Based on the highly-acclaimed novel Whiplash, by Tracey Farren, Shushh will tell the hard-hitting story of Tess, a sassy young Afrikaans sex worker from Muizenberg who has to face the demons of her past when she falls pregnant.
The financial contribution from M-Net Movies and kykNET completes the funding for this passion project, which had tongues wagging around Women’s Day last year. At the time, director Meg Rickards walked from the centre of Cape Town to Muizenberg, dressed in a petticoat and sporting painted-on bruises to increase awareness around women abuse – and raise funds for the movie.
“The response to the project has been incredible,” says Rickards, who recently directed the award-winning documentary 1994: the bloody miracle. “And we’re beyond excited that M-Net Movies and kykNET are now also standing behind a story that simply cries out to be told. After a four-year search for funding, we have found partners who share our vision and are getting amazing cast and crew on board, all of whom share our passion for this film. The green light from kykNET and M-Net movies will allow us to enhance the gravitas of the story and production quality of the film immensely.”
M-Net Movies director, Jan du Plessis, says Shushh has the potential to become a landmark South African film. “The script is brutally honest; the story is gritty; heart-wrenching; raw and beautiful and the pill-popping, fragile, yet feisty character of Tess is unlike anything we’ve seen in a South African films before. She will take audiences through an intense emotional journey and raise important issues – but with her wry humour and courage, and without ever becoming preachy. The development of the local film industry is incredibly important for M-Net Movies and kykNET and we’re definitely pushing the boundaries with this edgy film.”
Filming for Shushh will commence in September, with the lead actors expected to be announced shortly. The project, which is being produced by Boondogle Films and Get the Picture, is also supported by the National Film and Video Foundation and the Department of Trade and Industry.
The script for Shushh was written by author Tracey Farren, whose novel Whiplash was short-listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2009, and was also honoured with a White Ribbon award by Women. The movie has had to find a new title, due to the success of the Oscar-winning film of the same name. The dialogue in Shussh will be a mix of Afrikaans and English.