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THE ARTISTS

Streetball features the work of significant up and coming–as well as established–musicians and street artists from South Africa.  Each artist donated their poetry, music and images to the film and to From Us With Love, giving Streetball a vibrant backdrop in telling the stories of South Africa’s post-apartheid generation.

Araminta de Clermont

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Photo by Araminta de Clermont

Araminta de Clermont is a British born photographer who is now based out of Cape Town. Her work explores “rites of passage, and the visual currencies of group identification and formation.” Before Life her second solo show, follows Life After, which was exhibited at Joao Ferreira Gallery, and at ArtSpace, Berlin. Her work features in the  UNISA collection, in The Trustman collection,  and has been showcased throughout the US and Europe as well as in South Africa.

ETC Crew

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ETC CREW is the “Cape Town-based, multi-racial, cross-dimensional Hip Hop rap outfit you might’ve already heard of.”  Fueled by their own fresh yet energetic, jazzy, head-nodding Hip Hop sound, they are on a mission to fill a cultural and musical gap in the South African music industry. Not content to be followers in the game, they would rather do it differently, making changes on their own terms, armed with the kind of quality beats that speak to your feet and a highly comedic lyrical flow that is completely contagious. ETC Crew is here to re-adjust any kind of attitude that says Hip Hop and rap are strictly for gang bangers.

Faith47

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Image by Faith47

Faith47 is a Cape Town based graffiti artist and has been adorning the streets of South Africa for over fifteen years.  Her work explores the divisions that still exist within South Africa’s communities and seeks to draw attention to the places and people that are often over looked.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries across Europe, North and South America as well as throughout Africa.

Jitsvinger

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Jitsvinger (Quintin Goliath) is one of South Africa’s fastest rising Afrikaans vernacular Hip Hop artists.  He plays acoustic and electric guitar and successfully launched his debut album, Skeletsleutel, in 2006. He has traveled the country and world, performing at various outdoor and indoor festivals, theaters, clubs, living rooms and even cordoned off streets.

In 2005, Jitsvinger was invited to facilitate a creative writing program at Robben Island.  He has performed with poet and author Antjie Krog, and poets Kgafela oa Magododi and Comrade Fatso. He traveled and collaborated with Khoisan praise poet, Jethro Louw, performing traditional cultural music in the Taiwanese cities of Tainan and Taipei. In mid-2008, he traveled to Switzerland as part of the inter-continental Rogue State of Mind project where he performed and recorded with fellow artists from Switzerland and South Africa.  Jitsvinger has been working on his follow-up album due for release in 2009.

Kgafela

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Kgafela oa Magogodi is a Spoken Word Poet, Spoken Word Theater director and film scholar. He has taught at the University of the Witwatersrand School of the Arts as a lecturer in African Cinema, Oral Performance and Rap/Dub Poetry Studies and has also been a guest lecturer at New York University.  He directs and produces original Spoken Word Theater and his productions have included “Itchy City,” “Warsoil,” “Bread,” and “Blood.”

Kgafela has written several screenplays and produced his feature length film, I Mic What I Like, in 2006.  He has performed worldwide and was the first recipient of the Steve Biko Fellowship. His work explores the social roles and media representation of Black intellectuals, as well as the significance of maintaining cultural practices to uphold a vibrant civil society.

Rudimentals

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photo by matty.co.za

The Rudimentals are an eight-piece ska/reggae band that have been described as a “South African Institution.” The band released its first CD, “More Fire,” in October, 2003 and the hit song “Noh TV” won a National Bronze Stone award for best music video. In 2004, the band was voted “Best Reggae and Ska Band” in South Africa, by nationally popular Blunt Magazine.

In 2006, the band released their second CD entitled, “Set It Proper.” The CD fuses Ska, Reggae, Dub, Dancehall, Rock, African Mbaquanga and Jazz into what is now known as Afro-Ska. Sponsors include Cape Audio College, Township Guitars, Moskow Clothing and Critik Shoes.  In 2007, the Band was signed for their first CD, “More Fire”, with Moonskaworld UK.

UjU

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Gwen Ansell of Business Day claimed, “(UjU’s) compositions are memorable and the playing rather better than it needs to be. Whatever this new kind of popular music ends up being called, UjU does it exceedingly well.”

Today’s incarnation of the band was crystallized at a twelve-hour jam session in early March, 2004. Led by spiritual leader of the band, Ntuthu Ndlovu (poet and vocals), UjU has a sound that is distinctly their own, mixing strong Mbaqanga rhythms with modern Jazz and Hip Hop.  UjU – Zulu for Honey – writes with a heightened consciousness, informed by critical social, economic and political issues.  They aim to bring about the entirely new and distinctly South African sound that represents their generation.  As they say, “Nothing cheesy here but always self-referential and ironic.”


PRODUCTION NOTES

Behind the scenes stories of producing the feature documentary, Streetball.

STREETSOCCER_DOC_23_  6822Streetball was funded by South African PBO (Public Benefit Organization) and United States 501(c)3 public charity From Us With Love (FUWL).  With little to no experience in the film industry, but a passion to share the triumphs and tragedies of the 2008/2009 South African Homeless World Cup Teams, Streetball began production in July of 2008.

