New SA film features 50 local dancers

Mandela Bay Pictures has started production on Pop, Lock n Roll, a South African dance film which features a cast of over 80, including 50 dancers, and a crew of over 35. The film also boasts a team of eight choreographers, led by Craig Bullock.

Written by Steven Pillemar, directed by Ziggy Hofmeyr, and co-produced by Mayenzeke Baza and Pascal Schmitz, the film is being shot at ten locations across Johannesburg and Soweto. Filming in venues such as Zone 6 in Soweto with the participation of South Africa’s best hip-hop dancers allows the film to encompass an authentic hip-hop flavour.

Director Ziggy Hofmeyer explains, “I am so excited to be working with such a large and talented production team. This film is really something special. There has not been a South African dance film ever produced on this scale – and I think the film is going to be massive.”

The film stars well-known South African talent Maurice Paige, Yasira Bhelz (Bhelekazi Ruiters) and Lionel Newton. Both Paige and Bhelz have pushed themselves in preparing for their performance by spending many months in professional dance training with a range of top hip-hop choreographers. Dancers which appear in the film include previous Red Bull BC One finalist Jed Lawrence, as well as some of the country’s top dance crews such as Vintage, Street Kingdom and Soweto’s Finest amongst others.

Lead actress Bhelz has composed performed four original songs which feature in the film and says, “It’s been amazing to be given such creative freedom, both in terms of an actress and as a musician. This is a rare opportunity to showcase both my acting and music, and the film is the perfect vehicle for this.”

Co-star Paige adds, “I have been committed to this project for two years because from the moment I saw the script I knew it was an incredible opportunity for me to showcase my versatility. The cast, crew and entire production team are amazing, and this film is really going to reflect the talent in South African film and hip-hop dance.”

Pop, Lock n Roll is funded by The DTI, M-Net, The National Film and Video Foundation, Mandela Bay Pictures and Media Film Services.