Director and scriptwriter, Nosipho Dumisa, just won Cheval Noir Jury Prize for Best Director at the 22nd Fantasia International Film Festival which took place in Montreal from July 12 through August 2 2018, for her debut motion picture, Number 37 (Nommer 37).
The award-winning Afrikaans film, set in a fictional Cape Flats area, tells the story of a paraplegic man Randal Hendricks (Irshaad Ally), who is confined to his wheelchair after having been horrifically beaten by dope dealers he tried to hustle, and his girlfriend Pam Ismael (Monique Rockman) who play a risky game of cat and mouse when they blackmail a powerful criminal called Lawyer while evading a sadistic loan shark Emmie.
Nosipho Dumisa, a Zulu woman from Durban best known for directing the SAFTA award-winning short film, Nommer 37 (2014), co-directed by Nosipho Dumisa and Travis Taute from which the feature came about. Nommer 37 was selected to premiere at SXSW (South by South West) International Film Festival last month, making history as the first ever full South African feature film and the first South African narrative feature film selected to show in over 12 years.
In an interview with Between10and5, Nosipho Dumisa speaks about how Afrikaans came to be the language for the movie. “The film was originally written in English but the more we (my creative partners at Gambit Films and I) worked on it, the more we knew that English was the wrong choice – the subculture portrayed is predominantly Afrikaans speaking and some things just can’t be translated properly to English. Even the Afrikaans used is unique to this particular area of Cape Town. I wanted authenticity above all.”
The Fantasia International Film Festival announced their award winners of the juried sections of its 22nd edition earlier this August. Tim Matheson presided over Fantasia’s 2018 Cheval Noir Jury, which was also comprised of Abraham Castillo Flores, Evan L. Katz, Phil Nobile Jr., Stéphanie Trépanier, and Victoria Sanchez-Mandryk.
Of Number 37 and Dumisa, the jury statement reads: “Nosipho Dumisa demonstrates sensitivity and elegance with her debut feature, a Hitchcockian noir transplanted to the gritty slums of Capetown. Displaying an assured level of finesse and precision, the direction allows all elements of the film to breathe, and to shine – even at gunpoint.”
“No director makes a movie on his or her own; it’s a concerted team-effort from beginning to end and the journey of Number 37 is no different,” Dumisa said about her win. “My job as director is simply to steward the talents and efforts of all involved. So really, this award is not just for me, but for everyone from the team at Gambit Films, to the actors who gave everything, the incredible crew who trusted me and worked fiercely to see this vision come to life, and those who started the journey with us in the making of the short film.” The filmmaker has directed countless commercials, television pilots, reality TV pilots, lifestyle shows and short films. She is also one of the producers of the hit kykNET soap opera, Suidooster.
Having been in cinemas since June, the DVD for Number 37 will be available for hire on BoxOffice from 3 September 2018 and will be available for purchase from retail outlets from 7 September 2018.