Original article from thecallsheet.co.za
- Ranked #2 on the Netflix Global Top 10 Movies list for the week of 19 May 2021
- Break-out success for SA film production company’s first feature film
South African founded Nthibah Pictures’ first feature film, i am ALL GIRLS, opened in 190 territories where Netflix is available, on Friday 14 May 2021 and ranked no 2 of the Top 10 movies for the week of 19 May 2021 and looks to maintain its Top Ten status moving into week two of release.
Wayne Fitzjohn, Chairman of Nthibah Pictures, co-writer and producer of the film says the company is thrilled that its first release attracted such a large audience worldwide. “It is a difficult subject to talk about and our film has boosted global understanding about on-going human trafficking challenges. We hope that the awareness the film has created drives conversations around the topic and more importantly, mobilises support for victims and law enforcement agencies to address and combat this scourge.”
Fitzjohn, a serial entrepreneur new to the film industry, highlights that i am ALL GIRLS broke away from convention with two female leads, also dispelling the myth that women over 40 are no longer economically viable. “Actresses Hlubi Mboya and Erica Wessels (both older than 40) delivered powerful performances as detectives Ntombi Bapai and Jodie Snyman, compellingly portraying the challenges and their emotions while investigating a human trafficking ring, set in 1994 South Africa.”
Simon Swart, Los Angeles-based CEO of Nthibah Pictures, adds that releasing this film through Netflix gave Nthibah the opportunity to reach global audiences simultaneously, which would not have been possible with a release in cinemas. “Streaming gained huge popularity in the past year as the impact of Covid-19 related restrictions worldwide negatively affected cinema attendance, which made the Netflix partnership the perfect option. Also, the theme of the film – a crime thriller centered around two female detectives tracking down a human trafficking ring – is well suited for release on streaming to attract the socially aware audience and lovers of crime content we wanted to reach.”
The film, directed by Hunter Killer (2018) director Donovan Marsh, was shot on location in and around greater Johannesburg in late 2018, employing an expert South African film crew. It was one of the few productions that were finalised before film production, like many other industries, were hit by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This resulted in major disruption for both the film production and theatre-focused distribution industries.
A meaningful coup for i am ALL GIRLS was the recording of the theme song ‘Daughter’ by rock star Nancy Wilson of the rock band Heart (formed with her sister Ann in the 70’s), especially for the film. Wilson’s version of the Pearl Jam original was adapted to suit the theme of the film and will be released worldwide today.
“I recorded ‘Daughter’ for i am ALL GIRLS, a powerful story about sex trafficking in South Africa. I was drawn to the global tragedy of human trafficking and the lyrics sung from a women’s perspective also mirror the power of the girls’ untold stories. This film is a revelation and sheds meaning and light on these realities. Trafficking is a global phenomenon that impacts women around the world. I recorded this version as an anthem to them,” Wilson says about the song.
NOTE: Pearl Jam wrote the original from the perspective of a girl with the learning disability dyslexia and her mother who does not understand the condition; released in 1992.