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METAMORPHOSIS is a 52-minute documentary exploring the life of one of South Africa's most outrageous characters directed by award-winning director Luiz DeBarros and produced by Underdog Entertainment.

When Leonard Christian Du Plooy was born on the 18th of March 1919 to a mixed race ("coloured"), working class family he embodied all the contradictions of a country ruled by racism and hypocrisy. The first part of his life was spent in his hometown of Kimberley and then Durban as a teacher. Then he changed his mind (and his skin colour).

In his fifties, he moved to Johannesburg and proceeded to become the city's most famous club-goer and drag queen. Due to a skin condition he was now able to pass himself off as white, which held many advantages in Apartheid South Africa.By outfitting himself with outrageous costumes, feather boas, heavy makeup and a retinue of young admirers, the pensioner transformed himself and became "Granny Lee", Queen of the Discos. In death Lee continued to flaunt the rules, mistakenly being the first non-white buried in a"whites only" Johannesburg cemetary.

The documentary is very much about the notion of "created identity" - how Leonard Du Plooy created a new persona, gender and even race, making the legend of Granny Lee a living, breathing reality. South Africa, a country historically obsessed by definition of Identity, is a unique landscape in which to find a story such as Lee's.

Metamorphosis tells the story of Granny Lee through a variety of techniques. Firstly Granny Lee herself narrates her life story - based on an audio interview recorded shortly before her death. It is through Granny Lee's own unique perspective and wicked humour that we embark on our fascinating journey.

Secondly, Granny Lee's friends and acquaintances as well as the key players in Johannesburg's party scene share their experiences with and stories of Lee with us. Recreations will also reproduce key events of her life as well as the thriving clubland of the sixties, seventies and eighties (loaded with memorable and outrageous imagery). We explore the landscapes of Lee's life, Kimberley and Durban, as well as highlighting the city where she finally found herself - Johannesburg.

Lastly, Metamorphosis makes use of a vast amount of archive material - video footage, photographs, newspaper articles and the actual audiotape of her final farewell. Underdog's award winning work is renowned for its dynamic and creative production values and Metamorphosis will be no different. It will combine a mix of media including archive home video footage and upper-end digital video formats. Underdog Entertainment anticipates submitting Metamorphosis to the global festival circuit to promote the project internationally.

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Ruth Barter plays Granny Lee\

© Underdog Entertainment 2000