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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.