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FTN reviews There Are No Heroes

July 5th, 2012 by Marc Comments

Tomorrow night on the show we will be talking to Kyle Steveson, director of  There Are No Heroes, a science fiction short film about a young single-mother fighting to survive in future Cape Town ruled by a sinister pharmaceutical company – DARCORP.

There Are No Heroes
Directed By:
Kyle Stevenson
Starring: Chanel Smit, Marty Kintu, Sean Cameron Michael
Running Time: 37mins

Set in a near future Cape Town after an unseen nuclear armaggeddon, There Are No heroes tells the story of a young mother called Drew (Smit) who falls ill due to radiation poisoning and is left by the company she works for to die slowly and painfully. Her main concern becomes the safety of her daughter after her death.
In an attempt to find a cure she reaches out to her revolutionary boyfriend (Kintu), meanwhile she falls in with a security worker (Michael) who might be able to help, the only problem is he works for DARCORP, the very company that abandoned her and rules Cape Town with a steel fist… can Drew work out who is on her side before it’s too late?

There Are No Heroes is something of a parable for the modern age. Set in a world not too distant or far removed from our own, it’s a bleak, desperate tale of a world controlled by big companies, where the media – even the free speech – is used to the ends as decided by the companies, where there seem to be no leaders and the world is controlled by money –  we are the sum of our life insurance and only useful while we are profitable.
In truth, it’s not that far removed from our society at all.
The story of Drew and her daughter is a sad one, but one that rings true. When her sickness becomes severe Drew loses her job and when she loses her job, she loses her insurance and without the insurance she cannot get the medicine to cure herself, illustrating that once you have out-lived your usefulness you are disposable.
And when she is contacted by the mysterious DARCORP employee it soon becomes apparant what his intentions are towards Drew and things take an Arlington Road turn for the worst.
There Are No Heroes is a beautifully shot movie. For a first-time director, Stevenson shows a maturity beyond his experience. Every frame is well measured and although the budget lets him down in a few places, his eye never does and it’s a credit to him that the movie comes across as totally oppressive, yet full of open spaces and wide angles. It has a very distinctive look that shows Cape Town in a unique light.
The performances too are solid. Smit portrays a character that you will immediately sympathise with. Given her situation you will feel totally justified no matter what action she takes, her portrayal of a woman on the edge who will go to any lengths is totally convincing and at no point do you ever question her  sincerity or love. She’s an actress that will be worth looking out for.
Kintu’s portrayal as the lone activist is solid too. A man who lives on the fringes of society, bringing the truth to a world without hope, is always believable. However, it is only when he realises his family is in trouble and he must decide between his solitary world or exposing himself for the ones he loves that you see his acting ability. He soon becomes a man on the edge and the final, ambiguous scene with him in the bar will leave you wanting more.
However the acting plaudits must go to Sean Cameron Michael whose portrayal of the agent who may or may not be working against the company that pays him is sublime. Warm and charming, mixed with distant and menacing, his true motives will keep you guessing and will shock you when they become clear.

Overall Stevenson and all involved have created a tight, bleak thriller that is well-paced and fleshed out. It would lend itself well to a feature as DARCORP and Cape Town in this future are well worth exploring, If you get a chance check this out and keep your eyes on the talent in the credits, you’ll see those names again.

4 out of 5 Nerds
Marc Savage


It has been several years since a nuclear power plant in Cape Town had a meltdown. The film follows Drew, a young single-mother and factory worker, who must fight to survive in a dystopian future Cape Town, ruled by a sinister pharmaceutical company called DARCORP. 

There Are No Heroes was the final graduation short film for group of young, energetic and talented post-grad filmmakers at AFDA in Cape Town (South Africa).

Donald Leitch (@DonJonLeitch) and Kyle Stevenson (@VideoShopDude) teamed up to adapt a South African short story into a screenplay. The film is based on Charlie Human’s (@charliehuman) ‘Land Of The Blind’ which is based on the world created… in Lauren Beukes’ (@laurenbeukes) novel ‘Moxyland’. Although not a completely faithful adaptation, many of the ideas and new plot lines were discussed with Charlie Human and the script soon became THERE ARE NO HEROES.

Funding a film is never easy – after principal photography, Donald and Kyle realised that their twenty-four minute script was actually a forty-minute film. So with half a film in the can and no budget left, they had a problem.

They turned to the new crowd-funding phenomenon, where you raise your funds with small donations from several people on the internet. This coupled with an aggressive social media and online campaign – with articles on South African, American, English and Canadian blogs – they managed to raise R20,000 ($2600) in 30 days.

This made them the second-ever South African film to reach its crowd-funding goal, and the first to do it 30 days. It also allowed them to get more exposure and test the marketability of a science fiction short film.

Once the new funds were in place, they begged, borrowed and only occasionally ‘stole’ to make the film. It soon turned from a post-graduate film project, into a labour of love and now that it is complete they hope to share this exciting and intriguing South African film with the world.

Awards Best Adapted Screenplay (AFDA Awards 2011)

Starring Chanel Smit, Marty Kintu & Sean Cameron Michael

Directed by Kyle Stevenson

Written By Charlie Human (Original Short Story)

Screenplay by Donald Leitch & Kyle Stevenson

Produced by Kyle Stevenson, MaggieJane Leitch & Brigitte Stanford

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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….