Fugitive is delighted to announce that a deal with Topic, the new streaming service from First Look Media, will see Poppie Nongena, one of South Africa’s most acclaimed films of recent years, made available to subscribers exclusively in North America, starting 8th April.
Based on Elsa Joubert’s 1978 international bestseller The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena, regarded as one of the best African novels of the 20th century, the two-hour film tells the true-life story of a mother’s struggle to keep her family together during the Apartheid period, specifically just prior to the Sharpeville and Soweto riots. It’s a time of immense upheaval, when inhumane government regulations constantly separated husbands, wives and children, often resettling them in remote areas designated as black homelands. In Poppie Nongena, we follow Poppie (played by Clementine Mosimane) as she is declared ‘illegal’ in her own country and then engages in a desperate battle with the authorities for permission to stay while holding down a job, keeping her children educated and caring for her sick husband.
Poppie Nongena was written and directed by up-and-coming talent Christiaan Olwagen and produced by the award-winning filmmaker Helena Spring of Helena Spring Films. It has garnered multiple awards in South Africa, notably winning in 12 categories at the 2019 Kyknet Silwerskerm Film Festival, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress. It also secured Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Golden Horn Awards at the 2020 South African Film and Television Awards and Best Actress at GRIFF (Garden Route International Film Festival) last year. Further afield, it has been a major hit on the international festival circuit, receiving numerous invitations and nominations and winning Best Film in competition at both the BRICS Film Festival and Efebo d’Oro in 2020.
Anthony Kimble, Fugitive’s founder, negotiated the deal with Topic’s VP of acquisitions Jennifer Liang. He comments: “Fugitive has existing representation partnerships with both Helena Spring Films and Topic, so it is a great pleasure to bring the two together in this way and with such an important film. South African film and television producers are starting to attract a lot of interest on the international stage and I am confident that this sale of Poppie Nongena will not only be the first of many, but also pave the way for all the other amazing content coming out of the country at the moment.”
“At Topic, we pride ourselves in finding unique programming from around the world to share with our subscribers, and Poppie Nongena is a true gem. While providing fascinating insight to the Apartheid era it is neither a historical nor political film: instead, it is a personal and moving portrayal of a woman doing her best to keep her family together in trying circumstances”, says Jennifer Liang. “It is inspiring, sobering and beautifully written, directed and acted. We are excited to bring this standout film to North America and know our subscribers will find it a truly memorable watch.”