Duma is a 2005 American family drama adventure film about a young South African boy's friendship with an orphaned cheetah from a story by Carol Flint and Karen Janszen, set in the country of South Africa and based on How It Was with Dooms by Carol Cawthra Hopcraft and Xan Hopcraft. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Gaylord Films and C.O.R.E., directed by Carroll Ballard (director of The Black Stallion and Fly Away Home), produced by Gaylord Films, Warner Bros., John Wells Productions, Pandora Pictures, Stacy Cohen, E.K. Gaylord II, Kristin Harms, Hunt Lowry and John Wells, written by Karen Janszen and Mark St. Germain, edited by T.M. Christopher, cinematographed by Werner Maritz with music by George Acogny and John Debney and starring Alexander Michaletos, Eamonn Walker, Campbell Scott and Hope Davis. The film was theatrically released on April 22, 2005 by Warner Bros. Pictures, Gaylord Films and C.O.R.E.. The film went on receiving very positive reviews from critics and it earned $994,790 on a $12 million budget. The film won the Family Feature Film at the Genesis Awards in 2006. The film was rated PG for mild adventure peril. Duma was released on DVD on May 16, 2006 by Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Set in the country of South Africa, the story begins with a cheetah cub being orphaned after his mother was killed by lions. The cub is found on the side of the road by a young boy named Xan (Alexander Michaeletos) and his father Peter (Campbell Scott). Initially reluctant to take in a wild animal, Peter agrees to let Xan take care of the cub. They name him “Duma”, the Swahili name for “cheetah”. Over the years, Duma becomes a part of the family, being closely raised by Xan. As he nears adulthood, Peter and Xan decide to teach Duma how to run by having him chase alongside Peter’s motorcycle, which can barely keep up with him. But with Duma almost fully grown, to Xan’s dismay, his father tells him that it is time to take his friend to his real home before he grows too old to survive in his native habitat. His father says to Xan, “Duma has to live the life he was born to—or he’ll never be fully alive.”
Xan reluctantly agrees, but their plans must be put on hold when his father suddenly falls ill and dies and Xan and his mother (Hope Davis) must move to Johannesburg. Duma comes with them, which wreaks havoc on their life in the city. Xan’s aunt is terrified of Duma, who likes to sneak up and surprise her, and when Duma escapes and pays a disastrous visit to Xan’s school, the two of them must flee the city to keep Duma from being put into captivity. Not knowing where to go, Xan gets an idea—he’ll carry out the plan his dad had outlined, taking Duma home in the neighbouring country of Botswana, over the scorching Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, through the Okavango Delta and into the Erongo Mountains.
Xan begins to drive to his destination in his father’s old motorcycle, with Duma in the sidecar. After running out of fuel and water in the grasslands, they find some shade underneath a crashed airplane. There, they are confronted by Ripkuna (Eamonn Walker), a mysterious drifter on a journey of his own. While Xan isn’t at all that sure he can trust Rip, he agrees to go with him. Xan manages to turn the immobile motorcycle into a desert sailboat out of a parachute from the plane wreck, and Xan, Rip and Duma are on their way again, until they encounter the untraversable scrub brush of the Kalahari Desert and must abandon the motorcycle. While trying to find shelter, Rip is trapped in an abandoned diamond mine by a cave in, and Xan decides to leave him, as he suspects that he has been leading him to town instead of the jungle to sell Duma and collect a reward for finding him. However, when Duma is caught in a trap and Xan is knocked unconscious by a boar, Rip rescues both of them, having escaped the mine through a ventilation shaft.
