It has been said that where words leave off, music begins. The power of music to touch us emotionally and to bring light out of darkness is at the heart of Verskietende Ster (Shooting Star), the new film by award-winning filmmaker Stefan Enslin, which releases in cinemas this month.
Enslin, who wrote the screenplay for Verskientende Ster also wrote the novel of the same name – published in 2013 – on which his screenplay is based. He is the founder of Faith in Motion Productions, a film production company focusing on stories with an inspirational message.
A film about troubled genius, the cost of talent, and the schisms between personal independence and family ties, it tells the story of musical prodigy Phillip Schuman, a talented 15-year-old pianist whose genius is threatened by weight of the world around him.
When subject advisor Max du Toit (Hannes van Wyk) sees him performing one of his own compositions, he immediately recognises that the bespectacled and anxious boy has the talent to become a modern Beethoven.
Max takes Phillip under his wing and provides extra piano lessons for him, but soon realises that things are not going to be as easy as he might have thought. Phillip’s father Tomas (Hykie Berg), trapped by guilt, and mourning the death of his wife Maria (Jana Strydom), forbids Phillip from ever touching a piano again.
What follows is a true life drama about the conflicted relationship between a boy and his father. When Tomas reveals a shocking truth, Phillip is forced to choose between forgiveness and living in the past.
Verskietende Ster is the first Afrikaans film to have a full orchestra score. Composed by acclaimed composer for film and television Geo Höhn, the music is perfectly suited to the film as it is both delicate and epic, serving this moving coming of age tale in the best possible way.
The film, which features a number of industry stalwarts, was produced by long-time collaborators Stefan Enslin and Philo Pieterse. It won the Audience Favourite award at the 2015 kykNET Silwerskerm Film Festival where it made its debut.
“Verskietende Ster is an inspiring tale that explores the reasons why certain people are born with special talents,” says Pieterse. “At its heart lies the poignant exploration of the emotional connectivity of music, its power to move us, and to turn pain into something beautiful and restorative. It’s an uplifting, stirring story that is bound to move audiences.”
Pieterse, through his production company Philo Films, has been involved with some of the highest grossing South African films, including e’Lollipop, the runaway success Platteland and, most recently, Strikdas – ‘n Familie Gedoente. He and Enslin searched long and hard to find the right cast for the film, which includes exciting new talent.
Young actor Deànré Reiners stars in the role of Phillip Schuman. Soapie fans will recognise him from his role as Emil in Binnelanders. In his matric year, he appeared in Darrel James Roodt’s Seun, which premiered at the Silwerskermfees.
In the role of Tomas Schuman is Hykie Berg, a former Survivor SA winner, who appeared in Plek van die Vleisvreters (2004), Klein Karoo (2013), and Forsaken (2015). Jana Strydom, best known for her television roles in 7de Laan, Erfsondes and Swartwater, plays Maria Schuman.
The film is directed by Roodt, one of South Africa’s most prolific directors and screenwriters. In 1992 he directed the critically acclaimed film Sarafina. His 2004 film Yesterday was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Verskietende Ster is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution.