Tell Me Sweet Something
Nomzamo Mbatha and Maps Maponyane as the unlikely couple in Tell Me Sweet Something.

Downtown Johannesburg is more than just a setting for Akin Omotoso's Tell Me Sweet Something, a romantic comedy that sets out to prove that black stories can also fall under the "feel-good" bracket and be commercially successful at the same time.

Aimed at a young, hip black audience, Tell Me Sweet Something will have its world premiere in KwaMashu township outside Durban on 25 July, as part of the 2015 Durban International Film Festival, ahead of its nationwide release through United International Pictures on 4 September.

It was filmed on location in Maboneng and Braamfontein, two inner city precincts that are shaping a new, creative, essentially urban Joburg sensibility, and seeks to capture and celebrate this spirit, in the process revealing a side of Johannesburg that is seldom seen on the cinema screen.

Co-producer Robbie Thorpe, best known for the award-winning Material, told "Black movies and stories are often very gritty, which is totally legitimate and important, but there is no commercial, feel-good cinema outside of something like White Wedding."

Omotoso, Thorpe continued, "has a notion that Johannesburg as a city, and black South Africans in particular, aren't portrayed as loving and in love and having those moments. For him that is an important aspect of what is missing on our screens."

Starring Maps Maponyane (Rockville) and Nomzamo Mbatha (Isibiya), Tell Me Sweet Something tells the story of Moratiwa, an aspiring writer who owns a bookstore in the heart of Johannesburg. The bookstore, like her love life, is not experiencing much success.

This all changes when she meets and falls in love with the unlikeliest candidate in the world, Nat, a male model who has never read a book in his life. Against the odds they become romantically involved, but then Sashi, Nat's (now pregnant) ex-girlfriend, shows up, setting a chain of romantic complications into motion.

It's a departure for Nigerian-born Omotoso, director of the hard-hitting Man on Ground, who says he was inspired by his love of love songs, and of the romance classic Love Jones, and by a desire to tell a story that celebrates love in the city he loves.

Tell Me Sweet Something also stars Kagiso Lediga (Blitz Patrollie), Thomas Gumede (Otelo Burning), Thembi Seete (Hijack Stories), Mandisa Bardill (Man On Ground) and Thishiwe Ziqubu (Man On Ground).

The film was produced by Rififi Pictures in association with Mvest Media, Red Pepper Pictures, the National Film And Video Foundation, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Gauteng Film Commission, Pana TV and crowd funders including David Kau.

  • Tell Me Sweet Something will screen at the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in KwaMashu at 18:00 on 25 July. For directions to the venue, click here.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission