On Friday, 17 February, history will be made when South Africa’s first Hollywood-style Afrikaans RomCom hits the big screens. Get ready to laugh yourself into a coma when the actors of Semi-Soet take you on an entertaining and uplifting journey of love, lust and a whole lot of wine.
Shot in Johannesburg and the now-iconic Vrede en Lust Wine Estate in Franschhoek, the plot revolves around a workaholic woman named Jaci (Anel Alexander) who is desperately trying to save her boutique advertising agency from the claws of a ruthless businessman known as “The Jackal”, played but the scrumptiously delicious, Nico Panagio.
In order to save the day, Jaci needs to convince the owner of a family-owned wine estate, to sign with their agency as a marketing client. The owner of Vrede en Lust, Andries Buys, is however a man with high family values, and in order to convince him, Jaci needs a boyfriend to drag along to the estate for a weekend. As luck will have it she, unknowingly picks “The Jackal” as her make-believe fiance and the consequences are hilariously funny.
Step aside Sideways and make way for Semi-Soet! It’s by no means just another slap-stick Afrikaans movie and the best part is that it promotes wine in a big way. Vrede en Lust receives a massive punt in the movie, along with the Franschhoek region. Wine-name-dropping happens throughout the movie and fans can even buy the 2008 ‘Vryersvoetpad’ Limited Release, which features in the movie.
It will be no surprise if Vrede en Lust gets booked up as “THE-venue-to-have-your-wedding-at” until the year 2050. The scenes in the movie pay tribute to the breathtaking beauty of the estate and the plot adds a “SOLD” swing tag to the venue and it’s facilities. Apart from this, I believe Vrede en Lust’s wine sales are bound to shoot through the roof. I mean, who wouldn’t want to drink a wine that featured in a glossy big screen movie?
Not only is Semi-Soet well produced, it’s also a phenomenal punt for the wine industry and Vrede en Lust. Those wine farms who turned the producers away when they looked for a venue, will have a hernia when they see the publicity and marketing opportunity they’ve missed out on. As they say “no guts, no glory”, so big-up to owner, Dana Buys, for taking the chance and putting his brand’s image and name in a film that could have been just another lame Afrikaans embarrassment.
Thankfully it’s not. Semi-Soet has all the characteristics of a top produced Hollywood production and everyone involved in it, must receive a standing ovation.