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OIL ON WATER (article first published : 2007-09-20)

Produced exclusively out of KwaZulu Natal, the new feature film Oil on Water premiered in Durban recently, ahead of its international launch. It was hailed by film-goers as “one of the best films to come out of South Africa in recent years” and was described as a poignant, moving and beautiful film that touches on emotional, psychological and spiritual issues which affect human beings on a global basis.

Oil on Waterdepicts the raw, epic beauty of KZN locations and aims to uncover one of the world’s most heartbreaking and afflictive secrets – the effects of schizophrenia on those who suffer from it, and on those who love and live with them.

“We need to expose the fact that over 51 million people in the world suffer from the disorder - that’s 10 million more than the estimated 41 million people who are infected with HIV/Aids,” says producer Elle Matthews. “Over half those who suffer from schizophrenia will attempt suicide at least once. Between 10 and 13 percent will succeed. These statistics definitely require greater awareness of this disorder.”

According to the UN World Health Organization a total of 39.5 million people were living with HIV in 2006 and, according to a popular Schizophrenia website – schizphrenia.com – the disorder is twice as prevalent as Alzheimers, five times more prevalent than multiple sclerosis, and 60 times more prevalent than muscular dystrophy – all disorders that have greater awareness than Schizophrenia itself!

Oil on Water is an emotionally and visually evocative film about a young creative couple whose idyllic lives are spent doing what they love, following their purpose and being with the person they love. Things begin to spiral out of control when Max starts experiencing strange symptoms that he cannot share with Anna. The film is an insightful portrayal into what it is like to live with an undiagnosed psychological disorder – both for Max, who experiences it, and for Anna, whose life is changed by it forever.

Written by Elle Matthews, Oil on Water is complexly layered and textured with sensitive cinematography and strong emotional performances. The young dynamic cast features Bianca Lishansky (who starred in Spring Break) as Anna and St.John Alexander (who featured in Zoop) as Max. The film is directed by Peter Matthews, who is preparing to direct another South African film, Place of Purgatory, which will go into production in 2008.

Oil on Water was produced by Tidal Wave Productions and is their first feature film. It will be released in South Africa on October 10, 2007, to coincide with World Mental Health Day.




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