Bl!nk Pictures have responded with delight to news that the film “Joost: Spel van Glorie” has been selected to premier at the kykNET Silwerskerm Film Festival later this month.
The festival is a showcase of the best Afrikaans films, featuring special full-length film premieres, short films, discussion panels and an award ceremony. This year the festival adds a new category for documentary films with 15 new short films produced by kykNET in collaboration with Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 initiative.
Award-winning journalist, Odette Schwegler, who is director and producer of “Joost: Spel van Glorie” is overwhelmed to have the film included in the line-up. “This is my first full-length documentary feature. Earning Silwerskerm recognition goes beyond my wildest expectations.”
Known as the golden boy of SA rugby, the world reeled in shock in April 2011 when the news broke that Joost had been diagnosed with MND. The disease attacks the central nervous system, causing progressive disability. There is no known cure. The prognosis is death.

In spite of this ‘death sentence’, Joost keeps his eye on the ball. Failing health is no obstacle to a man who sees his new game plan as the mission to raise awareness of MND while bringing international resources to South Africa. To support the cause, he has given the documentary team unprecedented access to his life for over a year.

“For him to have given us the access he did, was extremely brave, and ultimately the mark of the man. I am deeply honoured and humbled to have played a small part in the telling of his story,” says Odette.

Documenting Joost’s stellar past on the rugby pitch – as well as his fall from grace – ‘Spel van Glorie’ follows this proudly South African hero in his travels to the world’s leading MND centres to build relationships with global specialists. It traces his travels to meet with other sufferers, providing hope and inspiration to communities who have no understanding of MND.

In what is an all-time first the film brings to one screen some of rugby’s greatest legends – from his teammates, to men who faced Joost in battle. Players like George Gregan, Justin Marshall, Matt Dawson, Scott Hastings, Francois Pienaar, Gary Teichmann, Corne Kriege and Kyran Bracken pay tribute to his fighting spirit and remember some of his greatest moments on the field. If you think you knew everything about the sport, you’re in for some surprises.

While weaker spirits may have been defeated by the prognosis, Joost doesn’t bemoan the loss of his almost superhuman skills. Instead he sees his rugby days as a training field for his current fight. “In the beginning you go through all the emotions and you ask, ‘Why me?’ It’s quite simple, ‘Why not me?’ If I have to go through this to help future generations, why not me?” he says.

“While the film is about Joost, it is also about every one of us. It’s a story about humanity, about fallibility, redemption and courage,” Odette concludes. Described as a rollercoaster ride through the human experience, ‘Spel van Glorie’ will make you re-examine life. “There are two things that people take for granted every day: time and health. And, when you lose that, that’s when you wake up.”

This could be your wake up call.
‘Joost: Spel van Glorie’ is a kykNET film.