8 Still from the pilot, 2013.

7Still from the pilot, 2013.

6Still from the pilot, 2013.

6Still from the pilot, 2013.









The Crosswind (feature film, development)


My father had us down as members of the master race, but my brother DOUGLAS and I had other ideas. At 33, Douglas was still living at home and working as a dogsbody at the family trucking company. I was more adventurous; I abandoned my dentistry degree for further studies in Paris and became a writer. 15 years later I was all washed up and dabbling in small affairs with my English students. My wife, CELIA, saw where things were headed: ‘Why don't you go back and take over the family business?’ Strauss Transport had long been an out-dated enterprise, and with the abrupt retirement of my parents, the family fortune was going down the tubes. The old man had always sneered at my humanistic ideals; now it was time to do things my way.

So we quit Paris, and moved into the old family home with Douglas, in the quiet suburbs of Cape Town. I set about ‘modernising’ the business and negotiating better contracts with the drivers and their Union representative, MR NKOSI. In an ideal world Nkosi and I were soul brothers. But the Marxism of the Sorbonne was not the Marxism of the townships. And affable as he was, Mr Nkosi had a grudge to bear. My sleeping partner, the veteran HARRY SCHULZ, was quick to smell trouble. ‘If Nkosi gets a foothold here, your life will become hell! Life is a question of mind over matter, Max!’ I’d known Harry since I was a child; he was serious Cape Town mafia. He gave me 3 months to get things sorted out, failing which he was selling his share in the business to the highest bidder.  

Meanwhile Celia was starting to have doubts. She doubted me (and to be honest, who wouldn’t?). She also hadn’t reckoned on the cultural wilderness of those suburbs. She missed Paris; grabbing a quick espresso and a cigarette between meetings, even the metro started to take on a rosy hue. Living with my free-spirited brother wasn’t helping either. In one of my dreams, I woke in the early hours to find Douglas and Mr Nkosi on the front lawn, whacking my practice golf balls deep into the suburban night.

Douglas was still licking his wounds from an unhappy affair with Harry’s daughter, Karen, who had disappeared off to London. Now she was back, camping in Harry’s spare bedroom while she pondered her next step. But she was in for a bad surprise. Harry had never known how to put money aside for a rainy day.  So Karen came and volunteered her services to help me get the company back on track. Of course when she ran into Douglas in the front office (and personally I think that’s all she was really after), her good intentions went out the window. Douglas played the jilted lover, but the perfume of sex still lingered and they were soon back to their hedonistic ways.

I was starting to get over my previous failures and enjoy the grit of my new life; the dust, the smell of oil and tyres, my capable manageress… But something was amiss. One of the drivers called in to say that a delivery Harry had urgently sent him to take care of, was getting weird. What was Harry involved in? Then Mr Nkosi came in, accusing Douglas of sexually harassing one of the men, and threatening to take us to the Labour Tribunal if I didn’t give in to their impossible demands. But, Harry was keeping close tabs on the developments. He knew every trick in the book. And so today: a visit at home from a self-styled township vigilante, Mr Panado. The true depth of the situation is starting to become apparent.

produced by Helen Olive, 5 A 7 films