Meerkat Maantuig (Meerkat Moonship) is a movie that’s making South Africans’ hearts swell with pride. It is filled with magic and whimsy and it’s winning over audiences all over the world.
The local film was inspired by the youth novella Blinde Sambok, by renowned South African author Riana Scheepers. Writer-director Hanneke Schutte decided to use the book as a point of departure and turn it into a cinematic story set in the majestic forests of Magoebaskloof, South Africa.
The theme of the film is clear – go out there and face your fears, that’s the only way you’ll live a rich and inspired life.
It is a beautiful story about a fearful, young girl who is convinced her name is cursed. She gets sent to live with her grandparents and makes a new friend Bhubesi who is busy building a Meerkat Moonship in the forest. Life opens up to her and she learns that she doesn’t have to fear everything.
The first screening of Meerkat Maantuig took place at the annual Silwerskerm Fees in Camps Bay, Cape Town, where the film was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Director. The cinematographer Willie Nel walked away with the prize for Best Cinematography.
In November 2017 Meerkat Maantuig had its North American premiere at the prestigious Austin Film Festival in Texas. The director Hanneke Schutte attended the festival and she was overwhelmed by the positive response.
“After one of the screenings in Austin, a lady came up to me crying – unable to speak she gave me a note telling me how much the film had meant to her. The note had me in tears! It was one of the most special moments of my entire filmmaking career,” says Schutte.
The film garnered so much attention at the Festival that it was given an additional encore Buzz screening and it also received some rave reviews.
“This South African film combines the pure-hearted, hand-crafted whimsy of Moonrise Kingdom with the dark emotional magic of The Secret Garden to tell a mesmerizing fairytale all its own.” – Adrian Patenaude
“I loved this film. I was actually blown away by it.” – Gadi Elkon, Selig Film News, Dallas
“South African filmmaker Hanneke Schutte’s quiet film offers more depth and artistry than other tales of the young and ill-fated.” – Nathan Matisse, Conde Nast, Ars Technica
Meerkat Maantuig was also listed as the number one film on US film critic Jesse Knight’s list of Top 10 Undistributed Films in the US.
“Schutte’s instant coming-of-age classic is a gauzy fairytale about grief, loss, and friendship, with two of the most astonishing child performances you’ll ever see. There will be tears.” – Jesse Knight, US Film Critic
The film has also landed on US Film Bloggers and Film Festival critics Bill and Bill Movies’ list of top films of 2017 alongside an impressive list of blockbusters and Oscar nominees.
Meerkat Maantuig has been officially selected to screen at a list of prestigious international film festivals, some of which include :
- Austin Film Festival
- Oxford Film Festival
- Sedona Film Festival in Arizona
- The Kids First Film Festival (the biggest kids’ film festival in the world),
- Omaha Film Festival, Nebraska
- Cleveland Film Festival
- Newport Beach Film Festival
- Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, Ohio,
- Giffoni Film Festival, Italy,
- Afrykamera Festival, Poland,
- Calcutta International Cult Film Festival
- GUKIFF International Kids Film Festival, Seoul, Korea
- Silwerskerm Fees
The film will be released in selected South African cinemas on the 16th of March.