Global horror fans have fallen for ‘The Tokoloshe’, the new film directed by Jerome Pikwane and starting Petronella Tshuma (Rhythm City, Scandal!), which opens at cinemas in South Africa on 2 November.
Having scored rave reviews from international film festival critics, ‘The Tokoloshe’ recently screened to great acclaim at the Lund International Fantastic Film Festival (LIFFF), a popular festival in Lund in southern Sweden that mainly shows fantasy, science fiction and horror films. LIFFF is the largest fantastic/genre film festival in Scandinavia. ‘The Tokoloshe’ was part of an event focused on ‘The Black Gaze’, and its screening was preceded by Dianca London Potts’ lecture, ‘Black Horror: The Revolutionary Act of Subverting the White Gaze’.
The film will have its Belgium premiere – and screen in competition – at the legendary Razor Reel Fantastic Film Festival on 29 October. The Flemish genre film festival takes place from 25 to 30 October in the city of Bruges.
“We are delighted that the film will screen at Razor Reel,” says producer Dumi Gumbi. “The popular festival presents a selection of the best national and international genre films (horror, fantasy, thrillers, action, comedies, animated films) to its audience and it’s a great privilege to have ‘The Tokoloshe’ selected by the festival organisers.”
From the first horror films of the early 19th century, that rendered monsters familiar from childhood into physical form, monsters have always fascinated audiences. Often cited as the first ‘monster movie’ was ‘The Golem’ in 1920, based on the Jewish legend of an artificial creature created by magic, often for nefarious purposes. Since then, horror has carved a place in the cinematic imagination as a unique genre with broad appeal.
‘The Tokoloshe’ is an imaginative depiction of a myth about a terrifying predator, tells the story of Busi (Tshuma), a young woman who is desperate for money and takes a cleaning job at a rundown hospital. There she befriends a young girl, Gracie (Kwande Nkosi), who believes she is being terrorised by a supernatural being called the Tokoloshe, a diminutive, malevolent spirit with sexual desires who can cause illness or even death. When children start being taken, Busi is forced to ask if the Tokoloshe is indeed responsible.
“According to a recent article on CNN Business, horror films continue to make a killing at the box office,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “’Halloween’ just earned $33,3 million on its opening Friday and was expected to bring in roughly $80 million on the weekend. Even in an age of on-demand streaming, these films are best enjoyed at brick and mortar theatres where other viewers are screaming with you in the dark. Horror films keep bringing people back to the theatre.
The Tokoloshe will continue travelling to film festivals in Europe before it releases on 2 November at cinemas in South Africa – just in time for the Halloween season. Earlier this year it opened the Durban International Film Festival and will also be screened at the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in Lagos, Nigeria between the 11th to the 18th of November 2018, and the film is also in competition at this festival.
‘The Tokoloshe’, which has already seen several international sales, was funded by the dti, National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and M-Net Movies, and will be released by Indigenous Film Distribution.
Indigenous Film Distribution: www.indigenousfilm.co.za
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