Claremont woman directs local crime thriller

Meg Rickards

Meg Rickards, 48, of Claremont, directed a locally produced movie, Atlantis, which was released for streaming earlier this month.

Set in the community of Atlantis, the crime thriller tells the story of a young woman, Ray, played by Bronté Snell, who works as a taxi driver for her uncle, Amir, played by Maurice Carpede.

Ray’s young brother, Marid, played by Ettienne Gertse, is the taxi guard, and during one chaotic evening, when Marid gets involved in all sorts of trouble, he goes missing. When Ray goes on a search for her brother, she uncovers dark family secrets.

Ms Rickards says the move is inspired by the Greek play, Antigone by Sophocles. The movie was written by Philip Roberts and shot on location in Atlantis and part of Rondebosch East in February and March after the second wave of Covid-19 this year.

“It was really hot shooting the movie in Atlantis, wearing a mask and working 12-hour days,” she says.

The actors, she says, stayed in accommodation, a “Covid-19 bubble”, in Atlantis for three weeks and all the cast and crew underwent screening daily.

Ms Rickards says the people from Atlantis were so excited and hospitable towards them during the shoot, and the community was its own character in the movie. “We shot scenes like drag racing; there were scenes shot in the dunes.”

She was also impressed with the camaraderie of the crew. “I think a lot of the crew have been out of work for a long time so for many of them, it was a massive relief to be working again.”

Ms Snell has been a female lead in Home Affairs: A Christmas Tale, released in December last year, and Home Affairs: A Love Story, released in February this year, but this is her first time as the main lead.

She says she enjoyed Ms Rickards’s directing style. “She was always ready to go on a journey with us in every single scene, and she was the vehicle that helped us as the actors go to those deep, vulnerable and sometimes dark places in order to really make this movie come to life.”

Ms Rickards has worked for 20 years in the film industry. The first movie she directed was Land of Thirst, in 2008, which told the story of a taboo relationship between a black man and a white woman in 1913 South Africa. She directed the 2014 documentary, 1994: The Bloody Miracle, and Tess, released in 2016.

She was inspired to become a film-maker when she studied Fine Arts and English at UCT, she says. “I really loved the visual medium and storytelling and I wanted to find a way to bring it together and I love working with actors.”

Her next movie, a romantic comedy, Kaalgat Karel, is due for release in September.

Atlantis also includes the acting talents of Keenan Arrison, Amrain Ismail Essop, Chumani Pan, Roberto Kyle and Jumaine Hansen.

Atlantis can be viewed on e.tv’s new streaming service, eVOD.

Meg Rickards on set with actor, Maurice Carpede.