A Journey with Pieter-Dirk Uys

Review: The life and times of Pieter-Dirk Uys

– Karen Rutter, Weekend Special, 27 January 2017

NOBODY’S DIED LAUGHING: A JOURNEY WITH PIETER-DIRK UYS. Directed by Willem Oelofsen with Pieter-Dirk Uys, Charlize Theron, Sophia Loren, FW de Klerk, Desmond Tutu, Jonathan Shapiro/Zapiro and more.

It’s impossible to think of another living South African person who could inspire such praise and support from such a diverse range of (famous) names, as Pieter-Dirk Uys does in his latest documentary. Nobody’s Died Laughing takes an affectionate and informative look at the life and times of the country’s most enduring actor and activist. And the list of prominent contributors to the work is impressive: Charlize Theron, Sophia Loren, FW de Klerk, Desmond Tutu, Jonathan Shapiro/Zapiro, Thoko Ntshinga, David Kramer, Dame Janet Suzman, Zolani Mahola and more. Politicians, actors, musicians — you name ’em, they appear — all expressing genuine admiration of and sharing amusing or poignant anecdotes about one clearly-beloved man.

20-odd years into our new democracy, it’s sometimes difficult to remember just how insidious the apartheid government was. And how quick to cut off any supposed challenge to the state. If a song was deemed “threatening”, it was denied airplay. Theatre audiences were segregated. Actors were arrested. And playwrights were banned. Uys was one of a number of outspoken arts workers who was at the receiving end of much of this treatment during the 1970s and 1980s. But it never stopped the prolific writer and performer; indeed, he even managed to pull off the fine balancing act of actually making (some) Nationalist politicians laugh at themselves.

Speaking truth to power

But for the majority of Uys’ life, in his (over 20) plays, 30 revues and literally thousands of performances in South Africa and internationally, he has never stopped speaking truth to power. It is one of his most defining traits. One which Nobody’s Died Laughing portrays through interviews with colleagues, friends and fans, footage of live shows, behind-the-scenes commentary and rare intimate glimpses. We get to understand a lot of the motivation behind Uys’ work — and his work ethic, in itself — which has taken him from rave-review one-person shows in London and New York to HIV/AIDS education sessions in dusty schoolrooms in Cradock and Nelspruit.

Of course, no Pieter-Dirk Uys presentation would be complete without the appearance of the most famous white woman in South Africa, so Evita Bezuidenhout does make a couple of turns in the film, as does her sister Bambi Kellerman and several other (in)famous Uys characters.

But in the end this is a documentary about one man, and the many facets which have gone into his unique make-up. And it serves to remind us how very, very lucky we have been to have a Pieter-Dirk Uys in the ring.



Make them laugh, and they’ll listen

– Theresa Smith, Cape Argus, 29 July 2016

While working on PR at the Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town two years ago, Willem Oelofsen entered Pieter-Dirk Uys’s dressing room to discuss the production. “As I walked in, he was sitting all alone, like he must have been sitting around dressing rooms for years. And it looked like a shot to me,” Oelofsen remembers.

The conversation soon turned to the fact that Uys would turn 70 the next year, “and I suddenly thought, ‘that’s a nice hook to why make the movie now’,” and Oelofsen started trying to persuade the notoriously private actor/director/theatremaker/ philanthropist and, it turns out, nice guy, that a documentary needed to be made.

It took some persuading, but Oelofsen felt Uys’s story is worth highlighting because of the influence the satirist has exerted over the years. “Ten years before that I was at Evita’s 70th birthday. That evening I realised this is an incredible story and wanted to do something and it’s been with me for 10 years, this incredible story of this man. I think the timing was just right.”

Oelofsen counts his inexperience in the film world, having only made short promo films for theatrical productions before, as a bonus when making his first feature, Nobody’s Died Laughing: “I think that’s why a lot of people agreed to be in it; because I wasn’t some big filmmaker,” he said.

Oelofsen spent a week in Darling doing research in Uys’s archives as executive producer Herman Binge tried to secure funding (Kyknet and private funders came through), so by the time they started principle shooting he had an iron-clad shooting script.

They started with pick-up shots in July, 2014 in London and interviews commenced with Desmond Tutu on March 18 last year and ended at Bishops as Uys gave an Aids prevention talk to pupils. Editor and co-director, Geoffrey Butler was at every interview so the two edited the film in less than three months.

“The film is first and foremost about the work, it is not a Huisgenoot story, it is not a mockumentary. Pieter’s life is so big, it should be on the big screen. In the scripting there are enough laughs, but it’s not a show, it’s not one of his performances.

“After the screening in Durban a lot of the younger black activists came up to him and said ‘thank you for inspiring us’ and that’s what I want. I hope this film will inspire people, the way he inspired me.

“It’s also what he wants, because he is always asking: ‘Where are the next generation of people asking those questions, poking that fun?’ If we don’t do it with humour, no one is going to listen, that’s what Pieter-Dirk has taught us. If we start shouting, no one listens, but if you laugh, people hear you.

“There are so many films about the Kurt Cobains and the Amy Winehouses, and it’s sad and they’re really good films, but what about those who bothered to stay alive to do the work?”



**** MOVIE REVIEW: Nobody’s Died Laughing

– Theresa Smith, Tonight, 29 July 2016


DIRECTOR: Willem Oelofsen

CAST: Pieter-Dirk Uys, Sophia Loren, Desmond Tutu, Charlize Theron, Janet Suzman, Jonathan Shapiro


RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

A BIOGRAPHIC feature documentary on the work of satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys, Nobody’s Died Laughing is quietly inspiring. It tells the story of one man who rolled up his sleeves and got on with the job, rather than just griping about everything that is bad.

It gives you a whole lot of information about Uys, rather than the characters he portrays, but delivers it in managable chunks.

Uys at times talks directly to the camera and discusses candidly his relationship with his father, something he has never really done on stage until this year, but the bulk of what we learn about him comes from other people.

Fast-paced, featuring lots of jump-cuts and glossy images of many different cities, the documentary contains interviews with a star-studded list of people singing Uys’s praises, a who’s who list of recognisable faces explaining what Uys means to them.

Interviewees like David Kramer give historical context by explaining how artists like himself and Uys navigated the Censor Board, while a contemporary artist like Jack Parow acknowledges how Uys paved the way for the Afrikaans rapper to be as outre as he wants to be.

The filmmakers follow Uys around for a chronological year, but tell his life story geographically, moving around with him as he performs on stages, accepts awards, goes home to Darling and visits friends overseas.

While he may be a theatre personality, Uys has leveraged that into a serious philanthropic career centred on educating people about everything from Aids prevention to the necessity of voting in a democracy. His dedication to educating the youth shines through, as does his devil may care attitude towards people who can’t take a joke.

Editor/co-director, Geoffrey Butler has teased a coherent story out of backstage glimpses, archived film footage and old family photos.

Occasionally we hear a ghostly voice (director Oelofsen) ask a question or direct Uys to try a different door, but the filmmakers stay out of the way, guiding the narrative, but allowing other voices to tell the story.

Insightful, at times funny and poignant, the documentary doesn’t just say nice things, showing how not every production Uys has ever created has been a runaway success. But, for the most part, it delves into Uys’s work to show you the man behind the stage persona, a person who hides very successfully behind the wigs and dresses, who learnt early on that laughter is the best way to break down the fear of the unknown.

If you liked Hidden Heart, you will like this.



‘Nobody’s Died Laughing’ film review

– Terri Dunbar-Curran, Cape Times, 29 July 2016,

THERE’S a pause as Pieter-Dirk Uys prepares to step out onto stage. He stands alone, silhouetted in the wings. Then, with an almost imperceptible straightening of his shoulders, he ventures into the spotlight. Willem Oelofsen’s documentary Nobody’s Died Laughing, which opens at cinemas today, is not only a striking portrait of one of South Africa’s most important satirists, it’s a poignant illustration of our country as a whole.

The film, written and directed by Oelofsen, does far more than simply follow Uys around and tell his story. It unpacks the harrowing past which birthed creatives like him, and the turbulent present which makes them just as important as ever.

