Meg Rickards

Tess is twenty and a sex worker in Muizenberg, a coastal suburb of Cape Town. She gets through day-to-day life on the margins of society on a diet of pain killers, alcohol and dry humour. But when she unexpectedly falls pregnant, she tries to overcome the obstacles in her path to fight her way out of her depressing and all too often dangerous lifestyle. Meg Rickard’s adaptation of Tracey Farren’s novel Whiplash uses a hand-held camera to produce subjective images and a raw, unique aesthetic, enabling the audience to share first hand the character’s feelings generated by her violent experiences.

»I read [the novel] Whiplash and became besotted by the uncannily real main character, Tess, and by her journey. (…) The source material is riveting in conveying Tess’ internal thoughts and memories, and so the challenge was to find cinematic ways of getting under Tess’ skin through performance, visuals and sound. The novel is gut-wrenchingly explicit, and likewise, I didn’t want the movie to sanitize Tess’ experience in any way. It’s famously said that a woman born in South Africa has more chance of being raped than of learning to read. Child abuse and rape are terrifyingly ubiquitous. So much so that the stats are difficult to digest – and we remain numb. I wanted to make a film that confronted the raw reality of sexual violence in a way that was in your face, impossible to ignore or intellectualize.«
– Meg Rickards

Awards for ›Tess‹
Best South African Feature Film & Best Actress (Christia Visser) & Best Editing (Linda Man) – Durban International Film Festival, South Africa 2016


Meg Rickards


Tracey Farren


Bert Haitsma


Linda Man


Barry Donnelly


Christia Visser, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Brendon Daniels

Production / Contact

Boondogle Films, Paul Egan, Kim Williams

Portrait der Regisseruin Meg Rickards

Meg Rickards

South African film-maker and screenwriter Meg Rickards studied at the University of Cape Town, gaining her doctorate in film studies in 2007. Her documentary film 1994: The Bloody Miracle won her the Audience Award at the 2014 Durban International Film Festival. Her 2008 television film Land of Thirst has been translated into several languages as a TV mini series.

Films by Meg Rickards
1994: The Bloody Miracle 2014 | Land of Thirst 2008