This exciting film is about more than just life and death, it tells the story of five women – Lana, Vivian, Adrie, Diona and Nixie – who are being tossed about by life’s rough waters and drowning in their own lives. Coincidence takes them on an adventure on the Orange River. Here the unthinkable happens when their boat capsizes, the river guide goes missing and they find themselves in a battle for survival in the wilderness.
“Sometimes you have to swim against the current to discover that you are more than enough, and that you possess everything you need to overcome what the river of life may float your way,” says Ivan and Donnalee about the message behind this inspiring film.
Unlike their previous blockbusters, Pad na jou Hart and Vir Altyd, the pair don’t appear on screen together this time. Although they jointly dreamt about, wrote and produced the film, Donnalee plays the female lead while Ivan makes his directorial debut. He is very excited about the new career opportunities coming his way and says: “Ten years ago, on the set of Bakgat, I knew that I wanted to direct, but I wanted to learn more before taking on this challenge. Tom Marais and I promised each other on the set of Bakgat that he would do the cinematography when I directed my first film. Ten years on and here we are.”
The movie, filmed on the Orange River, near Onseepkans in the Northern Cape and around Johannesburg, is complemented by a strong cast:
Donnalee (Vir Altyd, Ballade vir ’n Enkeling, Pad Na Jou Hart, Klein Karoo, 7de Laan), who has won numerous awards, including Huisgenoot Tempo’s for Best Actress and Best Feature Film, plays Lana, a surgeon with a tragic past. “Lana is one of the most challenging characters I’ve ever played. She takes life and her career very seriously and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, whether she’s trying to save a life or starting a fight. There is a reason why she is such a rebel, but she has a good heart,” says Donnalee.
Vivian, the second Stroomop lady, lost her joy in life as a child. She finds her life extremely boring, which worsens her depression. To find acceptance after a terrible break-up, she tries to change herself into someone else, but she loses herself completely. The character is played by Simoné Nortmann (Hotel, Wonderlus, Vuil Wasgoed), who describes her character: “Vivian is a data analyst and it is clear that she is very unsure of herself. She likes routine and is taken aback by this adventure which forces her to face her biggest fears,” says Simoné, who stole viewers’ hearts in the award-winning blockbuster Vir die Voëls, for which she won Best Actress at both the Huisgenoot Tempo’s and the Tallgrass International Film Festival.
Chanelle de Jager (Egoli, Die Boekklub 1&2, Boland Moorde) says the following about her character, Adrie: “Adrie is the mother of three very busy children whom she loves dearly. But she sometimes feels as if she is drowning, and that she needs to recharge her batteries.”
Adrie, like most women, neglects herself in an attempt to tick all her daily boxes. Somewhere along the line, though, she swapped her inner power and joy for busyness. She is in a constant battle with her weight and doesn’t see her own beauty. As a result, she completely overlooks how beautiful she is to her husband.
In her heart, Diona is a mother first – strong, challenging and above all protective. These characteristics led to her becoming a lawyer at the top of the career ladder. Unfortunately, and unknowingly, her success came at the cost of her family. After her husband’s death she desperately tries to repair her relationship with her daughter.
“Diona is a mother who neglects her family a little, because her career is so important to her,” says Ilse Klink (Isidingo, The Path, Villa Rosa, Roer Jou Voete), who is a familiar face on both the stage and the screen, and who recently won Fiesta and Naledi Awards for Best Actress.
Amid her studies in London, Nixie returns to South Africa, but this time with a secret she cannot share with her mother. After her father’s death she became increasingly introverted, and uncomfortable with the relationship she now has with her previously absent mother who simply cannot let go of the question “what happened in London?”.
Carla Classen (Howled and she forgot to say sorry, A Sense of Touch, 7de Laan), a talented actress and stage artist who won a Woordfees Award in 2016, plays Nixie. “She is a 21-year-old millennial who is very involved with other people through her phone, but in real life she is an introvert. She goes on this adventure to try and come to terms with her father’s death,” she explains.
Armand Aucamp (Ballade vir ’n Enkeling, Die Boekklub 1&2, Krotoa, Knapsekêrels) plays the role of Guy, the river guide. “Guy is a man of nature, without an ego and very in touch with his emotions. He is accessible and breaks the preconceived stereotypes about how a man looks and what he is really like,” he says about his character.
Stroomop’s script was written by Ivan Botha, Donnalee Roberts and Sean Robert Daniels from The Writers Block. The project was produced by 17FILMS and The Film Factory SA, in association with kykNET, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Distributed locally by Filmfinity, the film is scheduled for release in cinemas nationwide on 9 August 2018.