When Uys’s beloved character Evita Bezuidenhout turned 70 back in 2005 there was a fundraiser for the Darling Trust and Oelofsen remembers thinking “This is a fascinating story, I want to do something with it”. Fast forward a decade to when Uys celebrated his own 70th. ‘I thought, that would be a nice hook to hang it on. He’s turning 70 and he’s still as busy as ever,” says Oelofsen. “So we put our lipsticks together and came up with a plan.”

Two years in the making, the film will be screened at 11 cinemas across the country, almost unheard of for a documentary. “The response so far has been incredible,” says Oelofsen, adding that some young audience members at the Durban International Film Festival thanked him for introducing them to Uys. “When you look at all of that, you realise, of course you make a film about this man’s life — how could you not?”

Oelofsen specifically made the film in a style and vernacular that a younger audience would appreciate. It’s fast-paced and the score includes dubstep, classical and boere musiek. “We edited it at a pace that should leave you as tired at the end of the movie as Pieter-Dirk must be at the end of each day,” says Oelofsen. “It was rough, but completely worth it. It was an extraordinary experience spending all that time with him. Nothing was too much for him, ever.”

The director says that he “schlepped” the actor all around Europe and discovered that it does not matter where you go, people will always want a piece of Uys.

The film includes interviews with Desmond Tutu, Charlize Theron, Lizz Meiring, Janet Suzman, Thoko Ntshinga, Zolani Mahola, Jonathan Shapiro, Sophia Loren and many others. Oelofsen was astounded by the generosity of everyone involved. “Everyone wanted to help us make this film, it was just extraordinary.”

One of the highlights was interviewing actress Sophia Loren in Geneva. “It was an out of body experience. She was a true, old-school Hollywood star,” says Oelofsen, fondly recalling the sight of Uys and Loren walking down a passage holding hands like “an old married couple”.

When it came to meeting with Theron, they arrived in Los Angeles with a very rough time-frame. They were supposed to have 20 minutes with the actress and ended up recording 49 minutes of material. “She was really cool, and funny. It was incredible. And we laughed and laughed,” he says.

Nobody’s Died Laughing carries a 7-9 PG rating for language. “It’s only because of her and Pieter-Dirk,” laughs Oelofsen. “It would have been funny if the censorship board had one last time banned something of Pieter-Dirk’s.”

A large portion of the film deals with censorship and the lengths the then government went to to suppress freedom of speech. Uys and the other interviewees speak about the impact it had on them as artists and why it was so important for them to keep fighting, to make sure their voices were still heard.

“There’s the whole idea of Pieter-Dirk being a young rebel, whether it now seems so or not,” says Oelofsen, adding that it seemed fitting to get Jack Parow to write a song for the film. That track, A Rebel Till He’s Dead, perfectly encapsulates Uys’ life and impact. “He did everything himself and came up with such a rich lyrical base. We were so impressed. I think it’s a kick-ass track,” says Oelofsen.

He would love for schools to arrange for students to see the film. “The subject matter is important for them to see. It puts the past into perspective — his anti-apartheid work and his fight against censorship. He truly believes in fighting for what’s right. And he’s still doing it.”

Another big part of Uys’ work in recent years which the film homes in on has been his Aids education for young people across the country. “Pieter-Dirk stands on stage and says things — but he also goes out and actually does things too,” says the director. “And he doesn’t get paid to do it — he pays for it all himself.”

That ethos has not only helped change the lives and futures of young people all over the world, but it has also made a huge impact on others who have a platform to make a difference.

Theron says she was deeply moved by Uys’ work in the field of Aids prevention and it helped to inspire her own efforts.

Oelofsen teamed up with cinematographer Nic van der Westhuizen, executive producer Herman Binge, co-director and editor Geoffrey Butler to bring the film to fruition.

Butler accompanied the team on all of the shots, so when it came time to edit, he knew exactly how each segment related to the rest. Oelofsen says that besides finding the funding, one of the biggest challenges was producing it on his own. “In terms of logistics I did everything on my own, and directed. I had to learn so much. It’s been extraordinary and I can’t believe we’re sitting with an actual film.”

