Monday, January 4, 2010


Soly with his real mom.

Iris with her real Mom.

I'm now back in Canada. The film is on hiatus until February when everyone returns to shoot the opening scenes. Mama has been instructed to pack on the pounds. When the film runs in sequence, we'll see her heavier and healthy at the beginning, and losing weight as she becomes sicker.

It's been such a great time and I have hundreds of photos more than what I've shown. Over this post and next I'll show you a few of my favourite shots that you haven't seen. I'll also fill you in on a couple of fun stories, both from the set and off. Such as: In real life, Iris is descended from local royalty. You can see it in her bearing. It's part of why she's able to hold herself so well and naturally against Chanda and her elders.

Speaking of Chanda (Khomotso Manyake), she's a real find. Like all the kids, she's sooooo natural, and a true delight. The lead adult roles are all played by professional actors out of Johannesburg and Cape Town; that's also where the lead tech and camera people come from, aside from a few from Germany. But a few of the cameo roles, and all of the kids, are from the area. In fact, in real life, Chanda lives at the end of the road, which is part of what makes the interactions of the child actors and the extras so utterly human and believable. And it's a main reason why Chanda, Iris, Soly and Esther are so perfect: They never 'Act'. They simply are -- always real and in the moment.

BTW, the cameo role of Mrs. Gulubane, the spirit doctor, is played by a real spirit doctor! How's that for authentic!

Speaking of authentic, let's close this post with a couple of neighbours from behind Chanda's house:

Till next time,


UPDATE: The film adaptation of CHANDA'S SECRETS is called LIFE, ABOVE ALL and will premiere as an Official Selection at the 2010 Cannes International Film Festival.


  1. I LOVE how happy the children look in these pictures! What a joy to be able to bask in the glow of those happy faces!

  2. Yes. (I have written the missionary/hyena post, Char. the blog after next. :))