Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow made its world premiere in Toronto. Don't expect something along the lines of Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show, which is also playing at the festival. Bunny Chow is not about standup comedy, but about three friends and their relationships and their challenges in the world that is modern South Africa. The title of the movie refers to a loaf of bread, hollowed out, and filled with a mix of meat and vegetables. It is a metaphor for Johannesburg today, and its mix of cultures, religions, races and sexes.

Bunny Chow follows Dave (David Kibuuka, who was also a co-writer), a dishwasher trying to become a standup comic, and not succeeding. There are his friends Joey (Joey Rasdien, also another co-writer) and Kags (Kagiso Lediga), both of whom are brutally honest about what they think of Dave's comedy, even in front of girls Dave is trying to date.

But Kags has his own problems, with his girlfriend Kim (Kim Engelbrecht) tired of his constant flirting and sleeping around, and his unwillingness to commit to something more. Joey is no better, what with his girlfriend Angela (Angela Chow) seemingly more interested in the new couch he got her than in Joey himself.

The three guys head off to a music festival at Oppi Koppi and have some adventures on the way and after they arrive.

The film is shot in black-and-white, and it has a slightly voyeuristic feel, which is kind of funny as MTV Europe has picked it up, as you could well be reminded of watching an MTV reality show. It's often painful to watch Dave's trials, especially, as he bombs on stage and with the ladies. The movie has an edgy feel to it, and gives a different view from what you typically see and think of Africa.

Pretty much everyone involved in the film was at the screening, including director/producer/co-writer John Barker, Kagiso Lediga, David Kibuuka, Joey Rasdien, Keren Neumann (who plays one of Dave's love interests), the editor Sakkie Bergh, the cinematographer Zeno Peterson who was shooting a video of the Q&A, and many others.

  • The film was two years in the making.
  • Barker met the three guys about three years ago on a sketch comedy show in South Africa, and after that they started working together.
  • They couldn't get any funding, so they just decided to go out to the festival at Oppi Koppi, shoot a couple of scenes, and then make a story. They shot the first and second acts leading up to the festival afterward.
  • They actually had 70 pages of scripted dialogue, so any improv was done between those lines; they had situations and scenes and relationships they wanted to portray.
  • One audience member commented on how the races in the film intermix so freely, even on a sexual level. They were trying to be positive; today they have all these cultures living in one city, and while there's still division, there is a lot of curiosity.
  • The music in the film is mainly by one South African guy who David Kibuuka is in a band with, although they've never released an album.
  • The guys in the movie will be at Yuk-Yuk's on Wednesday night (September 13) in Toronto. Check http://www.yukyuks.com.
  • The South African consul-generals from Toronto and Los Angeles were in the audience.


I was in Toronto and watched Bunny Chow. I quite frankly/honestly thought it was the worst film I've seen in a long time.

Much respect for their labour of love but I shall not be watching it again......ever and I'd recommend others to stay home and enjoy a good DVD and pop corn!

Quite Frankly I don't agree with the previous comment. The movie is fantastic, its an eye-opener and I enjoyed it tremendously.

Well done!!

My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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