As South Africa files into cinemas to get a glimpse of one of its greats, and Uys retreats from the cameras for a while, Oelofsen is already turning his directorial eye to his next project.

“I want to tell positive stories, about good things. About those who bother to stay alive and make a difference.”



*** Nobody’s Died Laughing: Pieter-Dirk Uys doccie is a must-see!

– Ilan Preskovsky, New24, 29 July 2016

Cast:  Pieter-Dirk Uys, Desmond Tutu, Vincent Ebrahim, David Kramer, Jack Parow, Charlize Theron, FW De Klerk, Lizz Meiring, Zelda Le Grange

Genre:  Documentary

Release Date:  July 29, 2016

What it's about: A documentary about the life and work of beloved South African comedian, Pieter Dirk Uys, as explored during his latest comedy tour.

What we thought:

That I am, to be entirely upfront about this, not a particular fan of Pieter-Dirk Uys' comedy, does little to detract from the fact that this documentary only heightened my respect for the man and his work. It's not necessarily a particularly great documentary and the clips we get of his comic performances don't exactly turn him into John Cleese or Bill Hicks in my eyes but Nobody's Died Laughing does do a fine job of capturing Uys' incredible work ethic, his irreverent attitude towards authority and the pulsing humanity that lies behind every joke he's ever told; every costume he's ever donned.

Directed by Willem Oelofson, Nobody's Died Laughing is a film that's clearly in love with its subject, which is fair enough as Uys certainly comes across as quite lovable here but those looking for even the slightest whiff of a dark side to this South African national treasure, are certainly not going to find it here. Uys is probably too humble for a documentary about him to be entirely hagiographic in nature but between the endless kind words said about the man from any number of his friends — both famous and otherwise — and the general complimentary tone of the film itself, it's not too far off either.

And yet, for all of the film's tendency towards the celebratory and complimentary, Pieter-Dirk Uys himself gives the film more than its share of playfulness on one hand sharpness on the other, with a rich stream of melancholy running throughout the film as we uncover a background that was seldom untouched by the hand of tragedy.

From the suicide of his mother to his maternal grandmother's Jewish roots in Hitler-era Germany to his being a gay man in ultra-conservative Apartheid South Africa, there is more struggle and sadness in his past than his more notorious eff-the-government grandstanding and “adorable” alter-egos would suggest.

Indeed, while the portrayal of art verses totalitarian governments never gets old and there is something undeniably charming about just how playful his anti-Apartheid satire was and his New South Africa satire still is, it is the more intimate moments that we share with him that are the real pleasures of the film — and give us a far greater understanding of this kind, warm and gentle soul than all the good-natured but tediously fawning celebrity interviews that are peppered liberally throughout the film.      


Considering my own Jewishness, it's probably not surprising that probably the most affecting part of the film for me takes place when Uys goes to Germany as part of his comedy world tour (the UK is another major stop off) and visit's the Holocaust museum there and he reflects not just on the similarities between Apartheid and the Holocaust and the way two countries have tried to come to terms with their past but on his own personal Jewish roots.

In particular he shows us a grand piano that his grandmother managed to smuggle out of Germany with her prior to the war, that had spent years as a center piece of their own house before finally landing up back in Germany as part of a display at its main Holocaust Remembrance Centre. It's a simple, small and exquisitely touching moment that elevate the film above its occasional tendency to rather overcook the pudding.

Oelofson's warm-hearted tribute to the man who is, on occasion, also Evita Bezuidehout, may not always be firing on all cylinders, occasionally even coming dangerously close to sputtering to halt in its more fawning and overly earnest moments, but it has more than enough to recommend it to both fans and non-fans of Pieter-Dirk Uys' comedy alike.

Bloody awful title, though.



Feldman @ the flicks

– Peter Feldman, Artslink, 29 July 2016

Nobody's Died Laughing

Cast: Pieter-Dirk Uys

Director: Willem Oelofsen

Celebrated satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys has enjoyed an astonishing career over several decades, a brilliant writer, actor and constant thorn in the side of the Nationalist Party at the height of apartheid.

