Tag Archives: Original Sin: My Son the Killer

South African crime doc set for Showmax

Thea Pretorius in Original Sin: My Son the Killer 

African streaming service Showmax has unveiled a crime feature documentary titled Original Sin: My Son the Killer.

Original Sin is a coproduction between Showmax, Bafta-winning UK prodco Rogan Productions and Electric Shadow Company in association with Red Earth and Combined Artists. The latter is the South African prodco behind the iconic investigative journalism show Carte Blanche and the Safta-nominated true crime series Strangers You Know.

The doc tells the story of South African killer Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren, who murdered his 25-year-old girlfriend Andrea Venter in front of her neighbours, security guards and CCTV cameras.

He then escaped authorities in South Africa and Brazil for years, assuming three identities and starting families with multiple women.

The story is told from the perspective of van Vuuren’s mother, Thea Pretorius, who was also a victim of gender-based violence. After initially helping him escape, Pretorius slowly had to come to terms with her son being a killer.

The doc’s director John Gutierrez said: “Every 63 seconds a woman becomes a victim of gender-based violence in South Africa. Before Andrea was murdered, she was hunted by Gerhard. She did everything that could be expected of her, including filing a restraining order and moving cities, but it wasn’t enough.

“Thea’s perspective is central. She’s asking herself how her little boy with a gentle spirit became a murderer, and what her responsibility is. Thea is both Gerhard’s mother and a survivor of gender-based violence herself, so she’s deeply conflicted.”

Original Sin is produced by South African Sarah Laita and Jay Taylor from Electric Shadow Company, and Mark Hedgecoe and James Rogan from Rogan Productions, while Jana Marx (Devilsdorp) serves as the editorial producer. Abacus Media Rights is in charge of handling international sales.

Laita said: “As a South African now living in London, this story is close to my heart. I was back in South Africa in 2020 during one of the lockdowns when I first heard about this story and was captivated by it. Beyond all its twists and turns, it’s a deeply moving family drama that shows how gender-based violence and femicide continue to be a deep problem not only in South Africa but around the world.”

Hedgecoe added: “Original Sin is a story that works on two levels. On the one hand it is the compelling account of a resourceful and clever murderer going on the run, and the authorities’ urgent efforts to track him down. But it also gives powerful insight into the many women who were his victims – most obviously Andrea, who he killed, but also his mother, Thea. It’s this that gives the story real depth.”

The doc premieres on MultiChoice- and NBCUniversal-owned streamer Showmax on March 22.

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