American boxing film boffins set to unleash 'Gerrie', a tale of Africa's first world heavyweight champ
It’s all systems go for the production of 'Gerrie', a film dedicated to the famous achievements of Africa's first world heavyweight boxing champion Gerrie Coetzee.
The executive producer of the movie, Kenddrie Utuk of American film company Fontabila Productions, is presently in Cape Town to finalise logistics and secure venues for the production which will start in the Mother City later this year.
Utuk has previously spearheaded boxing films with great success in America. Just over three years ago Coetzee, more popularly known in his native South Africa as the 'Boksburg Bomber', was featured in a BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) documentary.
The film took an intimate look at the life of Coetzee and his climb to being crowned the 'heavyweight champion of the world'.
At the time the documentary was well-received in America, the Mecca of world heavyweight boxing. It also caught the attention of Hollywood & African Prestigious Awards, the US organization that honoured outstanding American and African individuals whose lives have been marked by extraordinary personal and professional accomplishments.
As a result, Coetzee was honoured at the Hollywood and African Prestigious Awards (HAPAwards) in Los Angeles in November 2017.
Coetzee attended the glitzy function with his wife Rina and Thinus Strydom, the well-known SA business entrepreneur who was his manager at the time of his famous conquest in Ohio in 1983.
Strydom had secured Coetzee a shot at Michael Dokes' WBA heavyweight title after tough negotiations with Don King, arguably the world's leading boxing promoter at the time.
On the night of September 23, 1983, at the Richfield Coliseum in Ohio, Dokes' WBA heavyweight crown disappeared into the Ohio night air after Coetzee floored him in the 10th of their scheduled 15-rounder.
Coetzee returned to South Africa to great acclaim. On his arrival, Johannesburg came to a standstill as he was accorded a hero's welcome with national government officials in tow.
During his week-long stay in Cape Town, Utuk is accompanied by fellow American, Skip Hartquist, who is one of the producers for the movie.
The Americans have also enlisted the services of Koos Roets, the South African award-winning director and cinematographer.
Acclaimed SA filmmaker André Scholtz has also been roped in. He has many years of experience as a film producer of note.
The movie Gerrie is expected to be released in South Africa in 2020.