Whiplash, why this movie? Why now?

Now is your chance to support the making of a much needed local movie, Whiplash. Film-makers Jacky Lourens and Meg Rickards plan to film Whiplash, based on Tracey Farren’s novel later on this year. It’s a homegrown story, set in Muizenberg. And as you will see from the director’s letter below, it’s an important story for us here in South Africa, right now. If you want to help make the movie happen go to the Thundafund site. The rewards for funding include things like getting to play a bit part in the movie, having your name on the credits, hanging out on the set and having lunch with the director. Please also like the Whiplash Film page on Facebook, you will be enchanted by the shots of Muizenberg and be able to keep tabs on the progress of the making of the movie. Meg Rickards is busy with casting at the moment, and the producers are raising the last bit of money they need.

When prostitute Tess falls pregnant, she is ambushed by shocking memories, and has to face her buried shame to learn to live, dance and love…

The film, along with its corresponding outreach project, will challenge the pervasive culture of sexual violence head-on. But the film is not a morality tale; it aims to shift attitudes through the power of narrative. Film has a powerful ability to promote empathy, to spark discussion and ultimately, to trigger social change.

We’re crowdfunding!

We are looking to raise 29% of our films remaining budget using crowdfunding. (We already have 71% of the funding in place via secondary channels.) This also allows us to build a “crowd” network of support and an audience for when the film is made.

Meg Rickards, director of Whiplash, writes a clear and impassioned letter explaining why she wants to make this movie, at this time.

Dear friends

Since finishing 1994: the bloody miracle I’ve been working all out, together with producer Jacky Lourens, to get the Whiplash film project off the ground. It’s about a Cape Town prostitute, Tess, who falls pregnant. She is ambushed by shocking memories, and has to face her buried shame to learn to live, dance and love.

When I first read Tracey Farren’s novel, I was overcome by the roller-coasting emotion, the gripping plot, and above all, by Tess’s journey to self-acceptance. My instinct was, ‘This has to be a film.’ When reading Tracey’s wonderful script, I see the film playing out, scene by scene, in my mind’s eye: in turn shocking, gritty, poignant and wry.

Still – why this film, why now?

The Medical Research Council estimates that up to 3,600 rapes happen daily in South Africa: that’s 1.4 million rapes a year. These are committed in a climate of impunity: amongst the small proportion that get reported, no more than one in ten result in a conviction. A culture of abuse means that for many, rape – even that of minors – is not seen as a crime so much as a daily occurrence.

How do we change mind-sets? We believe Whiplash is an urgent intervention to stimulate dialogue about this scourge. However, Whiplash is not an explicit ‘messaging film’. The fact that it’s a riveting story makes it a far more powerful tool. Film has the ability to promote empathy and spark discussion. No one wants to be preached at.

For Whiplash to have a significant impact on popular cultural attitudes, it needs to reach everyone. So Whiplash will be launched as part of an extensive public awareness campaign – with Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and NGO Embrace Dignity – and screenings and discussions will be held in schools, prisons, civic and religious organisations throughout the country.

I’ve been asked, ‘Is Whiplash a feel-good film?’ Well, No – but it’s certainly a feel-better film. This is not a Pretty Woman fairy tale; this is a chance to fall in love with someone intrinsically beautiful who believes she is ugly. Tess is so brutally honest your skin will itch, so bitingly funny you’ll laugh despite oneself. You won’t be able to help yourself rooting for her as she sheds her misplaced guilt to stop feeling like a whore. So Whiplash won’t leave you bleak, but rather with a sense of hope.

To read the rest of Meg Rickards’ letter click here


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