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Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story (2018)

Based on true events, Ellen tells of the troubled relationship between a mother and her drug-addicted son - a relationship that will eventually drive her to the edge and lead to his murder.... See full summary »


Daryne Joshua


Amy Jephta


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Credited cast:
St John Alexandre St John Alexandre ... Mr. Roos
Anray Aminsure Anray Aminsure ... Secretary
Clint Brink Clint Brink ... Adrian Samuels
Abbi Crail Abbi Crail ... Birdy
Jarrid Geduld Jarrid Geduld ... Abie Pakkies
Amrain Ismail-Essop Amrain Ismail-Essop ... Leticia Bailey
Ilse Klink Ilse Klink ... Judge. Von Dheman
Elton Landrew Elton Landrew ... Odneal Pakkies
Jill Levenberg Jill Levenberg ... Ellen Pakkies
Hurman Louw Hurman Louw ... Police Constable
Carmen Maarman Carmen Maarman ... Cheryl
Gershwin Mias Gershwin Mias ... Rifaat
Russel Savadier Russel Savadier ... Martin Yodaiken
Grant Swanby ... Pastor Abrahams
Liande Valentyn Liande Valentyn ... Constable Jonas


Based on true events, Ellen tells of the troubled relationship between a mother and her drug-addicted son - a relationship that will eventually drive her to the edge and lead to his murder. In 2007, the death of 20 year old Abie Pakkies created a stir in South Africa and the world. The most disturbing part of the case was that the murderer was his mother, Ellen. When advocate Adrian Samuels takes on the case, he is determined to prove that Ellen Pakkies had no choice. But what compelled her to stop seeking help? How does a mother become desperate enough to take her own son's life? Told across two timelines, Ellen is the harrowing account of a woman put through the penal system, tried for murder and driven by an unflinching love for her son. It delves into the inner psyche of a family ravaged by drugs in one of the most dangerous communities in South Africa. A scourge that extends beyond the Cape Flats and highlights a systematic failure to protect the poorest of the poor.

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Official Sites:

Official Facebook


South Africa


Afrikaans | English

Release Date:

27 January 2018 (Netherlands) See more »


Box Office


$650,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


Color (DCP)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

A piercing window into the psyche of drugs' effects
30 May 2018 | by Silver_and_CyanSee all my reviews

Well-acted, gritty, powerful, and authentic. Jill Levenberg's performance as Ellen was superb. Although she stars in the long-running soap opera Suidooster, this is Levenberg's first starring role in a feature-length film. Let us hope there will be more to come. Jarrid Geduld does a good job as Abie, the son whose use of crystal meth both destroys his own life and devastates his family. His role required considerable range, from normalcy to extreme emotion, and he delivered. Even the minor parts were acted well. As the judge, Ilse Klink conveyed feeling below the solemnity, and Elton Landrew was effective as a steady-helmed husband buffeted by disaster.

The Lavendar Hill neighborhood and the Pakkies' house itself was used for the filming, and the re-enacted murder was filmed in the room where the real murder took place, with great attention to detail and accuracy. The result is a gripping, immersing film well worth watching.

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