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'It's ok not to be ok' - that's the message behind new film Skemerson

Mental illness, and the stigma surrounding it, is a critical issue in South Africa. It's the central theme in 'Skemerson' ('Sun Cry Moon'), the new film directed by Phillip Rademeyer and written by Pietie Beyers, which opens nationwide on 3 May 2019.
'It's ok not to be ok' - that's the message behind new film Skemerson
The film tells the story of a young man, Sella (Pietie Beyers) who decides to take his own life. On his way to the Bloukrans Bridge, the iconic arch bridge located near Nature's Valley, he spends one last night at the family holiday home.

He stands on the 216m high bridge, about to meet his fate, when he hears a young woman’s laugh. When Emma (Anneke Weidemann), her frail mother (acclaimed actress Elize Cawood) and Sella meet serendipitously on the bridge, it’s the beginning of a weekend that changes three lives forever. ‘Skemerson’ speaks a universal language of truth, and is one of the warmest, most honest films you'll see this year.

“’Skemerson’ is a personal story for me and is inspired by true events,” says Beyers. “It's not entirely my own story, but my own experience with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) motivated me to write the script and have the film made. Expressing my emotions in a healthy and productive way proved to be a healing experience for me and I hope that the story will help others too.”

As many as one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression or substance-use problems (and this does not include more serious conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia), according to statistics released by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).

Director Philip Rademeyer says there is, arguably, greater stigma attached to men struggling with their mental health. “When Pietie Beyers (who wrote the screenplay based on his own experiences) approached me to direct ‘Skemerson’, I was immediately drawn to its subject matter.

“On a personal level, as someone who has at times struggled with my own mental health and who knows the feelings of shame and isolation it can cause, helping to bring this story to life was important. The film’s tagline is ‘It’s okay not to be okay’, which is precisely what I hope we manage to convey with ‘Skemerson’ – that mental health issues are normal, common, and nothing to be ashamed of.”

This film was made with financial assistance from Cipla Medpro – the third largest pharmaceutical company in South Africa – which produces a wide range of medicines at affordable prices, including those for the treatment of mental health conditions. The film aims to educate people that there is always help and hope for conditions such as depression.

Skemerson is produced by Palama Productions’ Niel van Deventer ('Dis Ek, Anna') and Pietie Beyers. The film stars Pietie Beyers ('Binneland', 'Sy Klink Soos Lente'), Elize Cawood ('Vir Altyd', 'Die Wonderwerker') and Anneke Weidemann ('Die Wonderwerker', 'Die Ongelooflike Avonture van Hanna Hoekom'). It is directed by Philip Rademeyer ('Wild', 'Klippe wat Val').

‘Skemerson’ is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution.

View trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBnhcYIV5xg.

Indigenous Film Distribution: www.indigenousfilm.co.za

5 Apr 2019 10:38

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