District Six film

Stefan Erasmus as Joey, left, sharing a scene with Irshaad Ally who plays Ebie in Address Unknown. PICTURE: LINDSEY APPOLIS

A short film set in District Six had its South African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival, which is being held virtually until Sunday.

Address Unknown was co-produced and written by Anton Fisher, 60, whose mother, Pamela Fisher, stayed in District Six with his aunt and uncle, Ada and Davy February. Dominique Jossie is the other co-producer.

The 24-minute Address Unknown tells the story of a friendship.

“The postman, Joey, portrayed by Stefan Erasmus, tries to reconnect with a childhood friend, Ebie, played by Irshaad Ally, after they lose contact during the forced removals, but when Joey finds Ebie, he is not prepared for what he discovers,” Mr Fisher said.

Mr Fisher grew up in Lansdowne before moving to Pretoria. His main motivation for writing the story, he said, was to keep the memory of District Six alive.

“The forced removals remain a gross violation of human rights that were perpetrated on the residents, and, what is worse, is that nearly 30 years into democracy there is still no resolution to this travesty of justice.”

Film-maker, Nadine Cloete, 33, of Goodwood directed the movie.

“I think the film speaks to many themes,” she said, “but, mostly, we still need to have intergenerational conversations about our past and our healing.”

Ms Cloete met Mr Fisher when working on Action Kommandant, a documentary about slain anti-apartheid activist Ashley Kriel. She has also directed four episodes of the series, Melody, and In Conversation, a short documentary.

Address Unknown was shot over three days last year and it took a week to edit.

“Even though you have the script, as a director, you should still do your own research work, which includes watching documentaries, reading, and talking to people,” she said.

Address Unknown also stars Bianca Flanders, 30, of Walmer Estate, as Joey’s wife, Betsy.

“She is a mother and a wife and her main concern is to keep her family safe,” she said.

Ms Flanders called the project “groundbreaking” and said it had helped her understand what the victims of the District Six forced removals had experienced.

“We treated the acting experience with respect and dignity,” she said.

Ms Flanders, who has appeared in the SABC2 series The Riviera, and acted in the theatre productions Krotoa: Eva van de Kaap and The Demon Bride, said she had enjoyed wearing outfits from the 1960s.

Covid-19 had set back plans for a public screening, in partnership with the District Six Museum, of Address Unknown, said Mr Fisher, adding that the museum had been a “valuable partner on the project”.

The film had its world premiere at the Blackstar Film Festival in America last month, and Mr Fisher said he hoped there would be an opportunity for it to be screened at local cinemas.

Click here to watch the film at the Durban International Film Festival.