Henk Pretorius is a South African director, writer and producer, who is on the cusp of international acclaim. The Dark Matter Studios founder wanted a place in the film industry and has been striving to make a space for himself, ever since completing his AFDA film school degree. Pretorius describes himself as an "underdog" and a “passionate observer of humanity”.
His breakthrough came with Bakgat!, a popular Afrikaans comedy, which went on to become a trilogy. He moved from Bakgat! to direct Fanie Fourie's Lobola, a heartfelt, funny and distinctly South African romantic comedy, which was well-received by critics and audiences alike.
His latest film, a comedy romance drama called Leading Lady, has generated even more international appeal, once again proving Pretorius has what it takes to go all the way.
While South Africa is already enamored with Pretorius and his "children", we can't wait to see what he and his production company has lined up next. For now, we'll have to be satisfied with getting his Top Ten Movies interview...
"I get goosebumps just thinking of the film..."
[on The Shawshank Redemption]
I can't watch movies without...
- My analytical brain switched off. I sometimes wish I could just switch off and enjoy the show, but it's like I am watching a lecture of film-making. Sometimes the lecture is about something that you should aspire to make and sometimes, something you should aspire to never make!
Which famous people share your birthday?
- I had to Google that one and frankly I don’t think any of those people are really famous. I might add that my birthday is two days after Christmas…
What is the first film you remember watching?
- Dirty Dancing and It. Both films I was not allowed to watch. One gave me nightmares and the other one inspired a brief mullet and blow-dried hair. As I said, I was too young to watch these films!
What's the worst movie you've ever seen?
-There are loads of really awful movies, but the one that really takes the cake was a short film I acted in. I can't remember the name, but I was suppose to be killed by a floating CGI knife. The budget died, before the knife could be added, so the film died with my character…
Which movies have made you tearful?
- Every movie that thematically deals with the underdog winning something or figuring something out and is recognised for that, makes me tearful. Even if the film is bad, my eyes will water up at the exact moment when our hero gets his or her recognition. It's obviously something in my psyche, wanting recognition and seeing myself as an underdog, oh how dreadful.
Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?
- I have never met a really famous movie star, except in the wax museum. I don't really aspire to meet one either. I mean, actors are great and sometimes very brave people, but the star-system is only a marketing strategy that producers in the USA use to sell more movie tickets.
What's your favourite movie line?
- "Get busy living or get busy dying." The line comes from The Shawshank Redemption and I am a massive fan of the movie and the theme of this movie. I get goosebumps just thinking of the film. It pretty much sums up life for me: you are either busy dying or you are living…
Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?
- If they make a biopic of my life, they have really run out of stories. If I am that famous, or rather wealthy, at the time, I would like to play the lead character myself. When I have enough money, I will freeze my brain like Walt Disney and miraculously come back to life and play myself. My inner “self indulgent detector” is going: ENOUGH ALREADY!
If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?
- How our species should stop taking our planet for granted and start controlling our numbers.
Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...
- Shawshank Redemption ...because it sums up life for me.
- Braveheart ...because I am a cliche and “FREEEEEDOM!”.
- Dead Poet's Society ...stand on your desk and shout: “YELP!” and Robin Williams's sad eyes, because he knows, the wiser you get, the more jaded you become…
- A Beautiful Mind ...we are all looking for our original idea, for better or worse, until death do me part.
- American Beauty ...hate the mundane, but what else is there? The beauty of wrinkles on my grandmother's hands. Solid film.
- Good Will Hunting ...again, Robin Williams’s eyes and for the idea that it doesn't matter where you come from, it's where you are going.
- Wedding Crashers ...when in doubt, be forever young and dumb! “M-a-a-a, I need the meatloaf!”
- District 9 ... so proud of Neill Blomkamp. Although I have never met him, I think the world of this film.
- Batman Returns ...I can't stop watching this film. “Do you know where I got my scars?” In the film business…
- Avatar ...I am a massive James Cameron fan. To me, he is The King of Hollywood.
Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.