexions and Bay of Plenty. Nodada is also a graduate of the Durban University of Technology, where he studied drama.

“Each of the three female leads is really beautiful in her own way and they are strong performers,” says Nodada. “For Mandisa and Lihle it was their first feature film and they both excelled opposite some very seasoned performers. Amanda looks fabulous and brings us that 'Kardashian' feel we were after. Lihle as Linda is really the smart ‘girl next door’, and Mandisa's Portia is sassy and high-maintenance.

“We joke that 'everybody is beautiful' in the film, but we wanted to present an aesthetic that had not yet been explored in local movies,” adds Nodada. “Based on the feedback from those who have seen it, the images of gorgeous black women in bikinis swimming in cool blue water on a sunny day is blowing people's minds. It seems to be an image that young black women find extremely empowering. That sort of reaction was a pleasant surprise.”

Nodada says the film’s target market is those who enjoy a good romantic comedy, particularly those who love films like Think like a Man and the Tyler Perry Why did I get Married films. The film is being distributed nationwide by Indigenous Film Distribution.