His blessed creation Tanie Evita Bezuidenhout, 'the most famous white woman in South Africa,' has over time become a real personality in her own right, lauded not only by his adoring public, but dignitaries in every walk of life.

All these years of achievements have now been cleverly encapsulated in an entertaining documentary about Uys' life, his early beginnings, his family history, his theatrical achievements, his books, plays, TV and everything that contributed to a life well lived.

Described as a 'theatrical-action-documentary film' 'Nobody Died Laughing' is a true celebration of the life and work of Pieter-Dirk Uys and ably demonstrates how the power of laughter can win over the world.

It covers his journeys across South Africa and his many overseas sojourns in London, Berlin and, of course, his beloved home in Darling.

What makes the footage fascinating, apart from revisiting some of his old shows, is that a host of famous names are interviewed about Uys and his magic, and they include former President FW De Klerk, Dame Janet Suzman, Sophia Loren, Desmond Tutu and Charlize Theron. There is footage, too, of his sister Tessa Uys, a famous pianist, and the late Nelson Mandela.

It also covers his charity work and his AIDS awareness campaign.

The documentary emphasises how Uys uses his talent as a platform for change, not only in the old South Africa, but in the present day.



Review: Nobody’s Died Laughing

– Marilu Snyders, Artslink & What’s on in Cape Town, 26 July 2016

South Africa has produced its share of legends — mostly in the humanities or on the silver screen -– and one man that continues to spread his good vibes and his love for fellow humans is the well-known and well-loved Pieter-Dirk Uys. One of the most controversial yet approachable political satirists, Pieter-Dirk Uys (also fondly known as his alter ego Evita Bezuidenhout or ‘Tannie Evita’) has seen our beautiful country shift and change over the years, and he’s had an extraordinary amount of influence in directing that change on a certain level.

To celebrate this national treasure, young producer/director Willem Oelofsen has brought together movers and shakers from across the world in one thought-provoking and honest documentary about Uys’ life and legacy. At the V&A Waterfront Cape Town film premiere, some of the ‘Friends of Evita’ walked down the blue carpet to celebrate the release of this film. The familiar faces of Jack Parow, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Desmond Tutu, David Kramer and Lizz Meiring among others were smiling in the crowd as tributes were given to a remarkable man and his remarkable life.

The film itself is a collection of long-unseen footage from Pieter-Dirk Uys’ theatrical beginnings in 1969 intercut with recent interviews with theatre doyens such as Eric Abraham and Mannie Manim, and celebrity friends such as Charlize Theron and Sophia Loren, as well as glimpses into the private life of Uys himself. We get to see a different side to this man of so many faces — the face of solitude, the face of family, the supporter of his Darling community, the raw talent that leads him into every single performance unrehearsed and ready for whatever the audience or the current political state of affairs might throw at him.

It is no understatement to call Pieter-Dirk Uys a national treasure. And this beautifully produced documentary captures the multifaceted existence of an extraordinary, humble human being who truly loves others, and who continues to work to enlighten us and to empower us, doing so through his secret weapon: humour.

Nobody’s died laughing was screened at the Cinema Nouveau, V&A Waterfront on 25 July 2016.



Het jy gehoor?

Pieter-Dirk Uys se nuwe dokumentêr

– Gaynor Siljeur, Sarie, 22 Julie 2016

Die dokumentêre prent oor die lewe van die kunstenaar, aktivis en Suid-Afrikaanse ikoon Pieter-Dirk Uys het gister, Maandag, 25 Julie, in teaters begin wys. In Nobody’s Died Laughing word onderhoude ook met die aktrises Charlize Theron, Anna-Mart van der Merwe en Sophia Loren gevoer.

Pieter-Dirk se reis deur Kaapstad, Johannesburg, Grahamstad, Stellenbosch, Londen, Berlyn en sy huis in Darling word op kamera vasgevang.

Nobody’s Died Laughing ondersoek een man se lewenslange toewyding tot sy land en die gebruik van satire om ’n daadwerklike verskil te maak,” sê Willem Oelofsen, filmmaker en regisseur van Nobody’s Died Laughing, in ’n persverklaring.

