Man on Ground

  • Man on Ground
© Courtesy of TIFF 2011, Toronto
Genre : Drama
Type : Fiction
Original title : Uomo sulla terra [Italy]
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2011
Format : Feature
Running time : 90 (in minutes)

A bold and exacting portrayal of rising xenophobia in South Africa, Omotoso casts the story of a young Nigerian man living in the African refugee tenements of Johannesburg who disappears against the background of animosity against immigrants flaring into violent rioting. In the span of a single night, his brother, on a short visit from London, tries to elucidate the mystery.

Ade, a Nigerian-British doctor based in the UK who visits South Africa to see his estranged half-brother Femi. Upon his arrival in South Africa, Ade discovers his brother has been missing for a week. With the help of Femi's fiancée, Zodwa, Ade investigates his brother's disappearance. It is soon realised that Femi's disappearance coincides with a recent period of xenophobic violence. As the truth starts to emerge Ade discovers that Femi is dead but that no-one can account for the body. The search for the body leads Ade to the discovery of the horrific truth about his brother's death.

MAN ON GROUND, a self-financed and crowd funded feature film, is being produced on an undefined meagre budget. "It's difficult to put a figure on our budget because we are relying on the generosity of crowd funding," notes Rosie Motene, one of the producers of the film. "We will have to keep appealing for donations until the project is completed."

A film by Akin Omotoso

Country: South Africa
Year: 2011
Language: English, Yoruba, Sotho, Zulu
Runtime: 90 minutes
Format: HDCAM
Rating: 14A

starring: Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Fana Mokoena, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Makhaola Ndebele, Bubu Mazibuko

Direction: Akin Omotoso
Screenplay: Akin Omotoso
Cinematographer: Paul Michelson
Editor: Aryan Kaganof
Sound: President Kapa
Music: Amu
Production Designer: Martha Sibayoni
Executive Producers: Christian Obinna Okoene, A.K Tshabalala, Onwe Douglas Christian, Ekeh Kelechi Frederick
Producers: Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Rosie Motene, Akin Omotoso, Robbie Thorpe, Kgomotso Matsunyane, Mickey Madoda Dube

Format: Video
Time: 80 min.
Original Version: English, yoruba, sotho, zulu

Production Company: T.O.M Pictures
with crowdfunding

TAGS: Afrocentric, Human Rights, Refugee Experience, Crime, Racism

ACTEURS Principaux :
Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Ade, venu de Londres),
Fabian Adeoye Lojede (Femi, le frère disparu),
Fana Mokoena (Timothi, l'ancien patron de Femi),
Thishiwe Ziqubu (Zodwa),
Makhaola Ndebele (Vusi),
Bubu Mazibuko (Lindiwe),
Mandisa Bardill (Nadia)

T.O.M. Pictures
Tel: +27 114823972

In May of 2008, in the informal settlement of the East Rand near Johannesburg, Mozambican immigrant Ernesto Nhamuave was burned alive while bystanders laughed. The violence eventually quieted down, but its root causes have yet to be addressed seriously; tension is still tangible. The event inspired director Akin Omotoso to write Man On Ground, and the resulting film is not merely the work of a talented and socially engaged filmmaker bearing witness - it is, in Omotoso's own words, "a strong appeal for healing."

Ade (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) and Femi (Fabian Adeoye Lojede) are expatriate Nigerian brothers. Ade is a successful banker in London, while Femi, once a political dissident in his home country, has had to escape to South Africa, live in refugee tenements and work menial jobs. The brothers have not only been physically estranged, their relationship is riddled with unspoken betrayal, guilt and scorn, which they have carried since the early days of their youth.

During a short visit to Johannesburg, Ade discovers that his brother has been missing for a week. He sets out to investigate Femi's mysterious disappearance, reconstructing the pieces of his everyday life and the cruel hardships he endured just to survive. A riot erupts while Ade is visiting Femi's former boss (Fana Mokoena) in one of the townships. Ade is forced to take shelter with the employer. The mounting violence outside seeps into their exchanges and, eventually, prompts an explosion of revelation.

Structured like a thriller, Man On Ground is a rare descent into the immigrant underworld of Africa's urban centres, as well as a timely and unflinching indictment of the rise of xenophobia in South Africa. Omotoso's finely crafted low-budget indie was shot on location with vérité grit. It is a tightly knit team's labour of love, beginning with Kae-Kazim, whose exacting performance amplifies Ade's personal drama to engrossing metaphorical dimensions.

Rasha Salti (TIFF 2011, Toronto)



Femi e Ade sono due fratelli nigeriani espatriati. Ade vive a Londra ed é un banchiere di successo. Femi, un tempo dissidente politico in Nigeria, é scappato in Sudafrica dove vive in una casa per rifugiati e svolge lavori servili. Durante una breve visita a Johannesburg, Ade scopre che Femi é sparito da una settimana. Inizia cosé a investigare, ricostruendo frammenti della vita quotidiana del fratello, fino a incontrare l'ex boss di Femi. Nel frattempo, l'episodio che segné l'adolescenza di Femi e Ade, e la loro separazione, torna ad affiorare dal passato.

Sudafrica/Nigeria - 2011

Regia: Akin Omotoso
Sceneggiatura: Akin Omotoso
Fotografia: Paul Michelson
Montaggio: Aryan Kaganof
Suono: President Kapa
Musica: Amu
Interpreti: Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Fana Mokoena, Fabian Adeoye Lojede Makhaola Ndebele Bubu Mazibuko
Formato: Video
Durata: 80 min.
Versione originale: English, yoruba, sotho, zulu
Produzione: T.O.M Pictures

T.O.M. Pictures
Tel: +27 114823972

Prima nazionale/Italian premiere


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