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Konfetti (2013): GP chats to Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat, Nico Panagio and Louw Venter

'Konfetti

Konfetti’, due for release on South African screens on 18 April, guarantees not only to have the audience in stitches but has already worked its magic on the cast. It has made such an impact on those who have already seen it, that it is an official South African entry for screenings at the Beverly Hills and Julien Dubuque international film festivals this year. I chatted telephonically to Zaheer Goodman-Byhat, Nico Panagio and Louw Venter

With a story that had been devised by Louw Venter and already received much acclaim on stage as ‘The Best Man’s Speech’, ‘Konfetti’ tells a tale loosely based on Louw’s own situation – an Afrikaans man marrying the love of his life – a Jewish woman. Add the fiction to the mix in the form of a Rasta priest and a Best Man who has forgotten to organize the band for the wedding and you have a script which is guaranteed to have you rolling in the aisles. 

“We have world-class talent in South Africa,” says Louw proudly, “and we’re starting to be a player in the rest of the world [as is evidenced by invitations to various international film festivals]. This cast has been hand-picked and the result is magic! Some were as result of ‘miracle’ walk-ins – for instance, Casey [B Dolan] who, two minutes into the audition fully understood the role.

“Fundamentally, I am a story-teller. I grew up in a writing home and have a huge respect for the power of stories. It gives us a new and very different perspective on our lives.” But, Louw isn’t just a writer, he envisaged ‘Konfetti’ and the role he would play as Lukas – the Best Man. “I would have physically fought anyone who wanted the role,” he adds.

Fun was the name of the game and while filming had to do many a retake as the mirth would just bubble over.  “We had such fun,” he says. “Each person brought something special to their characters and Casper de Vries, for instance, gives you stuff you could never imagine… it’s so much better than working in isolation… I just couldn’t get through a take without laughing.”

Zaheer [Goodman-Bhyat] according to Nico Panagio, who takes on the role of the bridegroom – Jean, “is a phenomenal director. It was a cumulative creative process – Louw and I might have worked for hours, but Zaheer was able to bring out the best of what everyone could bring to the screen.

“There was a constant energy flow, almost like a potter’s table, once the floodgates opened. In fact, we could have made a movie from all the outtakes. ‘Konfetti’ is not in-your-face slapstick humour. It has been worked with surgical precision, fleshed out by the actors and calibrated until the sweet spot has been found… the essential element being that the audience be taken on a ride.”

[But Nico is not just an actor and Reality TV presenter, although he’s probably best known as the host of Survivor SA. In addition to his passion for acting, he is intrinsically involved in a foundation which looks for missing children in South Africa. “The power of community was unharnessed until we came along. Missing Children SA involves the people who know their environment – they are the first tier. We have an 84%-87% success rate and form a bridge between the police and the community.”]

The Director and Producer

Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat brings a wealth of experience to the screen and passionately believes in South African cinema. “We have to compete with the movies which come to our screens – we don’t have a choice! We have to be relevant and play to our strengths even though our budgets are smaller. I would like to get to a point where a film is judged on its merit and not whether it is a worthy South African film.

“Konfetti has a fabulous script, something which is uniquely South African, and of a caliber not even found in Hollywood movies. These are people you will recognize – either as family members, friends or acquaintances … and you will either laugh or cry.

“The cast is phenomenal and proof that we have plenty of talent in South Africa!”

Pop into your nearest cinema this weekend for a rollicking good time! Nothing is better than seeing your movie on a big screen – it’s all about the experience and seeing the film in the way it was made especially for the Big Screen.

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