Elmo de Witt

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Elmo de Witt (b. 18/03/1935 – d. Uvongo, 31/04/2011). Producer, director, editor, cinematographer.


Elmo Andre de Witt was still a schoolboy when a short film he and his friends had made won an award from the Pretoria Cine Club. As a young man he joined Jamie Uys Filmproduksies and was only 24 when he directed his first feature, Satanskoraal (1959). Over the years he made many popular films, sometimes picking subjects that led to criticism from a still conservative Afrikaans establishment. These included Debbie (1965), in which Suzanne van Oudtshoorn played an unmarried mother, Ter Wille van Christine (1975), in which Hans Strydom as a NGK dominee falls in love with a Roman Catholic girl played by Sybel Coetzee, and ‘n Beeld vir Jeannie (1976), in which a sculptor (again Hans Strydom), uses an unmarried mother as a model for a statue to honour the women and children who died in the Boer War concentration camps.

Amongst his most popular films as director were the Boer War adventure story, Kavaliers (1966), the romantic drama Hoor My Lied (1967), starring the tenor Gé Korsten, and Snip en Rissiepit (1973), based on the popular Springbok Radio serial by Jan Scholtz. He is also credited with having “discovered” actors like Hans Strydom, Sybel Coetzee, Rika Sennett and Alice Krige – or at least with giving them their first movie roles. After working first for Jamie Uys and then for Tommie Meyer and Ben Vlok at Kavalier Films, in 1973 he established his own production company and Elmo de Witt Films became a major player in the South African film industry. From then on he also produced most of the films he directed. After a few years he retired from directing to concentrate on the production side, with his company providing the SABC with a range of television series.

Towards the end of his life he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and he died while on holiday at the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. He was survived by his wife, Riana, a son, Elmo Jr and a daughter, Deanne. Cinematographer Louis de Witt (1938-1993) was his younger brother and shot most of the films Elmo directed. (FO)


Features as Director

Satanskoraal (1959), Debbie (+ screenplay + cameo as wedding guest) (1965), Kavaliers (1966), Hoor My Lied / Hear My Song (+ screenplay with Basil Stols, A.P. du Plessis & Sakkie van der Walt) (1967), Danie Bosman: die Verhaal van die Grootste S.A. Komponis (1969), Sien Jou Môre (+ screenplay with A.P. du Plessis) (1970), Z.E.B.R.A. (1971), The Last Lion (1972), Sperrgebiet: Diamantgebied No. 1 / Danger Zone (1972), Die Wildtemmer (1973), Snip en Rissiepit (1973), Môre, Môre (1973), Kwikstertjie (1974), Liefste Veertjie (1975), Ter Wille van Christine (1975), Vergeet My Nie (1976), ‘n Beeld Vir Jeannie (1976), Kom Tot Rus (1977), Mooimeisiesfontein! (1977), Iemand Soos Jy / Someone Like You (1978), Grensbasis 13 (1979), You Must be Joking! (1986), Enemy Unseen / Lost Valley (1989), Tolla Is Tops (1990).

Features as Producer

Geheim van Nantes (with Tommie Meyer & Ben Vlok) (Dirk de Villiers/1969), Lied in My Hart / Song in My Heart (with Tommie Meyer & Ben Vlok) (Ivan Hall/1969), Die 3 v.d. Merwes (with Tommie Meyer & Ben Vlok) (Dirk de Villiers/1970), Vicki! (with Tommie Meyer & Ben Vlok) (Ivan Hall/1970), A New Life (with Tommie Meyer & Ben Vlok) (Dirk de Villiers/1971), Flying Squad / Vengeance Cops (with Tommie Meyer & Ben Vlok) (Ivan Hall/1971), Freddie’s in Love (with Tommie Meyer & Ben Vlok) (Manie van Rensburg/1971), ‘n Sondag in September (with Jan Scholtz) (Jan Scholtz/1976), You Must Be Joking Too! (with Leon Schuster) (Leon Schuster/1987), Accidents (Gideon Amir/1989), Wild Zone / Okavango (Percival Rubens/1989).

Features as Cinematographer

Geld Soos Bossies (with Sven Persson) (Jamie Uys/1955), Die Bosvelder (Jamie Uys/1958), Tolla Is Tops (with Harmon Cusack & Justin Fouche) (Elmo de Witt/1990).

Features as Editor

Satanskoraal (Elmo de Witt/1969), Hou die Blink Kant Bo (Emil Nofal/1960), Doodkry Is Min (with Judex C. Viljoen) (1961), Hans en die Rooinek / Sidney and the Boer (Jamie Uys/1961), Debbie (with Roelf van Jaarsveld & Dave Burman) (Elmo de Witt/1965).


Jabulani Afrika (cinematographer) (Jamie Uys & Jok Uys/1957), The Condemned Are Happy / The Urgent Queue (cinematographer (Jamie Uys/1958), The Story of a Roof (cinematographer) (Jamie Uys/1958), Kaapse Draai / Holiday Romance (editor) (Jamie Uys/1961), Medisyne Sonder Pille (editor) (Jamie Uys/1961), Die Ontvoering (producer & director) (196*)

Television as Director

The Settlers (TV series) (1980), Taakmag (TV series) (1980), A Settler’s Tale (TV series) (1982), Town Guard (TV series) (1983), Hoekie vir Eensames (TV series) (with Herman Binge & Michael McCarthy/1986), Inkom' Edla Yodwa (TV series) (with Tokkie Wehmeyer/1989).

Television as Producer (Fiction)

Mr. Abner (TV movie) (Richard Green/1982), For King and Country (TV movie) (Bob Hird/1983), Meisie van Suidwes (TV series) (Regardt van den Bergh/1984), City People (TV movie) (Gray Hofmeyr/1985), Faulkner’s Law (TV series) (with Roy Sargeant) (Christian Marnham/1985), Moordspeletjies (TV series) (Danie Joubert/1988), Kinders van die Sabbatsee (TV series) (Danie Joubert/1988), Mr. Mamba (TV series) (Ian Roberts/1990).

Television as Producer (Documentary)

Van Kleuter tot Skoolkind (TV series) (Ria Bonthuys/1985)


Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm

van Nierop, Leon - Daar doer in die fliek




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