Forthcoming: a movie about pioneering South African heart surgeon Chris Barnard


A movie is being made about Dr Christiaan Neethling Barnard. He was a pioneer in the medical field, performing the world’s first heart transplant in the 1960s.

Movie about Chris Barnard
A movie is in the works to chronical the success of Dr Christiaan Barnard, the South African who performed the world’s first heart transplant in 1967. (Image: Barnard, the movie, via Facebook)

Compiled by Priya Pitamber

The world’s first heart transplant took place in South Africa in December 1967, performed by Dr Christiaan Neethling Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. Fifty years on, his momentous achievement is being turned into a movie.

Barnard’s feat put the South African medical fraternity on the map for all the right reasons and with the movie, his story will reach a wider audience.

Christiaan Barnard
Heart surgeon Dr Christiaan Barnard participates in an international congress on the origins of sudden death and resuscitation therapies in Florence, Italy, in January 1969. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The story

Karoo Films, a South African company, is shooting the movie. “[It is] based on the tumultuous events leading up to the completion of the first heart transplant complete with all the pain, drama and personal victories which came with it,” reads the official movie website, Barnard Film.

“We had multiple scripts,” film producer Robert dos Santos told news website Times Live. “[Barnard’s] life was so interesting that it became too much for any single screenplay so we decided to focus on the period around the transplant. It was the most tumultuous period of his life.”

Shooting will begin on location in Cape Town in September. No decision has been taken regarding who will play the lead role. However, the movie will feature English and Afrikaans.

Listen to an interview with director Byron Davis on talk radio 702.

Source: Times Live

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