Local film 'Krotoa' sparks debate about cultural heritage, colonial history

The production of the acclaimed movie Krotoa has been a journey of discovery and debate for the film's producers.

Krotoa was Jan van Riebeeck’s Khoi language interpreter, a woman who was virtually erased from history.

The film's writer Kay Anne Williams explains that the script was inspired by oral history, deductions from historians and other debated theories about Krotoa.

Director Roberta Durrant says the film explores identity politics and provokes a dialogue about heritage.

The feature film is a fictional story, which is inspired by historical fact.

Roberta Durrant, director of Krotoa

There's not much written down.

Roberta Durrant, director of Krotoa

We want to provoke debate, we want people to talk about it and look back. Not everyone will agree with the choices we made.

Roberta Durrant, director of Krotoa

Lead actress Crystal Donna Robert says she knew very little about Krotoa before she auditioned for the role.

I realised the seriousness of this role because she is such an important historical figure.

Crystal Donna Robert, lead actress in Krotoa film

At the same time, EWN's Monique Mortlock says the film is an important tool to spark debate and curiosity about cultural heritage.

Mortlock explains that the film has raised some important questions about representation, coloured ancestry and the colonial lens of history.

These are stories that don't get told enough in schools... Krotoa's story made me question my identity.

Monique Mortlock, EWN reporter

The women spoke about the research behind the film, the sympathetic portrayal of Jan Van Riebeek and other layered metaphors which the movie portrays.

Krotoa opens in local cinemas on Friday 4 August.

Take a listen to the engaging discussion:


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