Q&A with Matthew Roberts

Matthew Roberts stars in up-coming indo South African film, There’s No Place Like Home. The movie screens at the Labia Theatre on 9 March.

Q1: Give us a plot teaser for the movie.

‘Some people have bad days – John is having a bad life.’ There’s No Place Like Home is a poignant and witty look at dysfunctional families and one flawed individual’s journey, as he takes a reluctant trip to wholeness. After all is said and done, you might not be able to choose your family, but you may just discover in a weird and wonderful way that there really is no place like home.

Q2: Tell us about your character.

John is a middle aged man in crisis. He’s lost his job due to BEE, lost his wife and is constantly plagued by his neurotic sister. After a night of drinking, he decides to end his life but keeps on getting interrupted. Eventually he decides he might as well live. That’s if he can survive his crazy house mate William, his ex-druggie brother Peter who comes to stay, and his highly strung sister. The only sane voice seems to be the gardener Unathi, who John strikes up a begrudging friendship with. Things come to a head and John has to face his demons as everyone heads on a road trip to the Eastern Cape to visit their sick father, who John hasn’t spoken to in years.

Q3: How was it working on an indie project like this?

It was great fun working on this indie project! I’ve worked on tons of overseas projects but my heart is really for developing local projects and strengthening the South African film industry. And now with technology, you don’t need tons of money. All you need is a script, actors, a camera and a boom. Literally. Conroy Esterhuizen, whose debut feature this is, is a really good friend and my writing partner, and we have developed several writing projects together. Indie films don’t have the gloss and camera work of mainstream films, but they have a certain energy and freedom and originality, and something you can call entirely your own. We shot another one in December last year, a feature film in two days, completely improvised! So the sky’s the limit to do what you want and experiment. I love that! So I’ll be doing plenty more of these in the future.

Q4: Who do you think would love this film?

I think anyone can relate to this film, because everyone has a family. No one knows how to push buttons like family, and we played with that. And the style of the film is definitely ‘dramedy’, that British bitter sweet comedy. It’s poignant, it’s funny, it’s sad – I think there’s something for everyone. And it’s really short…only 60 minutes – ha ha!

Support South African film and catch Matthew in There’s No Place Like Home. Book here.

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