Getting to the 'route' of it

Bay film aims to create awareness on taxi violence, crime and gangs, writes Zamandulo Malonde


New film The Roúte, which puts the spotlight on gang wars, crime and taxi conflicts in Nelson Mandela Bay, is soon to make its way to the small screen.
After spending the past three years researching the operations and causes of violence within the taxi industry in Port Elizabeth, Kwazakhele-born filmmaker Vuyo Mpotso, 37, put pen to paper to outline the unfortunate reality of the province’s taxi industry.
“While doing my research, I took time to use public transport and assess the situation myself. In doing so, I even picked up on conflicts that start off between taxi assistants and learnt that the feuds don’t always start between drivers or taxi owners,” Mpotso said.
Now based in Johannesburg, Mpotso said once the film script and other nitty-gritty details were done, all that was left was to assemble his cast.
He will also direct the film and is back in Port Elizabeth to hold auditions for The Route.
“By making this film, the plan is to expose an ongoing violence while also trying to find a solution, starting with creating awareness around the issue through film,” he said.
Mpotso said the film would be screened on e.tv. He said he had approached the channel with his film idea in 2017 and was given the green light in May this year.
The Route is a fictional drama inspired by real-life events in Port Elizabeth. It centres on a feud between two fictional taxi associations – the New Brighton Taxi Association and the Daku Alliance Taxi Association. Mpotso said the story mainly related to taxi violence but also touched on topics such as gangs and drugs, and the consequences of these.
“One of our characters is a wheelchair-bound old man; a former gangster who was shot during a gang-related feud and ended up unable to walk.”
He said he hoped to turn the film into a telenovela that would spark conversations on a variety of social topics.
The film will be shot and produced by Mpotso’s production company, Home Brew.
Auditions for roles will be held at the NYDA offices in Kwantu Towers on December 8 and 9 and 21 from 8am to 5pm.
Aspiring actors and actresses aged 18 to 21 are welcome to audition and an audition script will be provided on the day.
“They must just bring their voices and talent and we will take it from there,” Mpotso said. Successful candidates will be contacted the following week and shooting will start soon afterwards. Mpotso said viewers could expect to see the film on TV early in 2019.

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