The film Heartlines, first called Grace, was the pilot episode of the set of eight films and was written by the series head writer, Michéle Rowe. The feature length version of the script was revised by Catherine Muller and Angus Gibson in late 2005/early 2006. The film was shot in various locations, including in the township of Alexandra, the suburbs of Orchards and Parkview, and the Moderbee Correctional Facility.
In Alexandra, the production was assisted by residents of the township, who acted as extras (all cast through Lihle Casting Agency based in Alexandra), as did a group of inmates at the Moderbee facility. Most of the actors in the film come from Alexandra: Mpho Molepo, who plays Jacob, and Mduduzi Mabaso, who plays Jabulani, both started their careers in theatre groups in Alexandra. Bongani, who plays Zweli and Glen, who plays a thief in the prison, are also from Alexandra.
Leanne Liebenberg was assisted by two stunt-men, Lucky Motshwene and Alfred Sindane, and choreographed several fight-sequences, including a boxing match between the film’s lead, Mduduzi, and Niro, played by Hassan Masia. Also involved were stunt driver, Robbie Smith, boxing instructor, Manny Fernandez, and personal trainer, Andile Mxakaza.
Music was an important element in the film, which features the voices of Alexandra Township choirs, the Johannesburg University Choir and the Moderbee Correctional Facility Choir. Zwai Bala assisted the production as Choir Director.
- Running Time: 1h36
- Release Date: 2006
- Rating: PG13
- Genre: Drama
- Language: isiZulu, seSotho, English, isiXhosa
- Director: Angus Gibson
- Cast: Winston Ntshona, Mpho Joseph Molepo, S’thandiwe Kgoroge, Mduduzi Mabaso, Obed Baloyi
- Written by: Michéle Rowe, Angus Gibson
- Editor: Catherine Myburg
- Director of photography: Dewald Aukema
- Awards: Winner of a Special Recognition Award at the New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival; Houston World Fest winner of a Remi Creative Award; Durban Film Festival winner of Best South African Feature Film; Baja California Film Festival in Tiajuana, Mexico winner of Best Feature Film; winner of a Special Jury Sony Digital Cinema Award at the Skip City International Digital-Cinema Festival in Japan; winner of Best Dramatic Feature at the Byron Bay Film Festival in Australia; SAFTA Golden Horn Award for Best Made-for-TV Movie. The film was screened at the 2008 San Diego Black Film Festival in California, Byron Bay Film Festival in Australia, ReelWorld Film Festival in Ontario Canada, Afrykamera Festival in Poland, House of World Cultures in Berlin and Cambofest in Cambodia
Heartlines can be bought as part of the Heartlines 8 films – 8 values set.