Two men from vastly different walks of life are brought together by their determination to win gold in one of the toughest river races in the world, the Dusi Canoe Marathon. Inspired by the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruikshanks, who together won gold in the 2014 Dusi, Beyond the River delivers a nail-biting adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit.
Starring screen legend, Grant Swanby (Blood Diamond, Mandela-Long Walk to Freedom and Invictus) as Steve, and Lemogang Tsipa (When We Were Black, Traffic! and Jab), who makes his debut lead role as Duma. Other cast members include Israel Sipho Matseke Zulu, formerly Makoe (Yizo Yizo, Tsotsi and Gaz’lam), Emily Child (Shirley Adams and Village Voices), Mary Twala (Beat the Drum and Lucky), Kgosi Mongake (Invictus, The Bang Bang Club and Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom) and Garth Breytenbach (Black Sails and Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom).
After another near miss with the law, Duma is forced back into the world of canoeing, and in so doing his passion and dream to paddle the Dusi is reignited. When Steve’s long time partner decides to paddle with someone else, he is stuck without a partner to complete his 15th Dusi and possibly win his 10th gold medal. After some convincing, he agrees to give Duma, or ‘helicopter’ (an old nickname given to him because of his speed in the water), a shot. But there are a few things they must overcome – one is struggling to break out of a life of crime and poverty – the other is dealing with a marriage on the verge of collapse. Somewhere along their journey, both on and off the river, their lives change forever.
Written and directed by Craig Freimond, the beautifully shot film, which showcases some of South Africa’s spectacular KwaZulu-Natal landscapes, is produced by Heartlines and Quizzical Pictures and funded by the National Lotteries Commission, the DTI, the National Film and Video Foundation and the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission. With sponsors Discovery Health, Vodacom and Adreach, Beyond the River will hit the big screen on 28 April 2017. Two books, published by Pan Macmillan; Beyond the River, adapted from the film and part of Heartlines’ What’s Your Story book series and Confluence, Cruikshanks’ true story of his journey with Ntondini, will be released alongside the film.
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On behalf of Heartlines:
Founder: Dr Garth Japhet