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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

ELLA BLUE (article first published : 2008-03-8)

What would you do if everything you knew and held dear to you was suddenly ripped away? Would you fight for what you knew was right? M-Net’s new six-part drama series Ella Blue tells the story of one woman who defies all the odds by going the extra mile for her people – the people of the lagoon. In doing so, she becomes a name. But at what price does this come?

Ella Blue is a story of unrequited love, of love that prevails despite the socially accepted norms, and loyalty to those who you love most. It is also a story of murder, betrayal and ultimately, revenge.

Set in the year 1961, Ella Blue tells of a woman’s physical, emotional and spiritual journey through the process of race classification. Ella and her family have lived peacefully for generations in a remote fishing village on the Cape Coast, until the day it is announced that the Census Official is arriving to classify every person in the small, secluded community according to their colour. Bit by bit the intimate little community is torn apart and is ultimately destroyed by the political policies of the day.

Ella Blue introduces a host of quirky characters: Halfpad, the club-footed fisherman who has impregnated the daughter of one of the town’s most prominent fishermen out of wedlock, the mother of whom is the village clairvoyant. And there is Mr Cohen, the Jewish trader who brings his boat across the water once a month to mostly barter household goods for dried fish which is the lagooners’ greatest source of income. He is also their only contact with the outside world on the other side of the lagoon and it is he who brings them the news that the Census Official is on his way.

Director Darrell Roodt, who has received international acclaim and an Oscar nomination for his film Yesterday, is at the helm of this production. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of a small fishing town on the Western Cape coastline, Ella Blue was written by Hein Eksteen. Waterfront Television Executive Producer, Herman Binge, says that it was a thrill to undertake such a unique project. “Not only are we able to tell such a special story of this strong, beautiful and dynamic woman, but we’re able to do it with the expertise of some of South Africa’s finest acting talent such as Nathalie Boltt, Tertius Meintjes, Nico Panagio, Jonathan Rands and Grant Swanby. Ella Blue is also the platform from which we are launching the careers of some of the country’s great new actors, such as Nina Milner, Verity Price and Eben Genis.”

According to M-Net’s Head of Original Productions, Carl Fischer, Ella Blue tells a uniquely South African story. “Ella Blue’s journey is one that everyone can relate to. When placed in the adverse circumstances that were so unique to South Africa’s history, we all understand the underlying concept of this story – one of love and loyalty to those you love.”

Ella Blue is a six-part mini-series that will premiere on M-Net on March 12 at 20h00.




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