As the excitement mounts leading up to the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon 2016, something particularly unusual is taking place – real life and art are connecting on and beyond the river.
The upcoming Heartlines film, Beyond the River, was inspired by the true story of two of this year’s Dusi top contenders and previous champions, Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruikshanks. Not only that but one of the actors from the film, Paul du Toit will also be a contender in Dusi 2016!

Actor Paul du Toit, who plays Eddie in the new Heartlines film Beyond The River, is competing in the celebrity race of this year's Dusi marathon.

Actor Paul du Toit, who plays Eddie in the new Heartlines film Beyond The River, is competing in the celebrity race of this year’s Dusi marathon.

Actor, Paul du Toit (better known as Malan Koster in Binnelanders and who plays the character Eddie in Beyond the River) and Jason Brown, who served as the safety manager on the set of Beyond the River, partner up to take on the celebrity race at this year’s event.

Previous gold medallist, Siseko Ntondini will be paddling in Batch A with his new partner from KZN, Len Jenkins – and they’ve been slated as possible top 3 finishers in this year’s race. Owing to a shoulder injury Piers Cruikshanks was initially out of contention but thanks to a remarkable recovery, he will now be looking to gain his 11th gold medal with partner Jacques Theron.

The movie, Beyond the River, directed by Craig Freimond of Material and Gums & Noses fame, is inspired by Ntondini and Cruikshank’s true story which took place in 2013, when Ntondini, a relatively new canoeist from Soweto had the guts to ask Cruikshanks, a 9-times Dusi gold winner, to partner with him in the 2014 Dusi. What ensued was a year of exceptionally trying times, over and above the usual challenges of training for Africa’s meanest river race, whilst a close friendship and understanding of each other developed.

Says Cruikshanks, “It was a privilege to be partnered with such a phenomenal young man and as I taught him about the river, he taught me about perseverance and not giving up despite beyond imaginable circumstances.
Brett Austin-Smith, GM of FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon says, “We’re very excited to be associated with this film Beyond the River – it’s the first of its kind, as far as we know, and will give great exposure to the sport of canoeing and especially the unique event which is the Dusi.”
The story is brought to our screens by award-winning media NGO, Heartlines, together with years-long production partner, Quizzical Pictures.  The principal funder of the film is the National Lotteries Commission, with primary sponsors Discovery and Vodacom, as well as additional partners, AdReach, DTI, NFVF and KZN Film Commission. Without these committed partners, the telling of this exciting, proudly South African story would not be possible. The official charity of the film is Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Beyond the River is due for release in early 2017 and stars: – Grant Swanby (Long Walk to Freedom, Invictus, The Fall, Blood Diamond, Isidingo),
– Lemogang Tsipa (Black Sails, Forced Love, Homeland III, eKasi, Traffic!),
– Israel Makoe (Yizo Yizo, Gaz’lam,,iNumber Number, Z’bondiwe), and – Emily Child (Shirley Adams, Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa and Village Voices).

To stand a chance to win a pair of tickets to the official premiere, ‘like’ our BeyondtheRiverMovie Facebook page.
For more information, check out:
Instagram: @beyondtheriver_movie