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HITCHHIKER (article first published : 2008-01-27)

A host of exciting local young talent is set to explode on the big screen at movie theatres around South Africa on February 1, with the release of the South African movie, Hitchhiker.

Young heartthrob Paul Gardyne in his first film role, plays the role of a love-sick young bushveld boy, Regardt, who hitchhikes across the breath of the country in pursuit of his true love. This Durban-born hopeful is definitely going to wow the ladies in this sweet love story set against the backdrop of international art theft and love triangles.

Following in the celebrity footsteps of their father, theatre impresario Richard Loring, are the beautiful Natasha and Samantha Loring. Cape Town-based Natasha plays the lead role of Julie (Regardt’s love interest), the affluent young lady whose parents send her to university in Cape Town, so as to get her away from the attentions of their neighbour’s son who they consider low born and déclassé. London based Samantha plays the role of a fun, if slutty friend who seems to get with all Julie’s boyfriends.

Other exciting young talent include New York-based swimsuit sensation, Justine Gundelfinger whose sexy and sultry role will definitely win her more admirers. English hunk, Lee Savage, adds an international flavour to the cast, in the role of the young English gentleman who drives his Rolls Royce across South Africa as part of a bet. He picks up the hapless young Regardt, and a comfortable friendship ensues, despite their complete economic and social opposing statuses.

Hitchhiker is the first feature film from SA Wild Productions and the Witch & Wizard Productions. Writer, director and producer, Chris du Toit, is well known in film, theatre and literary circles in South Africa, but this is his most ambitious effort in film making. Supported by acclaimed talent from the advertising and production world such as Jurie van Leeuwen, Cobus Zwennis and Theo Pretorius, the film is a technical masterpiece. This enterprising team of young film makers dug into their own pockets to make this feel good story.

Producer and director, Jurie van Leeuwen is well known for the success of SA Tourism’s award-winning “I am an African” international ad campaign. This is evident in the beautifully shot showcase of the scenic beauty of South Africa, stretching from Mpumalanga, Kimberley, Clifton and the environs of Cape Town as they have never been seen before. A selection of unique shots highlight the beauty of our incredible country and will certainly encourage tourism in and around South Africa. Mel Botes’ beautiful soundtrack adds to the backdrop of this light hearted drama.

The success of this film will lie in incredible talent of industry stalwarts including Rika Sennett, Erica Wessels, Lynne Maree, Julie Hartley, Martin le Maitre, the late Roger Dwyer and the hilariously funny Trudie Taljaard, all who have featured popularly in films and on television in South Africa.

The idea of making Hitchhiker. came about a number of years ago when writer/director Chris Du Toit read an article written by Barry Ronge in a February 2002 edition of The Sunday Times Magazine called “The Big Picture”. In it, Barry mentioned that instead of telling South African stories, we tend to project our political and social agendas. Says Chris; “We wanted to provide a purely escapist movie, where audiences can watch a movie with a heart-warming story-line, attractive characters who wrestle with normal relationship problems, romantic and sexual intrigue – and loads of stunning scenery. Hitchhiker. pointedly ignores racism (past and present) and inequality in our society.”

Hitchhiker will be released at selected Ster Kinekor Cinemas nationwide next Friday, 1st February 2007; (in KZN, this will be at Gateway). More information at www.hitchhikermovie.co.za




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