Toorbos investigates the uprooting of a young forest woman during the time of thefinal forest dwellers in the South African Knysna forests of the 1930s. The film tells the story of Karoliena Kapp, a strong woman’s intimate connection with the tree heart of the forest, and how that becomes a stumbling block in her experience of the man she loves.


Elani Dekker as

Karoliena Kapp

Elani Dekker is equally talented as an actress and dancer.

In 2015, Elani got her first lead role in the feature film, “Jou Romeo”. She played Yvette Verwey in this romantic comedy. She also features as one of the main characters, Pizzaface, in “Vaselinetjie” a youth film based on Anoeshcka von Meck’s award-winning novel with the same title.Elani received a scholarship from The New York Film Academy and finished the Acting on Film Course at NYFA in July 2015 where she worked with artists from around the world.Willing to learn all aspects of her trade, Elani proved to be an asset behind the scenes while she worked as assistant production manager in 2015 on the set of “Sink”.

In 2018 she played the lead female character Lisa in the romantic film “Liewe Lisa”. Elani also made her debut in the 2018 season of “Binnelanders” as Monique, the sister of Dr Annelize Roux.In June 2018 Elani had the opportunity to work with Director René van Rooyen on “Toorbos”, Van Rooyen’s adaptation of renowned writer Dalene Matthee’s 2003 best-selling novel of the same name.

Karoliena Kapp

Karoliena Kapp is an only child of an unsympathetic mother who has had three men. Her father was killed by a streak of lightning while she was still young, causing her to accept the forest as her primordial gaurdian. Karoliena is beautiful, stubborn and free-spirited forest girl, who has a strong connection with the supernatural heart of the forest. She is also of the few girls, who had received schooling and it’s this wild-spiritedness and intelligence that attract Johannes Stander.

Stiaan Smith as

Johannes Stander

Stiaan Smith is a South African writer and actor for film and television. He has performed in numerous productions, including “Vir Altyd”, “Sy Klink Soos Lente”, “Wonderlus” and “Vuil Wasgoed”. He was also presented with the best actor award at both the Shnit festival in Cape Town, and the Hyperdrive Festival in London for his work on the independent short film “Preparation”. As a writer, Stiaan’s career began writing stage plays – performing at various festivals around the country. He garnered several awards along the way, including best debut production at the Innibos Festival. In 2016, Stiaan produced and wrote his debut feature film “Sy Klink Soos Lente”. He received the best original script award at the Silwermskerm festival in Cape Town for his work on the short film “Beurtkrag”. Later on, Stiaan also developed “Beurtkrag” into a stage play, which had a successful run touring the country. Stiaan then went on to co-create the television mockumentary “Hotel”. As a director and writer, he has received various nominations for his work on the show, including the Safta award for best writer in a comedy series. As an actor, Stiaan continues to perform in local film and television. His most recent work includes lead roles in various KykNET productions, such as “Toorbos”, “Bottervisse in die Jêm”, and “Meisies Wat Fluit”. Stiaan has gone on to accumulate writing experience as a staff writer on television dramas, and is currently in development on his next screenplay.

Johannes Stander

Johannes is a child of woodcutter stock, who freed himself from the stranglehold of poverty in the forest. Now a successful businessman in Knysna town he runs a shop and desires to grow and build his own legacy and status there. He has risen above his poor white background and as he falls in love with Karoliena, he wishes to transform her into a delicate towns lady and inspire her to build a better future for herself.

