Christa Schamberger-Young
+27 11 440 3477
Independent Casting Director
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Cape Town & Johannesburg
(The Casting Connection cc)
South Africa

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Archived News & Highlights 2008
2003 to 2005 2006 to 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 201220132014
August - December 2008
December 2008

"Thank you! Thank you" Mr. Bones may well be saying, since South African audiences have pushed Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past into top spot at the box office during December.

BonesLeon8Web.jpgLeon Schuster's Mr Bones 2 has raced to another box office record by earning almost R19 million in less than 3 weeks, reaching this record figure faster than any other film opening before the start of a holiday season in South Africa. A single cinema in Durban, home of the majority of South Africans of Indian heritage, grossed almost R1.2 million in this period. The film has also earned more at the South African box office than High School Musical 3, Quantum of Solace, Mamma Mia and Titanic in the comparative period.
Industry insiders estimate that it will out-gross Mamma Mia's total box office revenue of R25 million which was earned over a three month period. They also predict that Mr Bones 2 will out-gross the record box office of R40 million earned by Titanic by the end of February 2009.

BonesTongayi_Leandra9.jpgTongayi Chirisa and Leeanda Reddy bear the brunt of medicine man Mr. Bones'  bumbling efforts to save a local tribe from an ancient curse. It's been a busy year for Tongayi - late in 2007 he played against type by portraying a baddie in Andy Wilson's two-part mini series Diamonds, then, after completing shooting on Mr. Bones, he landed the role of  "Friday" in the NBC TV series Crusoe,  which airs its second season in mid January 2009.

Leeanda Reddy juggles a career as a popular stand-up comedienne with regular guest appearances in Isidingo,  one of South Africa's most popular soapies.

Critics love to hate Leon Schuster, but the fact is that he is the only film maker who, over twenty years, has grown an audience spanning the entire spectrum of this diverse country. In a recent interview he said: “Comedy can be a unifying thing. If I have done anything good it’s that - bringing people together.”

Digby Young, November - December 2008
Song For Three Women shoots in Cape Town - a family affair

JyotiFlorian.JPGA writng assigntment in Cape Town gave me the opportunity to visit the set of  Song For Three Women during shooting the last week of in the suburb of Tamboerskloof, on the slopes of Table Mountain. Husband and wife producing team of Florian Schattauer and Jyoti Mistry had taken over the home of  their Director, Revel Fox as combined location and production office.  Even after five weeks of shooting, the small crew was still energetic, jovial and very commited to the project.

Mother and daughter Roberta and Sannie Fox play exacting roles drawing heavily on their personal battles. Sannie was fascinated to find that relating to her mother as a professional equal actually brought them closer as mother and daughter.

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Director Revel Fox wrote the original screenplay and always saw his wife and daughter in the leading roles. Although he found it easy to direct his wife and daughter through traumatic events they experienced as a family, he was ever mindful of the differences between professional and personal boundaries.

October 2008
"Surprise" wins a Golden Calf Award
The Dutch feature film MAFRIKA, which we cast under the working title "Surprise" in September 2007 has won a Gouden Kalf Award as the Audience Favourite Film (Film 1 Publieksprijs) at the Netherlands Film Festival held in the city of Utrecht. MAFRIKA was commissioned by the Dutch government to promote interest  in Africa among the Dutch youth and to change their perceptions of Africa as an Aids-stricken place of  poverty.

Mosa Kaiser

Mosa Kaiser
plays a feisty, tomboyish African teenager who acts as Dutch comedy star Frank Lammers' guide and makes him face his reponsibilities.

Paul Ruven with AwardMafrikaAshleyCallie

 In an interview after receiving the award Director Paul Ruven paid tribute to the late South African actress Ashley Callie, killed in a car accident shortly after filming her supporting role in the film. Ashley plays Lammers' fiance - somewhat surprised by the discovery that he may have a child by the beautiful Terri Pheto (Tsotsi). Mafrika Terri

Mafrika Scene

Both Paul Ruven and Frank Lammers are particularly pleased by the Audience Award, which affirms their success in reaching the target market.

August - September 2008
Our Upload Page is a time-consuming Success!
Hence the delay in updating this page....  However, it has been gratifying to realise that in only three months our Upload/Download facility has  been used by seven productions. Approximately six or seven hours of auditions have been accessed from Hollywood to Bollywood (yes, really!) and several countries in between. (Read the original post...)
EuniceWeb.JPGAugust 2008
Home from Home for UCLA Film Student
Eunice Chirewese-Goldstein is a Zimbabwean-born UCLA student back in Africa for the first time in about twelve years. Eunice was a house-guest for a few weeks while working from the spare Edit computer to get her thesis film into production.
After a hectic one-day shoot, Eunice returned to Zimbabwe for a harrowing two week visit to relatives, gaining a new perspective on her troubled homeland.

