Emil Nofal

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Emil Nofal (1926-1986) was a film writer, director, editor and producer.


Born of Lebanese parentage in Fordsburg, Johannesburg, on 21 April, 1926.

He died in Johannesburg on 17 July, 1986.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

Emil Nofal was only 13 when he began work in the film processing laboratory at Killarney Film Studios, but became one of South Africa's key filmmakers of the 1960s and 70s. He started as an editor (not always credited) with African Film Productions, became a scriptwriter and then directed a number of documentaries (usually for government departments and parastatals) and features, first for AFP and then for Jamie Uys Rolprentproduksies.

In 1965 he launched his own production company, Emil Nofal Films, based at Lone Hill Studios in Bryanston, which was responsible for, amongst others, King Hendrik (1965) and Wild Season (1967). Subsequently he teamed up with Jans Rautenbach and produced this director’s Die Kandidaat (1968), Katrina (1969) and Ongewenste vreemdeling (1974). While Nofal’s choice of what were then considered controversial themes often attracted criticism from conservative quarters, both Uys and Rautenbach always acknowledged his influence and steadfast support. His later work was less interesting.


FEATURES (as director)

Song of Africa (1951), Rip Van Wyk (1960) (+ Screenplay with Jamie Uys & Original Story), Hou Die Blink Kant Bo (1960) (+ Story), Voor Sononder (1962) (+ Producer & Story), Kimberley Jim (1963) (+ Producer & Screenplay), King Hendrik (1965) (+ Producer & Screenplay), Wild Season (1967) (+ Writer), The Winners (1972, directed with Roy Sargeant, also producer and writer), You're In The Movies (1985) (+ Screenplay with Peter Dulay), You Gotta Be Crazy! (Directed with Dirk de Villiers/1986) (+ Written with Robert Lewis & Larry Kulpath)

FEATURES (as producer only)

Die Kandidaat (Jans Rautenbach/1968), Katrina (Jans Rautenbach/1969), Ongewenste Vreemdeling (Jans Rautenbach/1974), Kniediep... (Roy Sargeant and Joe Stewardson/1975) (Executive Producer), Die Vyfde Seisoen (Gordon Vorster/1979), The Riverman (Ivan Hall/1983)

FEATURES (as writer only)

Altyd In My Drome (Al Debbo/1952) (Idea with L. Oberholzer), Inspan (Bladon Peake/1953) (Story with Paul Dreiske & Gordon Vorster), Tom, Dirk En Herrie (Al Debbo/1962) (Story & Screenplay), Lord Oom Piet (Jamie Uys/1962) (Story & Screenplay with Jamie Uys), Die Kandidaat (Jans Rautenbach/1968) (Story & Screenplay with Jans Rautenbach), Die Wit Sluier (Dirk de Villiers/1973) (Screenplay with Dirk de Villiers), Sonja (Daan Retief/1978) (Original Story), The Riverman (Ivan Hall/1983) (Story), Die Groen Faktor (Koos Roets/1984) (Screenplay with Marie du Toit & Story)

FEATURES (as editor only)

Zonk! (Hyman Kirstein/1950)

DOCUMENTARIES (as director)

Flocks Of The Veld / Kuddes Op Die Veld (1950), The Twenty Thousand / Die Twintig-Duisend (1953), More Precious Than Gold / Kosbaarder As Goud (1953), The Call Of The Karroo (1954), Melodies of Africa (1955), Tickets Please! / Kaartjies Asseblief! (1955), Fishermen of Skeleton Coast / Die Vissers Van Die Dode Kus (1956), The White South Africans / Die Blanke Suid-Afrikaners (1965)

DOCUMENTARIES (as producer)

The Ever Free / Vir Ewig Vry (Jans Rautenbach/1966), Vision Of Gold / Visioen Van Goud (Antony Thomas/1968)


Save You Skins / Red Julle Velle (1950), Prehistoric Africa / Prehistoriese Afrika (1952) (With J.B. Murphy), Zebediela: monument to a pioneer / Zebediela: monument vir 'n baanbreker (Hyman Kirstein/195-)


The Fox Has Four Eyes (Jamie Uys/1959), All The Way To Paris (Jamie Uys/1966)


The Riverman (Ivan Hall/1983) (Produced with Boet Troskie & Screenplay)


André I. le Roux and Lilla Fourie. 1982. Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm. Pretoria: Universiteit van Suid-Afrika, 1982

Personality, 23 October 1969 (Article by Vera Barrett)

Personality, 30 June 1972) (Article by Ronald Fraser MacDonald)


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