New local film, directed by Darrell Roodt, secures international distribution deal

Darrell Roodt. (Photo: Valerie Macon/Getty Images for TheWrap)

  • Darrell Roodt’s latest film has secured a distribution deal ahead of production.
  • Gravel Road Distribution Group has secured worldwide sales rights for Girl from Greytown.
  • The film is written by Rani Sitaram and Rose Cortes. Sitaram is also the producer.

The next South African film Girl from Greytown has already secured an international distribution deal before production has even started.

The film, written by Rani Sitaram and Rose Cortes, will be directed by Darrell Roodt. Roodt’s movie Yesterday was named Best Foreign Language Film of the Year at the 2005 Oscars. He also directed the iconic Sarafina! with Whoopi Goldberg.

Sitaram is also the producer of the film with Gravel Road Distribution Group securing the international sales rights.

According to a media statement, the film tells the true story of a South African baby girl, Meena, who was abandoned as a baby with physical limitations. She continues to build her life with extraordinary bravery.

Through the romance of letter writing, she falls in love and an intercontinental love affair begins

Girl from Greytown is initially set in 1960s apartheid South Africa and sets the scene for the nation’s liberation and Meena’s self-realization and self-love.

The intimate story is punctuated by South Africa’s heyday as a democracy which underpins the narrative with a distinct layer.

“What I love most about Girl from Greytown is its authenticity. You can hear the characters come to life on every page,” Roodt said in a statement.

He added: “It’s because Meena’s story is a true story, and so are the characters depicted in it. They are embedded in the culture, which brings depth and richness beyond the image.

Rani Sitaram

Rani Sitaram. (Photo: provided)

Sitaram said she chose to partner with a distributor with a proven track record of “supporting diverse voices, supporting the feminine, and delivering lasting success for films in the market.”

“Gravel Road is the premier distribution company on the continent and a great story as Girl from Greytown deserves the best team,” she added.

“Including powerful themes of resilience, fear, courage, sisterhood, sacrifice, personal identity, empowerment and discrimination, Greytown Girl will have broad global appeal, particularly for female audiences,” said Benjamin Cowley, CEO of Gravel Road Distribution Group.

“I look forward to bringing this premium local production to the world,” he added.

The production features a cast of multi-ethnic characters and is based on the dynamic South African context, creating a rich tone.

Casting is currently underway. Production is set to begin in July 2022, with a theatrical and VOD release slated for 2023.

Gravel Road will handle international sales and distribution across Africa.

Gladys T. Hensley