The Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama Audience Award winner, Shepherds and Butchers, helmed by Oliver Schmitz and produced by Anant Singh, will open nationwide on the South African theatrical circuit on Friday, October 28th through Times Media Films.

Critically acclaimed and multiple award winning filmmaker, Oliver Schmitz (Life, Above All) helms the screen adaptation penned by Brian Cox.

The gripping court human drama is based upon the award-winning South African novel of the same name, by Chris Marnewick, a former advocate for the Durban bar who filled the pages of his book with meticulously researched factual information amassed from his years as a defense attorney for the condemned.

Academy Award® nominated, Steve Coogan (Philomena) heads up the cast in the role of Defense Advocate, John Weber, who is up against Prosecutor Kathleen Murray, played by Andrea Riseborough (Birdman), in an intense courtroom battle to save a 19 year old warden (played by up and coming South African actor, Garion Dowds) working on death row from his death sentence for murdering seven men. Other South African artists include Eduan van Jaarsveld; Marcel van Heerden; Deon Lotz; Robert Hobbs; Sylvia Mdanyelwa and Amrain Ismail-Essop.

Multiple award-winning, South African singer/song-writer, Vusi Mahlasela, who is dubbed “The Voice” performed the song “Angels” alongside Barry Gibb (of Bee Gees fame) who also composed the original song.

Shepherds and Butchers is produced by Anant Singh (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Brian Cox (Kite), and Greig Buckle (Chronicle), and is executive produced by Robert Naidoo, Sanjeev Singh, Sudhir Pragjee, Andrew Bonamour and Andrew Gill.

The creative production team includes Director of Photography, Leah Striker (Babel); Production Designer, Mike Berg (District 9); Costume Designer, Diana Cilliers (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), and is edited by Megan Gill (Eye in the Sky).

Singh commented that he is pleased that Times Media Films is giving the film such a wide release throughout the country. “We believe that Shepherds and Butchers is an important film for South African audiences as it has particular resonance of the damage done to an entire generation of South Africans, both Black and White, who, respectively, were forced to endure and perform horrific acts against their will in the draconian system of punishment of the apartheid regime. The film sets a platform for critical debate, on a global scale, on the issue of capital punishment.”