Interview with Tonie van der Merwe

Trompie Framegrab

We recently did a little interview with Tonie van der Merwe – the creator of “Trompie”. Take a look at what he said.

  • When was Trompie produced?

I’d say around 1973-1974 if I’m not mistaken.

  • What where the challenges?

There were a number challenges the main one being directing the baboon and the dogs. We used a trained baboon that we got from a friend in Krugersdorp. We were not aware how difficult it would be to try and get that thing in the water. So yes, the biggest challenge was controlling the animals.

  • How well did it do?

Well Trompie did not do as well as we would have liked but we did take it on a national tour, visiting different communities and schools. So I would say it did okay.

  • The cast?

Well for the cast we put up an article for an open casting in the Sunday News and called out to as many people as we could. People wrote in and that is how we identified and found the actors.

  • How long did it take to produce?

Well it took between 6 – 8 weeks to shoot.

  • Why did it disappear?

After the national tour I moved on to other shoots and never really gave Trompie any mind until Benjamin Cowley came along.

  • What does it mean to you that is out on Dvd this week?

Well I hope it does well because I need the money from my Rhino movie that I plan to shoot next year.

  • Any Trompie sequels?

Well Benjamin had mentioned something like that but that all depends on him. If the opportunity arises however I would be very glad because I love working with children.

Andre Laubscher - the original "Trompie"!

Andre Laubscher – the original “Trompie”!

Tonie van der Merwe - Director of "Trompie"

Tonie van der Merwe – Director of “Trompie”

Joe Bullet’s North American Debut!

MOMA Screening in New York

For film aficionados of all stripes, one of the highlights of each fall season in New York City is undoubtedly the Museum of Modern Art’s “To Save and Project,” its annual festival of film preservation, running October 24 through November 22.


Joe Bullet screened at New York MoMA’S “To Save + Project” Film Festival this weekend, with much success! Read more about the festival on this awesome website.

MOMA Screening in New York MOMA Screening in New York

What People Say About Us on Twitter

framegrab from "Gone Crazy"

framegrab from “Gone Crazy”

MOMA Screening of Joe Bullet

Moma To Save + Project

In New York this month, “Joe Bullet” is screening at the MoMA Museum of Modern Art. The screening will take place on the 8th + 13th of November.

Join our Facebook page here.

Read more about the MoMA “To Save and Project” Film Festival here.

Fast Facts about Joe Bullet

+ Stars: Ken Gampu, Abigail Kubeka, Joe Lopez, Jimmy Sabe, Cocky Tlholthalemaje,Matthew Molete, Sidney Charma

+ Genre: Action, Blaxploitation

+ Directed By: Louis de Witt

+ Synopsis: In the criminal underworld of soccer, one man will have to save the championship! When local soccer team “The Eagles” fall prey to a series of onslaughts from a mysterious gangster only a week before the championship final, the team turns to the one man that can help save their chances at victory – Joe Bullet.

Moma To Save + Project

20 Fast Facts About Us

Framegrab from "Zero for Zep"

Framegrab from “Zero for Zep”

+ We work out of the Waterfront Film Studios in Cape Town

+ We have the only restoration facility in the Southern Hemisphere

+ We are a label of Gravel Road Entertainment Group in South Africa. See our Google+ pages here and here

+ It takes about 4-6 weeks to restore a film

+ All our films are from the 70’s/80’s in South Africa

+ Lots of films were made during this time because the government created a film subsidy that promoted the production of film. There were two subsidies: one that was geared toward white films being produced for white audiences and there was one for black audiences. The idea behind that was to create entertainment for the majority of the population to keep their minds off of any form of political unrest

+ We acquire distribution rights by tracking down these films and tracking down the owners. We then approach the owners and buy over the rights of the film

+ We identify restoration projects once we scan the films. We make the call then on whether or not there’s a commercial life on the film

+ We are trying to track down the actors from the movies to show you where they are now

+ Our most popular films so far have been “Joe Bullet” and “Trompie

+ “Joe Bullet” has been coined South Africa’s first Blaxploitation film. It’s based off of the American Blaxploitation film “Shaft,” which was made in 1973. It was banned in South Africa when it came out in 1973. It has its own IMDB page

+ We’ve appeared on CNBC, SABC, DSTV for interviews. See all our videos here

+ We’re on Twitter here and Facebook here

+ We have our very first DVD coming out in stores across South Africa. It’s our restored version of “Trompie”. “Trompie” is so popular it has its own Facebook page here

+ We have just come back from France for the “Lumiere 2014” Film Festival where we showed our restored version of “Joe Bullet”. “Joe Bullet” is so popular it has its own Facebook page here

+ We appeared recently in Variety magazine

+ We’ve just joined Pinterest! Check out our awesome board here

+ We love YouTube. We have a channel here

+ The producer of a number of the films, Tonie van der Merwe, came with us to the Durban International Film Festival this year where he won an award

+ The first time these films were ever seen on TV was during the Mayibuye Film Festival on SABC1 earlier this year

Framegrab from "Fishy Stones" which showed in Johannesburg recently

Framegrab from “Fishy Stones” which showed in Johannesburg recently

“Trompie” – An Interview on Kyknet

Trompie South African Film

Our restored Afrikaans film will be available in Musica nationwide across South Africa in November. We are very proud of this and hope you will enjoy this restored South African classic from 1975. More on Trompie here. This is the digitally remastered version of the original 1975 feature film about Trompie, based on the Topsy Smith books. It’s about the mischievous young Trompie and the misadventures he and his gang of friends embark upon. Follow its Facebook page here.

CEO of Gravel Road Entertainment Group, who bring you the film, spoke recently on “Kyknet” in South Africa on DSTV.

Schedule for The Bioscope Independent Cinema Retro Film Festival

framegrab from "Fishy Stones" airing Saturday night

framegrab from “Fishy Stones” airing Saturday night

The Mini Retro Afrika Film Festival in association with The Bioscope Independent Cinema is happening next week in Johannesburg 24th – 26th October. 4 Films will be showcased as part of a mini festival – “Joe Bullet”, “Fishy Stones”, “Trompie” and “Umbango”. We are giving away some FREE tickets to the screenings, take part in our giveaway on our Facebook page here.


286 Fox Street, Johannesburg


24th – 26th October


Friday 24 October 7:30pm JOE BULLET

Saturday 25 October 6pm FISHY STONES

Saturday 25 October 8pm UMBANGO

Sunday 26 October 5pm TROMPIE

Sunday 26 October 7pm JOE BULLET