A new film about the life and work of openly gay performing artist and activist Pieter-Dirk Uys will be released in cinemas in July.
In Nobody’s Died Laughing, a film crew tries to keep up with one of the hardest working artists in South Africa on a journey from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Grahamstown, Stellenbosch to London, Berlin and his home in Darling.
The landmark documentary movie features a star-studded line-up, including new and archival interviews with the likes of Charlize Theron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Uys’ inspiration and idol Sophia Loren.
Uys, 70, is renowned in South Africa, and around the world, as a playwright, satirist, performer, author and commentator on the political absurdities of the day – especially during the apartheid era.
Evita Bezuidenhout, his best-loved drag creation, is known as “the most famous white woman in South Africa”.
In recent year, Uys has also become an HIV/AIDS activist, making presentations in South African schools that make use of humour to confront fear and stigma.
While he’s been notoriously private about his personal life, in his 2003 memoir Elections & Erections, Uys spoke openly about his sexuality and early sexual experiences.
He’s won awards and has been feted around the world, with Mandela himself stating that he was one of his heroes.
The film takes a closer look at the man behind all the famous characters, the humanitarian and his educational AIDS awareness work.
“This film captures a man and a lifetime commitment to a country by using satire to affect change,” said filmmaker Willem Oelofsen.
“I started researching Pieter-Dirk Uys in 2014 and spent time with him in his personal archives in Darling. I found it fascinating that after 50 years in the entertainment industry he was still working at the same pace and with the same vigor as when he started. “
Charlize Theron is one of the stars featured in the film
Oelofsen explained that in 2015 he picked up a camera and started following Uy; from filming him perform in Berlin to the Cape flats and watching him teach a room full of teenagers about safe sex.
“I believe audiences will be intrigued to experience more about the man who refuses to be silenced while using the arts as his weapon against discrimination and confronting intolerance,” said Oelofsen.
The film also includes never before seen interviews about Uys with Lizz Meiring, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, FW De Klerk, Janet Suzman, Thoko Ntshinga, David Kramer, Zolani Mahola, Vincent Ebrahim, Professor David Gere, Eric Abraham, Jonathan Shapiro and many more.
Nobody’s Died Laughing, produced by kykNET films and Vry Films in association with Lion’s Head Productions and Who Projects, will be released in cinemas on 29 July.