Soon, they reach the Okavango Delta, where Xan is attacked by the deadly wildlife and the churning rapids of the Thamalakane River, but it’s too late for him to turn back now. Xan, Rip and Duma press through the Okavango, and finally the Erongo Mountains, on the border of Botswana and Namibia are in sight. However, once they get there, Xan is suddenly set upon by a swarm of tsetse flies. To protect him from their lethal bite, Rip huddles over Xan and is bitten by hundreds of flies. He soon develops sleeping sickness, and Xan takes him to a nearby village where he can be cared for. Later that night, outside the village, Duma is out on his own and starts calling out into the mountains. Duma finds another cheetah calling to him, and they bond rather quickly. It is never explained whether this is another male cheetah, or is in fact one of Duma's siblings. Xan hears this activity, and realizes that this is where he and Duma must part. Xan says goodbye to Duma, and Duma comes to Xan and says a final goodbye, and goes back to play with his new friend. Then Xan goes back to the village to Rip. Before the credits, it shows Xan being reunited with his mother and the film ends.Alexander Michaeletos as Xan
Eamonn Walker as Ripkuna
Campbell Scott as Peter
Hope Davis as Kristin
Mary Makhatho as Thandi
Nthabiseng Kenoshi as Lucille
Jennifer Steyn as Aunt Gwen
Nicky Rebelo as Coach Nagy
Garth Renecle as Hock Bender
André Stolz as Xan's Teacher
Charlotte Savage as Poetry Student
Ronald Shange as Policeman
Nadia Kretschmer as Tourist #1
John Whiteley as Tourist #2
Clive Scott as Tourist #3 - Eager Man
Catriona Andrew as Tourist #4 - Beautiful Woman
Errol Ballentine as White Haired Doctor
Michele Levin as Doctor's Wife
Sam Ngakane as Old Man in Village
Adelaide Shabalala as Medicine Woman, Suliwa
Thokozani Ndaba as Rip's Wife, Melika
Wright Ngubeni as Rip's Son
Bernard Msimang as Rip's Father
Ivy Nkutha as Rip's Mother
Anthony, Azaro, Nikita, Sasha and Savannah as Duma
Sheba as Young Duma
On August 5, 2002, it was announced that Carroll Ballard was hired and set to direct Duma based on How It Was with Dooms by Carol Cawthra Hopcraft and Xan Hopcraft. Karen Janszen and Mark St. Germain wrote the script for the film. Stacy Cohen, E.K. Gaylord II, Kristin Harms, Hunt Lowry and John Wells produced the film with the budget of $12 million for release in 2005. On September 7, 2003, it was announced that Alexander Michaletos, Eamonn Walker, Campbell Scott and Hope Davis joined the film. On January 2, 2004, it was announced that John Debney would compose the music for the film. The final score was co-composed by John Debney and George Acogny. Filming of the film was completed in Botswana and South Africa. On 11 January, Warner Bros. Pictures, Gaylord Films and C.O.R.E. acquired distribution rights to the film. The film was shot mostly in South Africa, though some of the film is set in neighbouring Botswana. One of the five cheetahs that stars in the film resided in Kragga Kamma Game Park in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa until its death in November 2011. There were five adult cheetahs: Anthony, Azaro, Nikita, Sasha, and Savannah, along with one Cheetah cub: Sheba.
George Acogny and John Debney scored the music for the film. The film’s soundtrack also contains “Rhaliweni (Railway)” performed by Sun Glen, “Share It With Me” written and performed by Ayub Ogada and Ishmael Pamphille, “A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich and You” written by Joseph Meyer, Billy Rose and Al Dubin, “Breakfast” written by Carl Stalling, “Kaboyi, Kaboyi (Woodpecker)” performed by Nana, “Just Having a Party” performed by the Fabulous Fantoms, “Umlolozelo A Lullaby” performed by Neo Muyanga and Brother Clement Sithole, “When You're Falling” performed by Afro Celt Sound System (as The Afro Celt Sound System) with Peter Gabriel and “Into the Light” performed by the World Beaters and Ayub Ogada.
Duma (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the film’s soundtrack album and film score made by Various artists, George Acogny and John Debney and it was released on November 8, 2005 by Varèse Sarabande. None of the first 9 songs below are on the Varese Sarabande release.Rhaliweni (Railway) - Performed by Sun Glen
Share It With Me - Written and Performed by Ayub Ogada and Ishmael Pamphille
A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich and You - Written by Joseph Meyer, Billy Rose and Al Dubin
Breakfast - Written by Carl Stalling
Kaboyi, Kaboyi (Woodpecker) - Performed by Nana
Just Having a Party - Performed by the Fabulous Fantoms
Umlolozelo a Lullaby - Performed by Neo Muyanga and Brother Clement Sithole
When You're Falling - Performed by Afro Celt Sound System (as The Afro Celt Sound System) with Peter Gabriel
Into The Light - Performed by the World Beaters and Ayub Ogada
Phiry - The Bird Songs
Cute Kitten Montage
Move to City
Duma Sees Crocs
Land Yacht Remix
Run to Village
Xan and Duma Say *Goodbye
Duma had tested badly and Warner Bros. planned to not release this film in the United States theatrically, but Scott Foundas wrote a rave review for the film in Variety and it led Warner Bros to reconsider. Warner Bros. finally gave Duma a limited theatrical release in the US.
Duma was released on DVD on May 16, 2006 by Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Duma went on receiving very positive reviews from critics; the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 93% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 61 reviews; Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 82 out of 100, based on 21 reviews.
The film made $870,067 at the North American box office and $124,723 in other territories, making its worldwide box office total $994,790, making it a failure at the box office.
The film was rated PG for mild adventure peril.Duma is played by six different cheetahs. All orphaned or poached cheetahs themselves, they were hand-raised in different parts of Africa.
"Some friendships are wilder than others"