Ira Blanckenberg as

Meliena Kapp

Ira Blanckenburg receives her B.dram.hons degree at the University of Stellenbosch. As a professional theatre actress, she has roles in among others “Othello”, “Kat-en-muis-speletjies”, “Oom Anton By Die See”, “Pa” en “Drif”. During the 2018 Woordfees Ira debuts with her one-woman show, “Haal Asem”, which she wrote the text herself, and with Mari Borstlap as director. Ever since, the production has played to full houses at the Vrystaat Arts Festival, KKNK as well as Innibos. In 2017 and 2018, Ira and Waldemar Schultz tour with “Die Heel Mooiste Afrikaanse Gedigte” under the guidance of Juanita Swanepoel and receives a Woordtrofee nomination for this. In 2016, she’s assistant director for “Kristalvlakte” by Amy Jephta, and several of the players are nominated for festival and Fiësta awards. Recently, she directed Mike van Graan’s “Two to Tango” at the Grahamstown Arts Festival as well as the Hilton Arts Festival. As televison actess, she is remembered for her appearances in “Egoli”, “Binnelanders” and “7de Laan”. She appeared in “Die Byl”, “Boland Moorde 2” and in 2018 she plays the role of Bernice in “Suidooster” and has a role in “Fynskrif”. She also had roles in the short films “Vloeksteen”, “Toevlug” and “Sussie”. She is seen in Jozua Malherbe’s “Griekwastad” as the guardian. In 2018 and 2019 she is often the dialogue coach for the soapie, “Sbeoodelaar”. Ira has been involved with the ATKV Teenage Stage Competition as national judge and is the head of her own drama school, Stageright Drama, where she trains learners from grade 1 to 12 in Acting and Drama Techniques, as well as prepare them for eisteddfodd participations, competitions and many productions.

Meliena Kapp

Meliena is Karoliena’s mother, an unsympathetic, defeated woman, who after her husband’s death had become desperate to keep food on the table and educate her daughter. Once a proud woman, her husband had provided them with a good woodcutter’s home, after his passing she’s had to sleep with different men in order to survive. Religious, conservative, her biggest desire is to see Karoliena rise above the poverty that surrounds them.

Clare Marshall as

Miss Macmaster

Clare Marshall is an accomplished stage, feature film and television actress. She appeared as the leading lady in South Africa’s first ever TV drama “Ardell”. Her film work includes “Zulu Dawn” with Peter O Toole, Sir John Mills and Burt Lancaster. She also played Mrs Malaga in the Richard E. Grant movie, “Wah Wah” and appeared in director Clive Morris’s crime drama, “A Case of Murder” in 2004. Other film titles include “Cape of Good Hope”, “Hostage”, “Murphy’s Law”, “Purgatory”, “Burn Down”, and “The Keeper”.

Clare’s extensive TV appearances include “Miss Candida”, “Town Guard”, “People Like Us”, “Red Tape”, “Sinners” (Queen Victoria), “Egoli”, “Tropical Heat”, “Generations”, “Madam and Eve”, “Isidingo”, and “The Triangle” in which she portrayed the role of ‘Alice Sheedy’. She also appeared in the M-Net docudrama, “Feast of the Uninvited” directed by Katinka Heyns.

She was a founder member of Radio Today and was the first female voice to be heard on the station on its inception in 1996. Clare can be heard on Sunday mornings in the 8h30 slot. Clare was educated between India, England and what was then Rhodesia, and studied drama in the UK, and has won numerous awards for her theatrical work.

Miss Macmaster

Miss Macmaster is a cultured lady who has a townhouse, where she rents out a porch room and gives finishing lessons. A dear, yet strict English lady, manners and etiquette means everything to her. She has no understanding for the poor whites, but is kind-hearted enough to “rehabilitate” poor Afrikaners who show potential to transform into gentle townsfolk. She believes it her duty to aid Karoliena in cutting herself off from the forest and crossing the bridge to civilisation.

Ivan Abrahams as


Ivan Abrahams is a South African actor best known for his work in theatre, although he has acted in several television series as well, including a starring role in the kykNET drama series “Orion”, in 2006.

Ivan completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Cape Town. He also did a British Theatre Association acting and directing course.

His television roles include “Stray Bullet” on M-Net, “The Game”, “Generations”, “Heartlines” and “Forced Love”. His theatre work includes “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “The Tempest”, “King Lear”, “Macbeth”, “Antony and Cleopatra” and “Kanna hy kô hystoe”.

Abrahams was awarded an FNB Vita Award in 2000 for best leading actor for “Suip”.