Steve Ndlovu
July - August 2008
Steve hits the Road - Again!
Stephen Ndlovu was our first camera operator when we started this studio in 1996. Since then he's gone on to Assist and Load on feature films and television series, but we still keep in touch - for those times when we need Steve's special talents...
An "Ethnic casting Recce" in the remote Northern Cape Province for a proposed French film on the life of Saartjie Baartman was one of those occasions. Steve's patience, gentlemanly manners and respect for other cultures made him the obvious choice - not to mention his thoroughness and perseverance!
Perhaps exactly because "Ethnic casting" among South Africa's culural minorities is not likely to yield the next Hollywood Star, Christa is adamant that they will be handled with tact and respect. With the co-operation of community leaders, Steve's ten day 3,500 Km expedition yielded 200 photographs and two hours of video. The engaging good-nature evident from communities captured on tape is testament to Steve's ability to work with a wide variety of people.
Time will tell whether the producers are brave enough to tackle the story of Sarah Bartman (aka. Saartjie Baartman), a 19th century Khoikhoi woman who has become an icon for the exploitation of women.

UPDATE - October 2008
 It was geat to bump into Merryl Schutte of Film Afrika at the  ANGEL pre-shoot get together and have her make a point of  enthusing about the DVD resulting from Steve's efforts. Nice work Steve!
June - July 2008
Our own Upload page goes On-Line...
June 2008
A brief quiet period and the need to get some day-player Auditions to the "Hond se Dinges, Hond se Dag" Director while on set  provided the opportunity for a test run early in April. Within a week or two we used it to post auditions for "Schweitzer" (Two Oceans Productions - Cape Town) and "Crusoe" (Moonlighting Films Cape Town, Servicing 20th Century Fox Studios).

We've been e-mailing short Audition clips for a few years, but quality is limited by the size of the recipients mail-box. In 2007 we distributed "Generation Kill" Auditions (Out Of Africa Films for Company Pictures UK for HBO) and  "Rough" (Sienna Films Toronto & Philo Films SA) by uploading to the CastIt system based in Santa Monica. We've also used public file transfer sites for a few other productions. Not all Producers have the budget or need for the sophisticated CastIt online streaming system however. The public file transfer sites are often congested and slow - they also hold the files for only a few days.

The Scriptwright Audition Access page has been kept simple. Producers receive a Link via e-mail to their own password-protected page on our sub-domain. While video clips can be viewed online, the intention is that the files are downloaded and saved to your hard drive. Thumbnail Headshots of each actor may also be downloaded and saved.  These files may then be burned to an ordinary Data CD or Data DVD and viewed on a laptop on location, if necessary.

June 2008
Audition Upload site preview.
Audition access Entry page

This facility has since been updated - please go to Studio Facilities for the latest information.

HOND SE DINGES, HOND SE DAG - last week of shoot.
May 2008

"The Dog's Wotsit, The Dog's Day" (?) Is nearing  the end of principal photography just outside Johannesburg. We managed to sneak away for a morning to visit the unit on location.

The home of  Ou Dolf de Lange, a Poor White diamond digger - well, until it gets in the way of an irate Security Officer and his diamond-obsessed  girl-friend.


Director Johan Heyns and DOP Buster Reynolds consult with Editor Tiny Laubser on the stoep of Ou Dolf's shack.


Actor Marcel van Heerden as "Ou Dolf" contemplates his fate while the crew work out the details - a bunch of old hands just getting on with it - supported by a new generation of keen film makers watching and learning. The calm, collaborative atmosphere on set was a delight to experience.

Mr. Bones Goes To Durban - Last day of shoot in Johannesburg
7th April 2008

Popular funnyman Leon Schuster  and the cast of his latest cult comedy attracted crowds during the unit's last day of principal photography at the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg. A reduced unit will spend a few days at a Kwazulu Natal  game farm to mop up animal sequences.

"It's all her fault, this movie wouldn't have happened without her!" says Leon Schuster, consistently South Africa's biggest box-office attraction. Schuster's unique brand of broad humour appeals to audiences across the cultural spectrum.


Christa chats to rising star Tongayi Chirisa, who plays Hekule, the young King on a convoluted quest to break a curse bedevilling his marriage.

Tongayi Chirisa, Leeanda Reddy and Director Gray Hofmeyr (Right) wait for make-up artist Debra Nichol to touch up Leon's sun-baked complexion.

