Details around the production and film cast had been shrouded in secrecy for some time, but the silence can now be broken as the first promotional photographs have just been released.

Modder en Bloed tells the story of Willem Morkel (Stian Bam), a Boer warrior and family man, whose wife and only child were killed by British soldiers during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 to 1902. Willem is incarcerated with other Boer prisoners-of-war on the island of St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. The tyrannical Colonel Swannell (Grant Swanby), a hot-headed Imperialist with a consuming hatred for the Afrikaner, is in charge of the English concentration camp.

Boer prisoners-of-war are subjected to the most brutal violence and degrading treatment. They are constantly humiliated by the British commander and his soldiers in an effort to break them down emotionally, and to physically cripple them. But, despite the untold torture they had to endure and the inhumane suffering they had to bear, their resistance and quest for vengeance, by whatever means, became stronger and stronger by the day. So, when the gauntlet was thrown down, Willem and his fellow prisoners rose to the challenge, eventually leading to sweet revenge in the most important rugby match of their lives.

The film boasts an impressive cast of both South African and British movie personalities. Some of the well-known local stars include Bok van Blerk, Albert Maritz, Michael Richard, Edwin van der Walt, Jacques Bessenger, Altus Theart, Albert Pretorius and Deon Lotz. The British cast includes Charlotte Salt (Beowulf and The Tudors), Patrick Connolly (Inferno and Crushed), Nick Cornwall (Blood Loyal and Retribution) and Josh Myers (The Sweeney and Anti-Social).

“Handré Griessel warned me: ‘Sean, the winters in Worcester are really rough; the wind howls around the corners, it’s freezing, and it rains almost constantly.’ But I wouldn’t listen. On the contrary, I felt that such weather would be perfect for an epic, periodic movie taking place on the prisoner-of-war island of St. Helena during the Anglo-Boer War in 1901. And it turned out just like that: the wind, the sand, the rain, the mist and the cold during the many long, stormy nights lent a truthfulness and reality to the film that money could never have bought,” says director Sean Else.

“And it was rough, very rough. But it was an experience, which brought an incredible team of people from right across the world - in front of and behind the camera - closer together as a group with every project challenge they faced. In addition, Handré, his wife Esther, their parents and children and, indeed, every person in the Worcester community bent over backwards to make the impossible possible. I don’t know where to start to thank everybody for everything they have done to persevere right up to the end, until the last camera shot was taken. I can only say that I take immense pride in the whole team and the movie that we created together and fashioned into reality. I cannot wait to share this story with the whole world,” added Else.

Filming took place in the Worcester area and parts of Cape Town.

Modder en Bloed is presented in association with kykNET Films and the DTI. The movie will be released locally on Friday, 1 April 2016 and will be distributed by Ster Kinekor Entertainment.

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