Bothatjie is deeply connected to nature and the forest. Once a woodcutter, he has made it his life’s purpose to try replant the indigenous trees in the forest. For the past 15 years he had grown, in a small encampment outside his home, around 20 different indigenous species as a test to do so. He is Karoliena’s spiritual mentor and teaches her the values of empathy, patience and the power there is in their connection to nature.

Gretschen Ramsden as


Gretchen Ramsden was born and grew up in Vredenburg. She attended Panorama primary and Weston High School. She graduated with a BA degree in Drama and Theatre Performance at UCT in 2017. She started her professional career in her final year at UCT, where she played Evie in “Die Dans Van Die Watermeid” that was written by Amy Lekas and directed by Jason Jacobs. The production was performed at Baxter Theatre, Woordfees 2018, as well as KKNK 2018. She played the lead role in the adaption of Jolyn Phillip’s “Tjieng Tjang Tjerries”, Woordfees 2018. She played the role of Joannie and was directed by Jason Jacobs. She made her TV debut in the telenovela series “Arendsvlei” where she played Nicolene Arendse.


Hestertjie is Karoliena’s closest friend and comes from the poorest of woodcutter stock – the Veldmanspaaiers. Her mother has seven children and after Hestertjie, they were named “boetie” and “sussie”. Her family is crass, dirty and rude. In her desire for a better life, she sleeps around with older woodcutter men and falls pregnant.


Toorbos is set in the 1930s in the time of the final forest dwellers of the incredible Knysna forest. It tells the story of Karoliena, a young forest child who is born into poverty and raised in similar circumstances. She’s the only daughter of an unsympathetic and hateful mother. Her loving father dies when Karoliena is seven years old, after which she “adopts” the forest as her only guardian.

She becomes a smart and beautiful young woman who quickly attracts the attention of Johannes, a successful businessman from town who promises to take her away from her impoverished existence. Enchanted by him and the prospects of his life, she agrees to go to Knysna where she’s trained to become a respected lady.

But the town and forest are in stark contrast with each other. The forest is magical, mythical and spiritual. The town is centred around a selfish desire for money. When Karoliena realises that she has exchanged her precious freedom for a cage, it’s too late, and she’s petrified.

Our story follows Karoliena while she’s trapped between her love for the forest and the man she’s married to, while she tries to overcome the obstacles on her journey to decide where her place in the world really is.


René van Rooyen


René van Rooyen is a South African director and screenwriter, who graduated in Directing and Screenwriting from AFDA film academy in Cape Town. In 2012 she entered the kykNET Silwerskerm festival short film program, winning the Best Picture and Best Director award. In that year she established her production company Red Letter Day Pictures together with her husband Corné van Rooyen, which co-produced “Hollywood in my Huis” and “Vaselinetjie”, the 5th and 2nd highest local South African box office earners in their respective years. During this time she was selected to partake in the NFVF female filmmaker short film program to direct the 25 minute “Pathology”, which premiered at Durban IFF and directed the local film “Mooirivier”. She has since directed three primetime local TV drama series: Series director on “Alles Malan”, episodic director on political thriller “Fluiters” and series director on kykNET’s “Getroud met Rugby”. Most recently, she was co-writer of the pilot for “Trackers” – M-Net’s first high-end drama with CINEMAX and ZDF. Her feature as director and writer, “Toorbos” funded by Multichoice and the NFVF, was selected as one of 5 of 60 African projects to take part in the CTIFM&F Work in Progress program, where it won the postproduction award. It is set for cinema-wide release 1 May 2020. She is currently in development of her feature film “Vrees” and working on two television series for M-Net and kykNET.

André Scholtz


André has produced and co-produced more than 32 full-length South African features since 1976 and seven television drama and comedy series for the two national television networks in South Africa.

Five of the films produced were also released internationally.

His film “Meerkat Maantuig” was acclaimed at many film festivals.

2020 sees the release of his latest film “Toorbos”.