FUWL asked filmmaker, Demetrius Wren to join them in South Africa in February of 2008 to photograph and make short documentary videos of their ongoing projects.  While spending time with the South African Homeless Street Soccer League, President, David Abrahams suggested that Wren make a full length documentary film about street soccer.  Wren shared Abrahams request with FUWL Founder, Michael Smith and Smith agreed.  Within a few weeks, FUWL approved funding for Streetball.

Streetball was made by a crew of only two. Demetrius Wren and Christina Ghubril shot, wrote, interviewed, directed, edited, photographed, sound mixed, researched, graphic designed, and composed the elements that make up the film under the direction of Executive Producer, Michael Smith, who also founded FUWL in April of 2007.

Thanks to modern technology, two 25 year olds with a lot of passion could complete a film in their living room.  Streetball was edited, sound designed and graphic designed on a Mac, using all Mac programs.

FUWL’s strong relationships with organizations involved with the street soccer league, gave Wren and Ghubril full access to the staff and players.  Wren and Ghubril would often leave the cameras behind and spend time getting to know the players and the Cape Town community.  The friendships that formed made it comfortable to hold conversational interviews and hang out at ease while a camera was around

Without a full crew or imposing equipment, Wren and Ghubril gained access into places and stories that are not often open to “outsiders” or media. Also, without Martin Africa, much of Streetball would not exist. He took Wren and Ghubril into locations that housed local gangs and to where many street people lived.  Once, Ghubril watched a man twirl a gun at them while filming in the Quarry but he put it down when he saw Martin with the crew.  On Long Street, Martin was told by some kids that if he wasn’t with the crew, they would’ve stolen the cameras.

Ghubril wanted to highlight South African musicians and artists in the film, to give context to the vibrant post-apartheid culture and generation. Wren was inspired by the “Take-Away Videos” — one-shot music videos of bands performing live in their community locations.  The two combined their ideas and brought South African musicians into the fabric of the film.

While finishing her undergrad in Johannesburg, Ghubril met Wandile Molebetsi of UjU, and would frequent UjU’s concerts each week.  Kgafela oa Magogodi was her professor at NYU and at the University of the Witwatersrand.  On her spring break in Cape Town, Ghubril visited the District 6 museum where she was moved by Faith47’s artwork.  Jitsvinger, the Rudimentals and ETC Crew, were found on myspace.  They all generously donated their time, music and artwork to From Us With Love for Streetball.  All proceeds from the film and soundtrack will go to fund From Us With Love’s ongoing projects to bring about hope in South Africa.


Jitsvinger, Fruit Stands and Sandile

Fruit Crates in Stellenbosh

Fruit Crates in Stellenbosh

As our days in South Africa hint of ending soon, we are trying to capture all the missing pieces of this story.  Find all the voices that still need to be heard, get all the shots that are needed for a solid film.  It’s been a great few days for gathering some of the final elements of this project.

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Yesterday we left early to meet with Jitsvinger (translation: The Dope One), a Cape Town based hip hop artist who has gained international acclaim for his music.  Jits keeps all of his lyrics in his native tongue, Afrikaans.  Told that he needed to rap in English if he ever wanted to make it past his own community, he took it as a challenge to prove everyone wrong and be the first internationally recognized Afrikaans MC.  He has agreed to be one of the artists that appears in the film, adding to the texture and cultural landscape of this story on South Africa’s 2008 Homeless World Cup team.

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Jitsvinger

Also important to Jits is being a positive role model in his community.  After spending the day with Jits on his cousin’s fruit selling route, we followed him to his performance at the District 6 Museum, for a Freedom Day celebration (Freedom Day remembers South Africa’s first non-racial, democratic elections in 1994).  Along the fruit route, we learned about different communities and about the fruit selling industry from the folks who sell the “third-tier” fruit.  The “first-tier” is packaged and sent overseas to Europe, “second-tier” is packaged and sent to local grocery stores and “third-tier” fruit is gathered by local vendors and taken into the townships to sell to the community stands and shops there.  The people who sell this fruit take pride in their work and in the knowledge that they are bringing healthy food into their communities and that they are able to provide for their families without resorting to theft, drug dealing or other desperate means.

jitz-and-sandile-19jitz-and-sandile-15In between fruit stands and concerts we stopped by the University of Cape Town to interview Dr. Cathy Ward, graduate professor of Psychology.  Dr. Ward’s research is focused on issues of substance abuse and violence in local communities, particularly the ways in which it affects the lives of local youth.  She was a wealth of knowledge and insight and her input in the film is greatly appreciated.

Today we visited the trials for the 2009 Homeless World Cup.  Sandile was there, helping to coach the incoming players.  We caught up and shot an interview with him, hearing how life has been since he got back from Australia.  Full of ups and downs, he says.  It has been a mixed journey for Sandile but he is keeping his head up and his goals set.  I hold a great deal of hope for his story.

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