Nommer 37, produced by Gambit Films, will have its world premiere at the SXSW (South by South West) Film Festival, in Texas, during the week of 9 to 16 March 2018.
It is one of only 44 films by first-time filmmakers included from the 8 160 submissions received from across the world. The short film version of this gripping tale won a SAFTA Award in 2016 for Best Short Film and promises to continue making waves in the film industry – both locally and abroad.
“With a title like Nommer 37 and set in a fictional Cape Flats area, you would think that this is a film about gangsters – it’s not. What it is, is an out-and-out crime thriller that tightens the screws of tension with every minute. It’s about everything that could go wrong for a couple when depression, curiosity, greed, fear and horrific bad decision-making collide,” says director and writer Nosipho Dumisa about her debut feature film. Originally from Durban but based in Cape Town, Nosipho has directed countless commercials, television pilots, reality TV pilots, lifestyle shows and short films. She has recently directed two episodes of danZ, featured on kykNET & Kie, and is also one of the producers of the hit kykNET soap opera, Suidooster.
Set in Haven Mansions, a fictional block of apartments in Dumisa’s imagined suburb of the Cape Flats, Nommer 37 looks through the eyes of a former petty criminal, who has been spat out by the very world he once thrived in and left to observe it from the outside. “Having grown up watching genre films like thrillers, horrors, action and romance, it was exciting to work on a film that unapologetically explored important themes that confront us as a society today, through equally unapologetic entertainment,” she adds.
Entrapped in his apartment, Randal Hendricks (Irshaad Ally), a recent paraplegic, is given a gift of binoculars by his devoted girlfriend, Pam (Monique Rockman). But he is in financial debt to Emmie (Danny Ross), a sadistic loan shark, and when he witnesses a powerful gangster, named Lawyer (David Manuel), commit murder while observing his neighbours through his binoculars, he initiates a dangerous blackmail scheme in an attempt to settle his debt. With deception and greed around every corner, what follows is a thrilling ride that puts both their lives in mortal danger… as the world around Randal deteriorates further and further into chaos.
Irshaad Ally, who is best-known as Rhafiek in Suidooster and Gasant in Four Corners, is thrilled about starring in the film. “I have been involved with this project since we made the short film in 2014 and it has faced a lot of obstacles since then. Now, four years later, the feature film is being released and the joy is inexplicable,” he shares. About playing Randal, he adds: “I have a brother-in-law who is a paraplegic. I’ve lived with him through his depression and wanting to leave my sister just like Randal wanted to leave Pam. He has many friends who’ve become part of our family. A rowdy, foulmouthed bunch of wheelchair-bound guys who are like my older brothers. I sat them down and asked intimate questions about what it felt like being a disabled man and it was met with tears and laughter. So that’s how I prepped basically. It was both a wonderful and terrible experience, but I’ll do it all over again because I learnt so much. I absolutely loved being directed by Nosipho!”
The story, mainly told from Randal’s apartment until the detective shows up, is cleverly constructed to highlight and maintain suspense and an aura of dysfunction throughout the film. It also boasts a very talented cast, including an impressive performance by Monique Rockman, who makes her big screen debut as leading lady Pam. Sandi Schultz (Binnelanders, Noem My Skollie), Deon Lotz (Hansie, Faan se Trein), Elton Landrew (Die ek, Anna, Dryfsand, 7de Laan), Ephraim Gordon (Class Act), Danny Ross (Broken Vows, Suidooster), David Manuel (The Outsiders, Noem My Skollie), and Amrain Ismail-Essop (This Life, Forgiveness) can also be seen in the movie.
Nommer 37 is a thrilling big-screen cinematic experience that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats until the credits start rolling. “My hope is that this film will be seen by all South Africans because the story is so universal and relatable, whilst giving us a peek into a world that’s familiar to some but unknown by most through the lens of a voyeur. By the time the audience walks out of the cinema, they will have been thoroughly entertained, surprised and quite possibly (though questionably) looking to buy a pair of binoculars,” Nosipho concludes.
This Gambit Films Production was produced in association with kykNET Films, M-Net and the DTI, and will be distributed by Ster-Kinekor Entertainment locally, in cinemas across the country, on 1 June 2018, and by XYZ Films internationally.