Murder in a small town

Box Office brings the theatre to your home with the exclusive screening of Griekwastad

This past month has been hard on South-Africans, thanks to the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Restriction prohibits movement, so traveling to a movie theatre hasn’t been possible since the end of March. And that has meant that brand-new movies are just sitting on the shelf while the big screen is in darkness. But Box Office, DStv’s movie rental platform, has you covered.

“We are living in strange times,” says filmmaker Jozua Malherbe, who directed the brand-new Afrikaans release Griekwastad. “Although we are disappointed that the movie cannot be screened in theatres, we are excited to release it on Box Office.”

South-African born Hollywood star Arnold Vosloo plays the lead role of detective Dick de Waal in Griekwastad, which will be available exclusively on DStv Box Office from Tuesday, 5 May. “Shooting this film was a dream come true for me, a good script written in one of the world’s most beautiful languages – Afrikaans,” says Arnold, who has lived in Hollywood, Los Angeles since the mid ’90s.


Based on a true story

Griekwastad is the gut-wrenching true crime tale based on the 2012 murder of Deon, Christelle and their daughter Marthella Steenkamp on the Naauwhoek farm, near Griekwastad in the Northern Cape.

Journalist Jacques Steenkamp (no relation to Deon’s family) wrote the 2014 book The Griekwastad Murders about his experience while covering the story, which Jozua and screenwriter Tertius Kapp (the creator of Die Spreeus) used as premise for the movie.

“I started working on a concept script for this movie back in 2016,” says Tertius. “It took some time to find the right way to tell this story. It was only after I visited Griekwastad and met with the real Dick de Waal, that things started falling into place. 13 drafts later the script for the movie was born.”


Becoming Dick de Waal

‘It’s ugly, Dick, we have big trouble,’ says Joe Scholtz (Albert Maritz), a neighbouring farmer, when Dick arrives at Naauwhoek to inspect the murder scene in the movie. The corpses and the amount of blood is gruesome. Dick is clearly affected by it, but he keeps his wits while searching for clues to who would have committed this horrific act.

Arnold reveals that he didn’t meet the real Dick. “I did not want to meet him as I was not interested in doing an imitation of the man. I needed to use myself to walk in his shoes. Tertius and Jozua shared stories of meeting him. And I had access to his work diaries, which was helpful in studying how his mind works.”


A brother’s love for his sister

Actress Jane de Wet (The Girl From St. Agnes), plays Marthella, the sister of Don Steenkamp (Alex van Dyk, Die Stropers) who becomes the prime suspect in the murders.

Jane says she decided early in the process to steer clear of public opinion in preparation for playing Marthella. “In conjunction with hard facts, I drew on the imagination to colour in Marthella’s persona. I spent hours contemplating who she was, what made her tick, and what her relationships looked like.”

Without giving too much away, Don had a strange love for his younger sister… And because of this, Jane had to subject herself to some shocking scenes that included Marthella’s murder. Jane says that she had to dig deep to prevent these acts of violence from affecting her personally. “The proximity of it may cause feelings of vulnerability and volatility. By practicing mindfulness, I try to be as disciplined as possible in bringing myself back to my own reality after shooting a scene. I was taught the trick of making ‘jazz hands’ by a fellow actor and actually ‘shaking off’ my character’s reality in order to become aware of my own body, thoughts and feelings again.”


Arnold adds that Alex's portrayal of Don was phenomenal. “He had the ability of projecting the innocence, as well as the darkness that the real Don displayed. I told Alex’s parents that he is probably not going to varsity (unless he wants it) as he is a natural in front of the camera. We played off each other’s reactions, and it was a pleasure to work with him.”

“I want people to see this film because we poured our hearts and souls into it and made a very good film,” says Arnold. “This film is an example of the state of the film craft in South-Africa, and it is a true local story, made by locals, for locals.”

Watch Griekwastad on DStv Box Office and for more info on the movie, visit the official page on kykNET.