‘Beurtkrag’ flips the switch: Ivan Botha unpacks couples’ darkest secrets

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South African power couple and well-known actors Ivan Botha and DonnaLee Roberts are ready to introduce their latest film to South African audiences when their new relationship drama, Beurtkrag, premieres on DStv Box Office on Thursday 16 June 2022.

How Ivan Botha and DonnaLee Roberts’ ‘Beurtkrag’ came about

Ivan and his wife and co-creator, DonnaLee Roberts, joined forces for the first time in 2014 when establishing their production company 17FILMS.

After specialising in the development, production, and marketing of high-quality films Such as Pad na jou Hart (2014), Vir Altyd (2016), and Stroomop (2018), Ivan and DonnaLee instantly became household names in South Africa.

As for their most recent project, the actors teamed up with director Jozua Malherbe to turn Stiaan Smith’s award-winning script, titled Beurtkrag, into a feature film.

Watch the trailer for ‘Beurtkrag’

“It all actually started off as a short film at the Silwerskermfees a few years ago,” Ivan told The South African in an interview.

“DonnaLee and I were looking for a great script at that stage. Beurtkrag was a two-hander, and it was absolutely perfect.”

After adapting the script for the theatre and touring the country for about two years, their dream was to transform the 15-minute short film into a hard-hitting hour-long drama. The COVID-19 pandemic however called for a drastic change in their approach to the type of productions they were accustomed to dishing up for audiences.

“We needed to adapt, be creative and think a little bit outside (or inside!) the box. Intimate films, smaller crews, smaller casts, fewer locations, and we just realised that Beurtkrag is perfect for all of this.”

‘Beurtkrag’ will turn on the switch for couples

Ivan, DonnaLee, and Jozua – together with kykNET and M-Net – proceeded to develop the film into a subtitled feature film that will resonate with a lot of couples.

Ivan Botha and DonnaLee Roberts in their new feature film, ‘Beurtkrag’. Image: Supplied

“It feels like in one night, we get to take the audience and this couple through a lifetime of emotions,” Ivan says, before adding that it is extremely thrilling to watch from an emotional perspective.

A relationship drama and a lifetime of emotions

These emotions are seen from the perspectives of Jasper and Fransie – who we meet in two different stages of their relationship: Firstly, when they fall in love and then takes the step of moving in together.

However, load shedding place a damper on their first night together in their new home. The drama spirals quicly out of control when their relationship’s raw “baggage” is exposed and unpacked…and they are forced to revisit the darkest part of their past.

What happens when the door to the outside world is shut? Who in turn has the most power? Can you forgive and if you can – can you forget? Beurtkrag is a relationship drama that focuses on the vulnerability of relationships.

“Yes, there is romance. Yes, there is love…but there is a lot of hurt and baggage that comes out. What’s lovely is that you meet these two characters falling in love and see their relationship kind of fall apart at the same time.”

Ivan Botha and DonnaLee Roberts in their new feature film, ‘Beurtkrag’. Image: Supplied

Load shedding make shadows a reality

Ivan says that although the plot uses load shedding as confinement for the couple, the relevance to the last two years of lockdown is extremely relatable. Load shedding is therefore simply used as a tool to showcase all the emotional darkness that people had face during these past two years.

“I think people are really going to resonate with this film and the concept of being confined to your house and facing your issues. I think we are passionate about telling stories that are relationship orientated. And Beurtkrag will bring couples to truthfully evaluate their relationship.”

With themes of communication, forgiveness, redemption, and love, Ivan says that they do not necessarily have all the answers regarding relationships, but they would like to hold up a mirror when it comes to relationships and how couples communicate.

‘Beurtkrag’ is what happens after the ‘happily ever after’…

“You have to be willing to work at a relationship if you want it to be successful. Beurtkrag is that. We all love romantic films and seeing the couple drive into the sunset and live happily ever after. Beurtkrag is what happens next. That’s the realness and the rawness of the story. I think the honesty lies within that.”

Ivan believes that the world is ready for brutally raw and honest stories exposing even more vulnerability, especially when it comes to love and relationships.

“Through this film, couples will hopefully find healing, learn to speak each other’s love languages, and not feel alone in their inner and relationship struggles.”

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