South Africa

Ngoepe documentary-maker refutes exploitation allegation

2020-05-05 18:42
Gift Ngoepe (Gallo Images)

Brodje Wemboendja, a Congolese-born film director, has refuted South African baseball star Gift Ngoepe's allegation that his rags-to-riches journey to Major League Baseball has been exploited.

'Hope: One in a Billion' is a Netflix documentary chronicling how the 30-year-old became the first player from the continent to appear in the majors.

Ngoepe took to social media to implore viewers not to watch the film as he "was never told that it was sold to Netflix or any other streaming service".

Instead, he was under the impression that the footage would be sold to SuperSport.

However, Wemboendja explained that the broadcaster had only requested visual material for an insert to complement Ngoepe's appearance on former presenter Robert Marawa's show in 2017.

"We provided them with footage of about six minutes. Only a few shots of the insert came from the documentary itself," said Wemboedja, who's been based in South Africa for the past 20 years.

"Yes, the documentary could've been sold to SuperSport, but we used a distributor who marketed the film to various outlets. That's how our project ended on Netflix."

Ngoepe himself touted the film during the interview with Marawa.

"Whatever his reasons are for his statement on social media, I can't comment on that," said Wemboedja, who added he's an alumni of the New York Film Academy and became aware of Ngoepe's story during a visit to the USA.

"I wouldn't say I have any specific interests when it comes to projects. I'm a storyteller, so I'm drawn to any story that I believe is worth telling."

- Compiled by Heinz Schenk  

Read more on:    mlb  |  gift ngoepe  |  baseball


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