Dries Scholtz


In 2005, Dries started out in the industry as a production assistant on the television series “Dryfsand”. He quickly made a name for himself and worked on various television shows as the unit manager. These included: “Amalia”, “Andries Plak” and “Feast of the Uninvited”, with big directors such as Koos Roets and Katinka Heyns.

He worked his way into the film industry on productions such as “Mr Bones 2”, “Bakgat! 2” and “District 9”. After he successfully completed various projects as unit manager, Dries decided to become involved on a more creative level. With the help of Danie Bester, he created The Film Factory’s sister-company, FiX Post Productions. Thereafter he was the assistant producer on various Film Factory projects, such as “Wolwedans in die Skemer”, “Hoofmeisie” and “Bakgat! 2”.

With Dries’ experience in production and post-production, he decided to create “Ek Joke Net 1” with his partner, Danie Bester, and then produced and wrote “Ek Joke Net 2” and produced and directed “Agent 2000”.

As producer and director, Dries has a lot of insight into the local film industry, especially when it comes to the relationship between production and post-production. He was the line producer and post-production manager of the romantic adventure film “Pad na jou Hart” as well as the drama “Ballade vir ’n Enkeling”.

Together with his business partner, Danie Bester, Dries is busy making a huge impact on the local film industry.

Brendan Barnes


Brendan Barnes (SASC) is a filmmaker based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture Medium (Honours) degree in 2010 and quickly established a name for himself as a talented cinematographer.

Brendan has collected an impressive showreel of narrative work behind his name. With nine full-length feature films, three seasons of drama series, and multiple award-winning short films under his belt, he has successfully cemented his place as an accomplished long form cinematographer.

His portfolio also includes a superb selection of high-end commercial work as well as many music videos. Please visit www.brendanbarnes.com to view a compilation of his work.

Recently elected to the South African Society of Cinematographers, Brendan joins an impressive list of accomplished professional film makers.

Waldemar Coetsee


Waldemar Coetsee started his professional career in in the Film industry 15 years ago while studying at AFDA In Johannesburg by assisting on every student film he possibly could. With his father’s trusted Land Rover as company, and years of sleepless nights, he gained as much experience as possible.

After his studies, Waldemar advanced to set decorating on several international and national projects, such as “White Light”, “Tornado” and also the successful teen comedy “Bakgat!”. After his first break as HOD on set of the M-Net series “Innocent Times”, Waldemar has never looked back. Subsequently, he has been the production designer on 27 feature films and five television series.

He has also gained valuable experience as Art Director and Special Effects Technician on a number of commercials, TV, film, series and international projects (including “District 9”, “Mandela’s Gun” and “Meerkat Maantuig”). Waldemar has been nominated for four Safta and twe Silwerskermfees Awards (“Roepman”, “Room 9”, “Faan se Trein“, “Vaselinetjie” and “Meerkat Maantuig”) and received a Safta for “Faan se Trein”

His awards and nominations prove his definitive attention and eye for detail, as well as colour form and balance. Apart from his passion for period pieces, Waldemar is able to combine all these aesthetic elements with his myriad practical knowledge and experience. When he tackles a new project, his responsibility to portray stories visually to represent the nature of the stories interest.

Sulet Meintjies


While Sulet was busy with her Bachelor’s degree in performing arts technology, she started working on theatre productions in 2003 at the state theatre, such as “La Traviata” and “La Boheme”. She did her practical in Belgium and after returning continued in theatre as a dresser and costume assistant.

Through theatre she made connections in the film and television industry and soon started working on international productions such as “White Light”, “Invictus”, “Strike Back”, “Long Walk to Freedom”, “Blended” and “Avengers”.

At the same time she started designing for the local film and television industry and gradually left the theatre industry behind. She got her first Safta nomination and win for the television series “Bloedbroers”. She has since not only been designing for the local industry but also moved on to international co-productions.

Currently nominated for “An Act of Defiance”, she has also been nominated for a Silwerskerm award for “The Story of Racheltjie de Beer”. She’s designed over 30 productions, including theatre, film and television and worked on close to 70 productions. During this time she’s also styled around 40 commercials.

