A documentary using a chronology of the best of Nando’s edgy marketing campaigns to tell a whimsical, alternative socio-political history of South Africa.
Nando’s has lived through interesting times. Born in a particularly hectic time in SA history a few months post the 1986-87 State of Emergency, it became a toddler through the big changes of the early 1990s, a precocious kid into the rainbow years, an engaged teenager into the naughties and an amiable cynic as the gravy train pulled into town – all this without losing its optimism and wicked sense of humour. Archive footage, stills or cartoons contemporary to each campaign key the viewer into the vibe of the times, with the story being told by the relevant Nando’s personnel, independent experts, and the industry creatives that came up with and guided the ideas. Apart from the campaigns that feature political, cultural, or topical issues, Pluck also looks at how Nando’s has not shied away from some subjects that other brands would normally avoid like the plague – namely religion, sex, and flirting with a bad taste for effect. And occasionally they have got it wrong. Very! This is arguably the only independent documentary ever made about one brand’s advertising. There’s a good reason for that – through humour and often at the expense of political correctness, these campaigns have managed to convey a sense of South Africans’ indomitable spirit and the uniqueness of their worldview.
A film by Lloyd Ross & Joëlle Chesselet | 2017 |South Africa | 75 mins
THE SILVER FEZ
Once upon a time in a city at the end of Africa, two men were possessed by a dream that could come true for only one of them. Kaatji Davids was a house painter with barely two cents to rub together…but he did have an old banjo, some loyal friends and the audacity to imagine he might be the one to topple Hadji Bucks, the undisputed champion of Cape Malay music.
The prize was the Silver Fez, Holy Grail of Cape Town’s Islamic subculture. The campaign involved a cast of thousands and a staggering array of skills, the most sacred of which was the singing of ancient music that arrived in the Cape on slave ships. Kaatji labored day and night, driven by dreams of glory and, in the end, by pain. You see Hadji Bucks had limitless resources and he used them to lure Kaatji’s best friend into changing sides. After that, it wasn’t just about the music anymore!
A film by Lloyd Ross | 2009 |South Africa | 86 mins
2017 PLUCK a whimsical, alternative socio-political history of South Africa (SOCIAL, 75 mins)
2009 THE SILVER FEZ two choirs battle it out in the Cape Malay Silver Fez competition (MUSIC, 86 mins)
2009 SPLINTERING RAINBOW South African election politics (POLITICAL, 45 mins)
2008 MAN’S PERIL the making of the 1965 Lionel Rogosin film “Good Times Wonderful Times” (BIOGRAPHICAL 24 min)
2008 TURNING THE BONES digging up ancestors in Madagascar (SOCIAL, 22 mins)
2008 RIGHT AND WRONG a look at South Africa’s post Apartheid right wing (POLITICAL, 22 mins)
2008 MILLION MAN MARCH Desmond Dube attempts to get South Africans to march against crime (SOCIAL, 10 mins)
2008 STREET FOOD NAIROBI (FOOD, 22 mins)
2007 SOWETO BEACH PARTY Soweto’s beautiful people party on imported beach (SOCIAL, 22 mins)
2007 THE SILVER FEZ (short), two choirs battle it out in the Cape Malay Silver Fez competition (MUSIC, 22 mins)
2007 MESSY STATES Cape Arts Platform (ART, 35 mins)
2006 AN AMERICAN IN SOPHIATOWN the making of the 1959 Lionel Rogosin film “Come Back Africa” (BIOGRAPHICAL, 52 mins)
2005 MAKING OF HARD COPY behind the scenes of making the SABC series (28 mins)
2005 LIGHT ON A HILL Justice Albie Sachs’ Constitutional Court (ARCHITECTURE, 35 mins)
2004 10 GEARS OF CHANGE unemployed Free State men go to the world’s biggest timed cycle event (SOCIAL, 52 mins)
2003 FAMOUS FOR NOT BEING FAMOUS life & times of James Phillips (MUSIC / BIOGRAPHICAL, 52 mins)
