Showmax has just dropped the trailer for Wyfie, a university drama premiering on 12 February 2023, with two episodes every Tuesday.
From multi-award winners Homebrew Films (Trompoppie, Magda Louw), Wyfie follows four mismatched first-year roommates at Pantera res at the fictional Eike university.
With SAFTA winner Johan Cronje (Wonderlus, Nêrens, Noord-Kaap) as series director, the R18 series stars Beata Bena Green (Arendsvlei, 7de laan) as Shay, Celeste Loots (One Piece, Trompoppie) as Amanda, Kristen Raath (7de Laan) as Kyla and Mienke Ehlers (Dinge van ‘n Kind) as Mia, opposite the likes of Adrian Steyn (Die Onderonsie, upcoming Showmax film Matilda & Matthys), Marguerite van Eeden (Vaselinetjie), Elzet Nel (Trompoppie), and Chelsea Thomas (Amber in Spinners).
Johan is joined on the directing team by first-time director Eva du Preez (a Silwerskerm winner and two-time SAFTA nominee as an editor, with credits like Kanarie and Trompoppie) and rising star Emilie Badenhorst (2023 Silwerskerm Best Short Film and Best Direction winner ‘n Doop om Stilte).
“University is a very interesting time in your life, during which you discover a lot about yourself and the world you are trying to tackle as an adult,” says Johan. “It’s a period of growing up where you begin to reconsider your own identity. This creates a beautiful space to explore stories of renewal and discovering life.”
For head writer Marcel Spaumer, Wyfie is also a celebration of the friendships you make as you move out of home and in with other people for the first time. “When you get to university, you make friends with people from all walks of life, and people you never thought you would meet,” he says. “And then these weird, amazing friendships develop.”
While Marcel expects Wyfie to be labelled ‘an Afrikaans Euphoria’, he says the writers’ room drew more inspiration from their own experiences of Afrikaans res life and university culture. “Many of the members of our writing team lived in the university koshuise like I did, so this is 100% where the inspiration for Wyfie comes from. It’s obviously fictional, but many of my experiences form part of the story, and many of the traditions we had in the dormitory – just transformed by bringing in just a little bit of the Wyfie culture.”
Johan’s always been intrigued by the traditions that surround universities, and especially koshuise. “It’s always fascinated me – how young people can become so addicted to and adoring of these traditions, as well as this new space they find themselves in.”
One of Wyfie’s big talking points is going to be its soundtrack, from 2023 SAFTA winner Peach van Pletzen (Ludik), featuring the last recorded songs from Angie Oeh, who tragically passed away from cancer in August 2023, aged just 24. The series is dedicated to her.
“Angie was the inspiration for the series’ title,” says Johan. “Having her as part of the soundtrack is incredibly valuable to me, sad and beautiful at the same time, because the music she and Peach created for Wyfie is haunting. It’s some of her last work ever, so I just feel very, very lucky that we can use her music in this series.”
“I knew that I wanted to make Angie’s voice a big part of the sonic landscape and identity of the series,” says Peach. “She is the original wyfie after all. Her first single’s title is Dis Jou Wyfie – it’s a song she wrote, recorded, and produced herself. The track has built up a cult following and is now a kind of anthem for the misfits. Angie made a bigger impact than people realise; the fact that the series is called Wyfie serves as a testament to that.”
“When Angie came to the studio and put the ideas on the mic, I could immediately feel that we were working on something special,” says Peach. “Angie’s voice is one of the most hauntingly beautiful I have ever recorded. Being able to work with Angie was a time that will stay with me forever. We lost her during the process, and there’s a lot of emotion around some of the music, and I had to finish most of it after she left. She left her voice with me and that is a great gift and honour for me. She was very proud of the work and so am I.”
“For me, Wyfie is a show of contrasts,” says Peach. “It’s loud and in your face, but also tender and soft. Almost like people at that age: you decide you know exactly who you are and find out how wrong you are when life starts chipping away at that student identity. It’s a microcosm and a bubble. I wanted to embrace the bubble and pop it too.”
“People should watch Wyfie because we weren’t afraid, because we weren’t shy,” says Johan. “I referred to it in pre-production as a story that should not be ashamed; it’s a very honest story and it’s not afraid to show university life the way it really is. I believe people want to recognise themselves on screen, and a lot of that comes down to you [as a TV creator] not hiding what life is really like. Anyone who has experienced res life will be able to relate to the story and characters of Wyfie.”
Wyfie is one of 20 Showmax Originals premiering in February alongside the relaunch of the new Showmax.