A young professor consumed by alcoholism is saved from self destruction by a former school mate and begins a journey to save his house, marriage and his life.
Smanga is a celebrated, young, professor at a prominent South African university whose life quickly unravels when his wife, Laura, leaves him. He spirals into an alcohol, marijuana and sex induced tail spin that places the status of both his career and house in jeopardy.
Smanga’s path of self destruction is interrupted when he meets an old school mate, Jon, who is a failed motivational speaker. Taking pity on him, Smanga invites Jon back to his place and a friendship quickly develops. Through their emotionally honest communication Smanga begins the process of healing himself.
Having arrested his mental and physical decline, Jon convinces Smanga that he must get on with his life: priority number one being saving his house, for which he has received a “final notice” on his bond repayments. Jon sees an opportunity to boost his friend’s income by dealing the marijuana that Smanga grows in his backyard.
Smanga’s wife abruptly returns after being battered by another man. Laura moves back into the house and these three misfits begin a unique living experiment. However, things become complicated by an unexpected pregnancy.
As the tension in the house rises a newly clean Smanga faces a complex decision that will define the lives of his tribe.
In the modern world where every middle class
child is told from day one that they’re special,
can do anything and have everything, what
happens when that child grows up and realizes
the painful truth, that his parents lied? I want
to dig below the surface to find the failures of
middle class entitlement.
Cuckold is a naturalistic, character driven story that examines what it is to be human through the universal struggle to survive when things don’t go our way, accepting imperfections in ourselves and those around us. There’s also a focus on the dichotomy in relationships that is the need for autonomy versus dependence.
This is a film with a voracious appetite for unfiltered truth: even when it’s uncomfortable and offensive. Cuckold is a film without frills that shines a light on this band of misfits, telling their story as honestly as I can without obvious or heavy-handed manipulation.
The audience must not be aware of any conspicuous filmmaking technique within the film. I want them to forget about the camera, and every other technical aspect. By stripping away these superfluous elements I will allow the audience to be immersed in the story through the actor’s performances and for myself to give the actors the greatest possible chance to showcase their craft without the manipulation of music, camera movements, or visual effects.
The film will feel like a harrowing real life
experience unfolding before our eyes,
something true and compelling captured by
the camera. The performances will feel natural
and lived in, with no actor-ly frills, or showy
The emotional feeling of the cinematography will be modeled on the photographer Nan Goldin’s work. I want those who see this film to feel like they’re watching a private visual diary of this tribe of misfits that I’ve allowed the public to watch.
Cuckold is director Charlie Vundla’s acting debut in a feature film. Having written the script, he felt he had a unique insight into the Smanga character and took the bold move to portray him on screen.
In 2005, Terry Pheto made her onscreen debut in the movie Tsotsi, which went on to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Since then, she has started a successful TV and film career, appearing in Zone 14, Rockville, Jacob’s Cross, Hopeville, Catch a Fire, Goodbye Bafana, Stick Fighter and Mandela: Long walk to Freedom. She has now started a production company called Leading Lady Productions
Louis Roux is a SAMA Award winning Professional Musician, Composer and Producer . Currently, Louis is the bassist in the lauded band Shadowclub - who have performed with the likes of international chart-toppers, Kings of Leon, Bloc Party and Wolf Mother amongst many others. Cuckold is Louis’ acting debut.
Charlie Vundla was born in New York
City, grew up in Johannesburg, before returning to
the United States to earn a BA in journalism at
George Washington University in Washington DC.
Charlie then enrolled in the graduate film
production program at USC. Charlie left USC to
found a low-budget production company where he
wrote, produced, edited and directed movies that
went straight to video and television.
Charlie then focused on his 1st feature film, “How to Steal 2 Million”, which went on to commercial and critical success. Cuckold is his second directorial effort, In 2014, Charlie founded his production company, House Rising Pictures.
Jeremy Nathan has been involved in the South African film and television industry for nearly twenty five years. He has produced numerous features, television dramas, documentaries and short films. He has lectured in many local institutions and written widely about the industry.
Moroba Nkawe obtained a BCom Economics Degree from the University of Cape Town and has since established herself as a producer at Dv8 Films where she was involved in films such as Shirley Adams and Izulu Lami. She has also co produced the films State of Violence and Mandela’s Gun..
Nic Hofmeyr feature film DOP work includes the gritty reality of South African gangster/action film, Jerusalema, for which he won Best Cinematography at FESPACO in 2009 and the dark and stylised How to Steal Two Million, a crime genre film released in 2011. In 2012 he photographed drama series Room 9, an occult cop show on SABC television. Nic’s periodic work as a Director / DOP includes the acclaimed mid-nineties documentary series, Ordinary People, the feature documentary Main Reef Road, broadcast by National Geographic amongst others, 2001’s A Miner’s Tale, part of the ground breaking Steps For the Future project and 2005’s Taking Back the Waves, a surf film that has screened at many festivals around the world.
Gita Cerveira has had an extensive, international career in films and television. The Angolanborn Sound Mixer has worked on projects from France, to Portugal, his native Angola and South Africa. His work includes sound mixing on South African feature films such as Layla Fourie, Sleepers Wake and How to Steal Two Million. Cerveira was a sound mixer on popular television series Soul City IV and acclaimed science-fiction drama Room 9.
Jim Petrak is South Africa’s most prolific and experienced ADR recording engineer and 5.1 surround sound mixer specializing in Dolby digital for film. Jim has mixed many full length features, short features, documentary features, television features and mini-series. He’s worked on many local and international projects with directors such as Bronwen Hughes on Stander, Darrel Roodt on Lullaby and Yesterday, Terry George on Hotel Rwanda, Philip Noyce on Catch A Fire, Tom Hooper on Red Dust, Leon Schuster on Mama Jack and Gavin Hood on the Oscar-winning film, Tsotsi, among many others.
Tebogo Tsokodubane has had various roles in the art department, including: props standby for Mandela’s Gun ; art department standby for drama series Donkerland; Art Director on Mzanzi Magic’s Legends documentary film and Art Director for Ethiopian Airlines TV commercial. He casts his net far and wide by working on films, television, music videos and commercials.
Jeremy Nathan, Moroba Nkawe & Charlie Vundla
PO Box 308, Parklands, 2121
Johannesburg, South Africa
PO Box 5158, Rivonia, 2128
Johannesburg, South Africa