18 September 2023
Watch the trailer for Boetie Boer: Inside The Mind Of A Monster
Showmax has just released a spine-chilling trailer for Boetie Boer: Inside The Mind Of A Monster, the most disturbing Showmax Original true-crime series to date.
Boetie Boer takes us back in time to 1990: as the African National Congress is unbanned and Nelson Mandela is released after 27 years in prison, Stewart ‘Boetie Boer’ Wilken starts his killing spree in Port Elizabeth, now Gqeberha. As journalist Brett Adkins says in the trailer, “When he was arrested, it sounded like something out of a movie. Suddenly we had a serial killer.”
“Wilken was a highly unusual serial killer,” says director Jasyn Howes, who won Best SA Short Documentary at Jozi Film Festival for Dula. “Unlike most serial killers, he had more than one type of victim: predominantly female sex workers and young boys, usually street children, across multiple races. He also claimed to engage in necrophilia and cannibalism with his victims.”
In the unsettling trailer, Wilken openly discusses his crimes with Dr Gérard Labuschagne, the former section head of the Investigative Psychology Section of the South African Police Services. “Labuschagne gave us his recording of just over three hours of Wilken sharing, in his own words, everything he’d done,” says Howes. “Wilken had been in prison for eight years at the time of that interview, and was already sentenced to life behind bars, so he had no obvious reason to hide anything.”
Watch the trailer for true-crime series Boetie Boer: Inside The Mind Of A Monster
Wilken’s version of events is balanced by interviews with the Child Protection Unit investigator Sergeant Ursula Barnard and Sergeant Derick Nosworthy of the Murder and Robbery Unit, who both played key roles in bringing Wilken to justice. In addition, Howes interviews the family of one of Wilken’s victims, Georgina Zweni, and Wilken’s own surviving children, Sonika and Sergius.
The 90s were also the era of the ABC Killer, Moses Sithole, and the Station Strangler accused Norman Simons, who was released on parole in July 2023. So despite committing at least seven murders, Wilkens didn’t receive as much coverage as you’d expect.
“At the time of his murders, Wilken’s case went largely unnoticed in the rest of the country as there were higher profile killers on the loose at the same time,” says Howes. “There is little to no video or radio archive, although there was more newspaper coverage. So we had to lean into recreations to bring the story to life visually. I’ve been impressed by documentary series like Wormwood that have really tried to move the true-crime genre into a new space, blurring the lines between documentary and narrative filmmaking, so this gave us an opportunity to elevate the genre locally and give the audience a more cinematic viewing experience.”
The five-part documentary series is a co-production between Stage 5 Films and Howes’ Fifth Floor Films. It’s the third documentary, and first true-crime docuseries, from Stage 5 Films, building on the success of Unearthed, which won the Green Award at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the Audience Award at Encounters, and The Journeymen, which took home Best SA Documentary at Durban. Stage 5 Films’ impressive track record includes Student Oscar winner Lakutshon’ Ilanga; Canneseries selection The Dreamer – Becoming Karen Blixen; Berlin selection Liberty; South African Oscar entry Noem My Skollie; Best Short Film SAFTA winner Apocalypse Now Now; and Five Fingers for Marseilles, named Best Film at the African Movie Academy Awards.
Boetie Boer premieres exclusively on Showmax on 18 October 2023, with new episodes on Wednesdays. “Even if you are over 18 and a fan of true-crime documentaries, we strongly advise viewer discretion,” says Allan Sperling, executive head of content at Showmax. “This is not for sensitive viewers, especially hearing the description of the crimes in the killer’s own words.”
While you wait for Boetie Boer, catch up on the best South African true-crime on Showmax, including the record-breaking Rosemary’s Hitlist and the 2022 SAFTA-winning Devilsdorp; and Girl, Taken, the story of Zephany Nurse, which is up for Best Documentary Feature and Best Directing SAFTAs later this month.
Boetie Boer is not suitable for sensitive viewers or anyone under the age of 18. Stream Boetie Boer from 18 October 2023, only on Showmax.
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