Ronelle Loots


A multi awardwinning editor, proud recipient of numerous Safta feature film and documentary awards and honoured with many festival awards for editing, including the recent documentary “The Boers at the End of the World”, Ronelle is currently completing a captivating doccie on the construction of the Zeitz MOCAA site at Cape Town’s historic Waterfront grain silos.

Her extensive filmography includes several notable productions, including, “Four Corners”, “Master Harold and the Boys”, “U-Carmen eKhayelitsha”, “Forgiveness” and “Paljas”.

At the end of 2017, Ronelle completed the final cut of Wanuri Kahiu’s Kenyan film “Rafiki”. While banned in its home country, it is the first Kenyan feature film to be invited to Cannes Film Festival as part of the Official 2018 Un Certain Regard selection.

It was also selected as the closing film for the 2018 Durban International Film Festival.

TheWorkRoom Audio Post


TheWorkRoom is a multiple Emmy award-winning audio post-production facility situated in the Cape Town CBD, South Africa. They are a passionate and dedicated team of sound engineers who work collaboratively to craft award-winning soundtracks for feature film, television, cinema and radio commercials. They are a creative bunch with an impressive aptitude for sound design, music composition, voice casting and directing. They are also technically fluent in sound effects recording, sound design, mixing in 5.1, 7.1, or Atmos™ and ADR, Loop Group and Foley recording.

TheWorkRoom boasts an impressive list of prestigious credits for film, television and radio, including 4 Emmy nominations with 2 Emmy awards for “Outstanding Sound in a Series” (2014 & 2016), 2 Cinema Audio Society (CAS) nominations for “Outstanding Sound Mixing” (2015 & 2018), Grand Prix-winning television commercials (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013) and several Cannes Lion-winning radio commercials (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), amongst others.

Andries Smit


Cape Town bred Andries Smit started his musical journey at a young age, learning to play the piano, guitar and eventually settling on drums. Being involved in various musical projects throughout his life, he found his passion for orchestral arrangements.

Wanting to explore this further, he signed up at City Varsity where he graduated in Production and Arrangement in 2010. After working in one of Cape Town’s top studios, he found a welcoming home at Pressure Cooker Studios.

Here he continues to develop his craft as composer, with the help and guidance from the best in the industry. Since joining the Pressure Cooker team, Andries has worked on various adverts, documentaries, television series and films.

Some project highlights include “Toorbos”, “Susters”, “Vagrant Queen”, “Supa Strikas” as well as the upcoming Triggerfish animation film “Seal Team”.



Elani Dekker – Karoliena Kapp
Stiaan Smith – Johannes Stander
Ira Blanckenberg – Meliena Kapp
Clare Marshall – Miss Macmaster
Ivan Abrahams – Bothatjie
Gretschen Ramsden – Hestertjie


Directed by: René van Rooyen
Produced by: André Scholtz en Dries Scholtz
Written by: René van Rooyen
Director of Photography: Brendan Barnes
Edited by: Ronelle Loots and Dries Scholtz
Production Designer: Waldemar Coetsee
Wardrobe: Sulet Meintjies
Sound Designer: The Workroom Audio Post
Sound Mixer: Byron Meyer
Music: Andries Smit
Stills photographer: Danah Spies
Production Company: The Film Factory

Financial Support from
NFVF (National Film and Video Foundation, South Africa);
Department of Trade and Industry South Africa, M-Net

Contact Details


Andre Scholtz: krisan@icon.co.za
Dries Scholtz: dries@thefilmfactory.co.za
072 221 6628


Tel: 011 678 1111
Publicity: Rachelle Crous Publicity
Rachelle Crous: 082 084 6724 / rachelle@rcpublicity.com

Social media

Facebook: @toorbosfilm
Instagram: @toorbosfilm

Publicity Photos

All photos on set taken by Danah Spies.
Publicity photos and design by Fathom Media www.keyart.co.za
Media pack design: Israel Holtzhausen from Fathom Media