Ellen, Die Storie Van Ellen Pakkies will be screened at the annual Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) in the USA, which will be held from 17 May to 10 June 2018. It will be one of 400 films, from 80 countries, to be screened at this event with more than 145,000 people expected to attend.
“We are very excited about the film being included in the Seattle International Film Festival. Ellen’s story is unique. She is one of only a few mothers who murdered their own children. But, in a way, her story is also similar to many other mothers across the globe. The sad thing is that there are universal aspects of her story that are still a reality today. Drug abuse, poverty, the Flats and family violence. We wanted to take audiences into a world that they think they know, but really cannot begin to understand,” says producer Schalk-Willem Burger.
“I have always believed that our country is producing top-notch films and television series. We have the technical know-how and a strong work ethic. Our biggest challenge is the small budget we have to work with. But we have seen, time and again, how filmmakers are able to take these limited budgets and create awesome films. We have to continue to push these high-quality productions into the international arena and continue to boost the local film industry.”
The film tells the story of Ellen’s (Jill Levenberg) troubled relationship with her 20-year-old drug-addict son Abie (Jarrid Geduld). In 2007, his death caused a stir worldwide when it was revealed that his mother was the one who murdered him. It is the harrowing account of a woman put through the penal system, tried for murder and driven by an unflinching love for her son. It delves into the inner psyche of a family ravaged by drugs in one of the most dangerous communities in South Africa. A scourge that extends beyond the Cape Flats and highlights a systematic failure to protect the poorest of the poor.
“We hope that someone with influence sees this film and hopefully make a meaningful change in these communities. We filmed on location in Lavender Hill, in Ellen’s house, where the murder took place and went out of our way to ensure we show the viewer the real world that this woman lived and still lives in,” says Burger.
Jill Levenberg stars as Ellen Pakkies and has already received positive feedback on her outstanding performance. The film also showcases the talent of actors like Elton Landrew, Shimmy Isaacs, and Kay Smith.