The gritty new Meg Rickards-helmed feature film Tess, which will have its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on June 18, showcases the astounding talent of some of South Africa’s best actors. Chief amongst them is 20-year old Christia Visser who plays the title role and is certain to garner praise for her raw and powerful portrayal of a young streetwalker.
“We are simply blown away by Christia’s performance,” says producer Paul Egan. “She is an exceptional talent and we are convinced that her name will soon l be on everyone’s lips.”
Rickards says: “Christia has a rare courage and breathtaking naturalism. I salute her and all the cast, as well as the entire Tess team, who gave everything to tell what is a tough, uneasy story.”
Visser is supported by Nollywood actress Nse Ikpe-Etim with Brendon Daniels, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Quanita Adams, Dann-Jacques Mouton, Amanda Lane, Warrick Grier, Oscar Peterson, Mark Elderkin and Greg Kriek.
Tess is a hard-hitting drama based on Tracey Farren’s award-winning novel Whiplash and follows the story of Tess, a Muizenberg sex worker whose life is turned upside down when she falls pregnant, and has to fight to stop her past from swallowing her whole.
This is a passion project for Rickards who worked tirelessly, for a number of years, to bring the story to the screen. As part of the crowd-funding campaign for Tess, she walked in a torn petticoat with painted-on bruises from the centre of Cape Town to Muizenberg – a distance of 26 kilometers. Not only did the walk generate huge interest but it also helped raise the necessary funds to make it happen. “I am thrilled that the film has finally seen the light of day,” says Rickards.
Tess was produced by Paul Egan and Kim Williams of Boondogle Films, shot by cinematographer Bert Haitsma, edited by Linda Man and scored by double Grammy award-winner Christopher Tin.
The film was funded by KykNET, the National Film and Video Foundation, the DTI and Thundafund. It is being distributed locally by Times Media Films and goes on general release in 2017.
DIFF screening times and venues: 8.30 pm on Saturday, June 18 at the Playhouse; 6 pm on Tuesday, June 21 at the Playhouse and 8 pm on Friday, June 24 at NuMetro Pavilion.