2003 SINGERS & SWENKAS Scathamiya singing & swankers in Johannesburg (MUSIC/SOCIAL, 52 mins)
2002 VOËLVRY TOUR, the story surrounding the Voëlvry movement and tour (MUSIC / BIOGRAPHICAL, 70 mins)
2001 ERNEST PIGNON the French artist visits SA and makes art (ART, 12 mins)
2000 HERMAN CHARLES BOSMAN (ART, 10 mins)
1999 LESEGO RAMPOLOKENG some poems and the poet (ART, 6 mins)
1999 POESBOEKIES the dead tradition of South African picture stories (ART, 12 mins)
1998 KITCHENBOY ROADSHOW PROMO The best food series never made (FOOD, 8 mins)
1998 KITCHENBOY WESKUS Kitchenboy checks out west coast cuisine ( FOOD, 8 mins)
1998 CAR WARS Car sound systems battle it out (SOCIAL, 8 mins)
1997 ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST (COMEDY, 46 mins)
1996 WALTER MEYER (ART, 20 mins)
1996 ON THE ROAD WITH URBAN CREEP (MUSIC, 28 mins)
1995 CONCERT FOR JAMES concert in memory of James Phillips (MUSIC, 80 mins)
1994 FRIENDS AND OPPOSITES Vusi Mahlasela and Lesego Rampolokeng (MUSIC, 28 mins)
Around the World in 40 Days
South African adventurers, Mike Blyth and James Pitman’s design and build their own light sports aircraft and then fly it around the world, completing the longest straight-line flights ever flown in such a small aircraft.
A film by Lloyd Ross | 2014 |South Africa | 52 mins
WILD LANDINGS (NAMIBIA)
South African aviators James Pitman and Mike Blyth are lapsed, adventurers. They blame the bureaucracy of running their own aircraft business on this sad state of affairs. Now, in their prototype tail-dragger, they search for the soul of Namibia in an attempt to rekindle….the Flame! This is the pilot episode for Wild Landings Africa. We hope to one day make the series!
A film by Lloyd Ross | 2014 |South Africa | 72 mins
SOWETO BEACH PARTY
Author/journalist Rian Malan gets tricked by his pale Zulu pal GG Alcock into performing with his band, the Radio Kalahari Orkes, at the biggest entertainment event on the Soweto calendar – the Soweto Beach Party. Imagine the scene – 20,000 of the hippest young Sowetans looking forward to partying to the latest grooves being confronted by a bunch of grizzled old white men, up on stage playing traditional Afrikaans music!
But that is just the subplot, this film takes the temperature of young urban South Africa in the period leading up to the 2010 World Cup and asks the question: Are we ready? Originally commissioned by al Jazeera English in 2009.
A film by Lloyd Ross | 2007 |South Africa | 22 mins
THE SPLINTERING RAINBOW
The Splintering Rainbow is a wry journey through the state of South Africa just prior to the 2009 elections when Jacob Zuma came to power, asking if Nelson Mandela’s Rainbow Nation is sinking into a typical African dysfunctionality. In encounters with politicians, business leaders, lawyers, comedians, and the man in the street, Rian Malan – one of the country’s foremost literary talents – discovers that modern South Africa’s best weapon is its ability to laugh at itself. Originally commissioned by Al Jazeera English.
A film by Lloyd Ross | 2009 |South Africa | 45 mins
10 GEARS OF CHANGE
Produced in 2004 to mark 10 years of the New South Africa, this film tells the story of a group of unemployed men from a farm in the landlocked Free State province as they are formed into a team by the farmer to compete in the largest timed cycle event in the world.
A film by Lloyd Ross | 2004|South Africa | 52 mins
SINGERS & SWENKAS
This film follows the Ladysmith Hlanganani Brothers over a 36 hour period as they compete in the vibrant Johannesburg isicathamiya competition scene, the form of a capella singing made world famous by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Also feartured are the Swenkas (or swankers), finely dressed gentlemen who compete to see who is the finest.
A film by Lloyd Ross | 2003 |South Africa | 52 mins