Willem het in 2014 begin navorsing doen oor Pieter-Dirk en saam met hom tyd bestee in sy persoonlike argiewe op Darling. En in 2015 het Willem en ons kameraspan hom begin volg van Berlyn in Duitsland tot die Kaapse Vlaktes.

Pieter-Dirk is een van Suid-Afrika se bekendste gesigte en hy het deur die jare met baie internasionale celebs en invloedrykes die wêreld oor bevriend geraak. Sonder hom sou tannie Evita Bezuidenhout nooit haar verskyning gemaak het nie.

Verlede week het Nobody’s Died Laughing by die Internasionale Vigskonferensie in Durban gewys. En Willem sê die reaksie was geweldig positief.

“Mense raak altyd opgewonde as Pieter-Dirk in die vertrek is. Charlize en haar ma (Gerda) het tydens die vertoning lekker gelag.”

Charlize se liefdadigheidsorganisasie, Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, se inisiatief GenEndIt glo dat die jonger generasie vigs kan stop sit.

“En sy’t besef dat Pieter-Dirk die jongmense kan inspireer. En dié wat in die gehoor was, was geïnspireer!”

Die Hollywood-akteur Richard Gere se broer, prof. David Gere van UCLA, is ook in die dokumentêr te sien!

Pieter-Dirk het in SARIE se September 2015-uitgawe met ons gesels.

Jy is al as soveel dinge beskryf – satirikus, fopdosser, komediant, kabaretkunstenaar, kommunis volgens sommige in die vorige regering, rassis volgens sommige in die huidige regering, moeilikheidmaker, humanis — wat is jy?

Nie een nie. Ek dink nie te veel oor definisies nie. Dit sal my kreatiwiteit verdun tot egosentrisme en selfbewustheid. Ek werk suiwer op my intuïsie. Ek is ’n entertainer en ek doen wat vir my goed, en reg, vernuwend en vermaaklik voel en hoop gehore vind aanklank daarby. As iets nie werk op die verhoog nie, verander ek dit. Maar ek sal nooit my artistieke integriteit prysgee nie, of ’n verhoog misbruik as my persoonlike seepkis vir my of andere se ideologieë nie.

Wat het jy van jou ouers geleer?

Albei het ’n wonderlike humorsin gehad. Van Ma het ek geleer om nie my kop en my lewe te versuur met onbenullige snert nie. Ma moes oorleef en aanpas in ’n samelewing en ’n land wat vir haar vreemd was. Sy moes van vooraf begin. Dan is daar nie plek vir kleinlikhede nie. Pa het eendag ná een van my produksies [nog tydens die vorige bestel] met my geraas: “Hoekom moet jy altyd so vloek in jou stukke?” “Ag Pa,” het ek geantwoord, “dis net woorde.” “Kielie my saggies agter my oor met wat jy wil sê,” het hy gefluister. “Dan luister ek, en dan kry ek so lekker.” Dit was vir my ’n groot les in subtiliteit.

Wat word nog beplan ter viering van jou sewentigste?

Ismail Mahomed, hoof van die Grahamstadse Kunstefees, het gevra of ek hul eerste Kunste-ikoon sal wees. Ek het geantwoord ek sal liewer hul eerste Kunste-aikôna wees, en ek het my nuwe stuk, African Times, vanjaar by hul fees laat debuteer. Dit kan beskryf word as ’n wit komedie of ’n swart tragedie. Dit speel af in die toekoms van ’n demokratiese Suid-Afrika. Ek is ook konstant besig met solostukke wat ek hier en wêreldwyd speel. Dan word Die Van Aardes van Grootoor ’n musiekblyspel. Dit open die eerste week in Desember in Theatre on the Bay in Kampsbaai. Ons verfilm ’n kykNET-program oor Evita se tagtigste verjaardag. Kyk Net vir Tannie word laat in September uitgesaai. Daar word op die oomblik ’n internasionale dokumentêr oor my gemaak. Vele bekendes verskyn daarin — onder andere Charlize Theron, emeritus-aartsbiskop Tutu en Sophia Loren.

Gaan jy ooit aftree?

As ek een aand op die verhoog stap en daar’s niemand nie, sal ek weet dis tyd om te stop. Vreemd genoeg is my gehore tans groter as wat ek nog ooit gehad het. En tog is daar moontlik ’n hele generasie born frees wat nie eintlik weet wie ek is nie. Maar hulle kom kyk na my produksies. Dis hoe ek weet ons land is in die moeilikheid — mense kom soek desperaat laglafenis oor ons politieke situasie. En onthou, lag verdryf vrees en agterdog en skep hoop. Aftrede behoort opsioneel te wees, nie gedwonge nie. Selfs al is jy 24, en jy kan jouself onderhou, behoort dit jou reg te wees om te sê: “Ek wil aftree.” En as jy tagtig is en nog wil en kan werk, behoort dit jou reg te wees om te sê: “Ek wil nog werk.”

Kyk na die lokprent van Nobody’s Died Laughing hier:



 Nobody’s Died Laughing

Durban International Film Festival 2016

– Brenda Daniels, A Feast of Tales, 25 June 2016

This excellent documentary by filmmaker Willem Oelofsen traces the life and work of well-known South African satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys. The director was present at the screening I attended and he explained that viewers should have been as exhausted once the show was done as Uys must be at the end of each of his very busy days. The film is indeed packed full of details about Uys from childhood to the present time. It includes interviews with several different celebrities and colleagues; face-to-face time with Uys himself; excerpts of several public performances around South Africa and abroad; visits to his home; and details of his humanitarian work.


Review: Nobody's Died Laughing

Proof that comedy is a serious business

– Fred Felton, Umhlanga Life, 24 June 2016

Documentary: Nobody’s Died Laughing

Director: Willem Oelofson

This is a documentary all about comedian, satirist and activist Pieter-Dirk Uys. Everyone knows him as the alter ego of Tannie Evita.  This documentary goes behind the scenes and shows you what it is like for this artist to perform all over South Africa and all over the world.

The documentary also shows you the evolution of Pieter-Dirk Uys how he has moved from satire to now providing children with free Aids-awareness entertainment programmes.

The documentary goes back and forth in time and shows you how he got his first break and how he has acted in many shows all over South Africa.  We also get to see where he stays in Darling and how he has helped the community of Darling not only with a Theatre but he has also helped out with costs towards the swimming pool.

The documentary is very well shot and features some very famous people who share their insights about Pieter-Dirk Uys.  We get some interesting information about this star from the likes of Charlize Theron, Desmond Tutu, Janet Suzman, Zapiro, David Kramer and even Sophia Loren.

The documentary follows Pieter-Dirk Uys around the Grahamstown Festival, we see him in England and in Berlin.

At times deeply thought provoking, at other times emotional and in many instances very funny.  Learn what satire is all about.

For artists this documentary is highly recommended, you will certainly learn what it takes to perform in your own shows.

This is a man who has done over 7000 performances of a 1 man show.

Rating: Highly Recommended

The documentary is showing at the Durban International Film Festival.

Next showing: 26 June | 21:30 | Playhouse

For more info visit www.durbanfilmfest.co.za  | #DIFF2016


Charlize Theron, Desmond Tutu among cast in Pieter-Dirk Uys documentary

'Nobody's Died Laughing' made its debut at the Durban International Film Festival last night.

– Ilze-Marie Le Roux, Eyewitness News, 20 June 2016

CAPE TOWN – Actress Charlize Theron, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, playwright and director David Kramer and former apartheid-era president FW de Klerk are among some well-known personalities who feature in a documentary about South African satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys.

The film showcases the work and life of one of the country's most beloved performers.

Nobody's Died Laughing made its debut at the Durban International Film Festival last night.

Director Willem Oelofsen has recalled a special moment during filming.

“The day that we got to his [Tutu’s] offices and we had to interview him, there was a rush. He prayed for us before we started interviews and I think that carried us through, we had zero problems.”