Smoke and Ochre in pre production

Inspired by the life of South African Poetess Ingrid Jonker, who probably has a greater following in Holland than she ever did in her own country during her relatively short lifetime, until Nelson Mandela read her poem "The Dead Child of Nyanga" in his first speech to the South African Parliament and acknowledged her as one of the country's finest poets.
Mandela's quote led Dutch producer Arry Voorsmit's to make a documentary on Jonker. He's now developing a feature film and has brought award winning Dutch director Paula van der Oest to get a feel of the country and work with South African screenwriter Greg Latter. They used the Studio as a meeting point while in Johannesburg for preliminary discussions on Casting and Crew.
Smoke and Ochre37web.JPG

Producer Arry Voorsmit and award-winning Director Paula van der Oest chat in the Southern sun between "meet and greet" sessions with South African Art Department crew.


Paula van der Oest, Petra Voorsmit and Arry Voorsmit look through veteran Dutch born South African Production
Designer Robert van der Coolwyk's extensive portfolio.

April 2008

March - April 2008
Which explains the tardiness in updating our front page.  The Writers' strike in the US and international economic wobblies probably contributed to THREE films going "On Hold" within a few days of each other! A film collapsing entirely is one thing, but a film going "On Hold" complicates our lives enormously, especially if new projects could provide work for the Actors who now find themselves in limbo.
Mid - March did bring some good news for one of the suspended projects though - no, can't say which yet - plus at least one new project from the same Producer!

Brief Updates...
ROOIBOS WITH MILK   DO Productions;  Completed shooting in the Cape (Clanwilliam) with the popular German actress Hannelore Hoger.  Substantial roles cast out of Johannesburg included Renate Stuurman playing Mali, Kagiso Mthetwa as her son Biko and Mary Twala as Saartjie. You may remember writer Stephanie Sycholt’s “Malunde”  (2000)

WHITE LIGHT:   Have completed their shoot in Uganda, where Director Jean van de Velde finally found his “Abu”, which really did make sense in terms of the Swahili language requirements. In a neat twist of fate, the boy’s real father (a well-known Ugandan actor) plays his father in the film. The WHITE LIGHT  unit is now in Port St Johns on our Eastern Cape coast for the South African leg of the shoot.

BONES GOES TO DURBS: Completed Principal Photography. Leon Schuster of course reprising his sangoma role “Bones”, Leeanda Reddy as the leading lady Rashmi/Vaneshri and newcomer Tongayi Chirisa as Hekule.  The baddies : Meren Reddy as Kerrit and Kaseran Pillay as the wily Sanjeev.

SURVIVING EVIL: (March 24 – April 26) Low budget horror feature film shooting in Durban.  UK Director Terrence Daw is very happy with his two South African leads : Colin Moss and Louise Barnes.   It’s going to be a tough shoot deep in the muddy mangrove swamps along the North Coast of KZN (Kwa-Zulu Natal).


WHITE LION: They’re still shooting this epic project on a private game ranch in the heart of the Magaliesberg!   Michael Swann has moved into the Director's chair and is enthusiastic about approaching what looks like the last section of the film.  I had the enormous privilege of meeting the lions last week - including our star white lion, who is every bit as beautiful in real life as he looks on the website! (

John Kani & Pete Travis
END GAME: Behind the scenes during the lead up to Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. Director Pete Travis (“Vantage Point”). Political game playing for very high stakes. Based on the book “The Fall of Apartheid” by Robert Harvey.  William Hurt playing Willie Esterhuyse and Chiwetel Ejiofor taking on Thabo Mbeki. Shooting based in Cape Town and partly in the UK

Award-wining actor John Kani larks about with Director Pete Travis during a meeting in our studio.

Bet you didn’t think I’d ever do an Afrikaans movie!

HOND SE DINGES, HOND SE DAG (Ermmm... well..."The Dog's Wotsit, The Dog's Day" ?)   Director: Johan Heyns. Buster Reynolds is DOP. 
Johan Heyns is largely responsible for this script which had me laughing out loud.  It’s robust and raunchy, skirts dangerously close to slapstick but underpins the whole rollicking adventure with acutely observed characterisation.  Johan’s small-town South Africans are an absolute treat, especially the cameo, one-scene people who are just perfect. A hugely fabulous challenge for actors with a real funny bone. Ivan Botha plays Dolf, an Afrikaans Rocker jilted by his lead singer. Frank Opperman plays Rommel, the baddie. We do have a good short list for most of the rest of the cast but I can’t announce that just yet...

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