New film showcases fresh South African talent

30 October 2019

‘Cut-Out Girls’ young cast inspires, empowers and questions in ground-breaking film about the need for change

‘Cut-Out Girls’, the new film by writer and director Nicola Hanekom, interrogates the reality of how young women’s lives are irreversibly impacted by the actions of men, many of whom are known to them. It’s a brave and unique production that showcases some of the country’s best new talent, as well Hanekom’s own directorial skill.

Shot in and around Cape Town, the film is loosely based on a successful stage play by Hanekom dealing with the uncomfortable subject of date rape and the effect that it has on both survivors and perpetrators. The play was developed using a cast of young actors that Hanekom and producer Grant Swanby, himself a well-known actor, coached at film acting academy Act Cape Town.

‘Cut-Out Girls’ tells the story of how six young women’s lives are altered by the actions of two aspiring sportsmen. Kevin and Mike are trying to get ahead in the competitive world of tennis. When one of them discovers a dangerous key that can unlock their potential, things get out of hand. Their worlds become intertwined and spiral out of control. A small series of seemingly insignificant moments weave together with devastating consequences. The film delves deep into the notion that in every moment a choice exists.

“The special bond that was formed between the cast members, coupled with the visceral response to the play, encouraged me to develop the script into a full-length feature film,” says Hanekom. “The cast is young, fresh and multi-talented. We went through a thorough rehearsal process and found a place of complete trust and bravery. It is rare to have a South African film in English that is almost completely populated by a cast in their early twenties. We hope that young people will resonate with seeing themselves authentically represented on the big screen.”

Films can do more than entertain, says Hanekom. “They have the power to change hearts and minds – and sometimes society more widely. With its multiple plot and character narratives, ‘Cut-Out Girls’ presents the ‘truth’ from a multiplicity of perspectives, offering several viewpoints and versions of events to get to an overarching truth.”

The film looks at how women of all races and classes, gay and straight, are impacted by gender-based violence. It challenges the audience to figure out connections between the various narrative threads in a journey that is both captivating and original.

‘Cut-Out Girls’ stars Joel Rosenblatt, Cody Mountain, Keziah Gabriel, Chloe Papademetriou, Meghan Oberholzer, Ashleigh van der Hoven and Atlanta Johnson. The filming was funded in part by an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign. A portion of the proceeds of the film will go to the non-profit organisation Rape Crisis. Actress Ashleigh van der Hoven who plays Clea in the film has taken the Cut-Out Girls mission even further recently. She portrays a boxer in the film and recently fought her first bout to raise money for the same charity.

The film is produced by Act Cape Town Productions, in association with Haas & Kaas.

‘Cut-Out Girls’ is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution. It releases nationwide on 22 November 2019.

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