Three black women determined to live out their dreams
Renate Stuurman, Mmabatho Montsho and Khanyi Mbau: three black women determined to live out their dreams - CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION. (Image: Happiness is a Four-Letter Word on Facebook)

The first official trailer for Happiness is a Four-Letter Word, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Cynthia Nozizwe Jele's award-winning novel, has been released ahead of the movie's opening in South African cinemas on 19 February 2016.

The trailer debuted on Vuzu TV's V-Entertainment on Thursday, 10 December and was released shortly thereafter on YouTube.

Khanyi Mbau stars alongside Mmabatho Montsho and Renate Stuurman in what Mbau describes as "a Sex in the City meets Devil Wears Prada type of chick-flick.

"It's the type of film that will have you wanting to fix your hair and put on a killer pair of heels when you walk out the cinema," Mbau told Channel24.

The film tells the story of three friends - glamorous housewife Zaza, perfectionist lawyer Nandi, and trendy art gallery owner Princess - trying to find happiness while maintaining the image of success and acceptability.

While all three seem to be living the new South African dream of money, success and loving partners, life's unexpected changes will force them to learn what makes each of them truly happy, and to struggle to achieve it in their own ways.

'First of its kind to be produced locally'

In an interview with the Sowetan, Mbau said Happiness was the first film of its genre to be produced in South Africa. "This is the first of its kind to compete with international movies such as Why Did I Get Married 1 and 2. A Think Like a Man kind of a film."

Audiences, she added, could expect "international values in terms of production value, the picture, the quality, and even the writing, the storyline behind it" - and a glance at the trailer confirms her view.



Happiness is a Four-Letter Word was produced with support from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Filming took place in and around Johannesburg from mid-July.

Part of the NFVF/Junaid Ahmed Productions slate of movies that aim to develop key areas of black talent in the local industry, the film was directed by Thabang Moleya and produced by Junaid Ahmed and Helena Spring, along with first-time feature film producer Bongiwe Selane.

'It's important for us to grow black excellence'

"It's important for us to grow black excellence in the film industry," Ahmed said in a statement earlier this year. "The fact that Happiness is a story about ambitious black women is an added and much-welcomed layer."

Spring commented: "It's wonderful for me to watch the great achievements in the South African film industry and to be part of showcasing black talent in full colour."

Selane said she was excited to be producing her first feature film with "two formidable producers, whom I consider doyens in the industry. I was a fan of Happiness is a Four-Letter Word when it was first published, and immediately knew that it is the kind of story that lends itself to screen adaptation."

The novel, which won the 2011 M-Net Literary Award in the film category, was adapted for the screen by Busisiwe Ntilintili, guided by the complex, distinctive voices of the characters developed by Nozizwe Jele.

Jele, who is currently busy with her second novel, was closely involved both in the adaptation of Happiness and the film production. "The movie features strong female leads, an exciting development in the local film industry," she told V-Entertainment. "It is hilarious, sometimes sad, a true reflection of life. But the 'girls' never give up on trying to find happiness."

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission