Maps Maponyane and Nomzamo Mbatha
Maps Maponyane and Nomzamo Mbatha, who star as the unlikely lovers in Tell Me Sweet Something.

There was plenty of laughter and warm feeling when the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and Rififi Pictures hosted a special screening of Tell Me Sweet Something at independent cinema The Bioscope in the Maboneng precinct on Wednesday, 2 September, ahead of its release on cinema screens on 4 September.

The romantic comedy, set in downtown Johannesburg, sets out to prove that black stories can fall under the "feel-good" bracket and be commercially successful at the same time.

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

Tell Me Sweet Something is directed by Akin Omotoso and stars Maps Maponyane and Nomzamo Mbatha.

Tell Me Sweet Something director, crowd funder, cast members
Tell Me Sweet Something director Akin Omotoso with comedian David Kau, who was one of the film's crowd funders, and cast members Thomas Gumede and Maps Maponyane.

Speaking at Wednesday's screening, Maponyane described the shooting of the movie as one the best experiences of his career. "Being a part of a film with such an incredible crew and cast, and with such a wonderful storyline which is a South African product, has been quite a privilege.

"It was a dream come true," said Maponyane, who plays the part of male model Nat in the film. "I have always wanted to be in a film and be able to know that people can see my face on a movie poster and in cinemas. This has all been quite a fairy-tale moment for me, and I have had a lot of fun.

"Working with Akin Omotoso, one of the local best directors, is something that I cannot put into words," he added. "It has been a special bond and it is something that I will hold dear to my heart."

African talent 'in a different light'

Mbatha, who plays the part of Moratiwa - "a writer with lover's block" - said that audiences could expect honest performances from all the actors involved in the movie. "I think that everyone that was a part of this cast is an incredible talent, and in the delivering of their character they remained very honest, and that is something that is very rare.

Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki
'We need to tell our stories' - Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki (left) with Petersan Mothudi, one of the film's financial backers, at the Maboneng screening.

"People can expect to see a beautiful love story," Mbatha said. "It is time that the world knows that there is more to Johannesburg. This is our way of portraying Africa in a different light, and I hope other filmmakers look at this movie and are aspired to tell more love stories."

Gauteng Film Commission CEO Andile Mbeki had thanks and praise for the work done by Omotoso and the crew of Tell Me Sweet Something. "The production of this story is very important, because we need to tell our stories and promote stories of social cohesion," Mbeki said.

Wednesday's screening, he added, was "the first of many more that we will be putting together from our outreach initiative in order to put Gauteng film on the map. We as the GFC are grateful to have supported Akin, who is now going to take this production to the local and international market".

Love story with Jozi at its heart

Aimed at a young, hip audience, 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.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission