Hakeem Kae Kazim Discusses Man On Ground

Kae Kazim reunites with filmmaker Akin Omotoso for powerful South African drama Man On Ground.

I caught up with the actor to talk about the movie, what it was like working with Akin and what lies ahead.

- Your latest movie is Man on Ground so can you tell me a little bit about it?

Man On Ground is what I would describe as an African art house drama. It's the film about two brothers who have become estranged set against the back drop of Xenophobia and the riots and killings that happened during this period in South Africa in 2008.

- You take on the role of Ade in the movie so what was it about the character and the script that drew you to the project?

As one of the producers of the project I was drawn to the idea of this movie as a way of making a statement and adding my voice to the opposition of xenophobia and xenophobic sentiment that was growing more prevalent in South Africa.

So I was very instrumental in the development of the script and the character from the beginning.

- So how do we see Ade develop throughout the movie?

We see Ade's growing understanding of what xenophobia is and what the effect of this is not only in South Africa but on global scale as he says in one of his speeches ... 'I only hope that humans begin to understand that this earth is our collective home'.

- The movie is based on social unrest in South Africa so what sort of research did you do into that country at the time?

Our research consisted of going into the Townships and talking to people that had been both directly and indirectly affected by what had been happening during this period trying to gain an understanding of what it had meant to them what there thoughts were on what had happened why did they feel this things were happening who were the instigators etc etc.

- The movie is set in South Africa so did you shoot out there and how did you find your time there?

Yes we did shoot in South Africa in Johannesburg for me it was a homecoming as South Africa is my second home.

- This is only the second feature film for Akin Omotoso so how did you find him as a filmmaker?

And this is the second time we have collaborated on a movie together the first was 'God Is African' and it is great to see him grow into a fantastic director.

He is a great innovative and talented film maker with vision and a beautiful understanding of the art of film and film making.

- The movie has been met well by the critics and is playing on the festival circuit you must be delighted by the way that the movie has been received? How have you personally found the response to the movie?

Yes it has been a wonderful journey for the film so far and especially gratifying when I consider the conditions under which this project was made.

On a personal level I couldn't be more delighted with the response of the film and the level of discussion and debate which it has generated.

- We are going to be seeing you back on the big screen later this year with Black November so can you tell me a little bit about that?

Black November is a movie I also co-produced and shot in Nigeria last year.

It is a story set in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria dealing with the consequences oil production in the region has had on peoples lives.

- Kim Basinger, Anne Heche and Mickey Rourke are on the cast alongside you so how did you find working with them?

It was a great honour to have had such talent on set who understood the debate we are in.

- Throughout your career you have mixed TV & movie work so how do the two compare & contrast? Do you have a favourite?

I enjoy working on both TV and movies, the TV world tends to work at a much faster pace.

For me they are both equally exciting and rewarding but my preference would have to be movies I love the pace and intensity of being on a movie set.

- You have also worked in theatre so have you any plans to return to the stage? Do you get something out of live theatre that you don't get out of TV or movie work?

I am at the moment developing something for the stage with a writer friend of mine - I haven't done live theatre for a few years so am looking forward to getting back on the boards again and feeling the magic dynamism of interacting with a live audience.

- Finally what's next for you?

Currently I am shooing a couple of episodes of an HBO TV drama series called StrikeBack 3.

I am also finishing developing my own directorial debut movie project that I am hoping I will start filming towards the end of the year or early next year. And am looking forward to having my 3rd child.

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