Cape Town – “Address Unknown”, a short fictional film inspired by the painful story of forced removals in District Six, is set to showcase at the BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia in the US.
Directed by acclaimed Action Commandant filmmaker Nadine Cloete and written by former journalist and anti-apartheid activist Anton Fisher, the powerful short film follows the close friendship of postman Joey and his childhood friend Ebie, which survives the brutality of the apartheid government’s forced removals.
Joey is traumatised and depressed by the fact that he cannot deliver letters to friends and neighbours who have disappeared without trace due to the forced removals.
Against this background, Joey receives information about Ebie and goes in search of him despite the prevailing danger of the 1976 protests, to re-establish the bond they once shared while living in District Six.
According to Zain Young, a former postman and resident of District Six who was interviewed during the development of the script, many residents left the area without providing a forwarding address. This resulted in the correspondence addressed to them being destroyed by the General Post Office of the time.
Although the film is fictional, it is personal as Fisher’s relatives were evicted from the area. The film is his debut as a script writer.
“I had relatives who lived in District Six. They were from my mother’s side. Auntie Ada February and Uncle Davy lived in McKenzie Street, opposite the Bloemhof Flats. I would visit them with my siblings and mother.”
A large number of the cast and crew were chosen from former residents of District Six or their descendants in various aspects of the production.
“The production team worked closely with the District Six Museum, which assisted a lot. Former residents shared their experiences and events that took place, and this assisted to inform the bigger picture of District Six,” said Fisher.
The film stars Stefan Erasmus (Tracers, Fiela se Kind) as Joey the postman, Irshaad Ally (Number 37) as his childhood friend Ebie, and Bianca Flanders (Lea to the Rescue) as Joey’s wife.
A strong female contingent in the Cape Town-based crew is another feature, with executive producer being author Rehana Rossouw, and co-producer Dominique Jossie, who has featured at the Silwerskerm festival as a director on the multi-nominated short film Rooilug. Artist-activist Deidre Jantijies was location manager.
Music for the film was co-ordinated by the Cape Cultural Collective, an innovative arts project that seeks to unify people across the racial divides created by apartheid, and promotes personal and collective development.
The film was produced in association with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).