Bypass the movie: Behind the Scenes of Africa’s First Medical Thriller

Bypass, the movie that has everyone talking due to its controversial marketing, has resulted in a 40% spike in organ donation even before it hits cinema screens next week Friday, 12 May. This locally produced and directed medical thriller by husband and wife team Shane and Bianca Vermooten exposes the underworld of organ trafficking where the rich can buy the poor organ by organ.

 Bypass is the story of a cardiac surgeon, Dr Lisa Cooper (Natalie Becker-Aakervik), who saves lives on her operating table every day, but is absolutely powerless when it comes to saving the life of her only son, Sam. With only 2% of the country on the organ donor list, Sam’s chances of getting a liver transplant are overwhelmingly stacked against him. When the final hope of receiving a transplant is severed, Lisa faces the most difficult decision of her life; to wait for a donor organ that may never present itself or to bypass the institutionalised medical system. Her decision leads her right into the heart of conspiracy, danger and an international organ trafficking syndicate.


When asked about the story, Director Shane Vermooten says that the controlling idea ofBypass is that every life is of equal value. Lisa’s journey takes her on a path where that belief becomes very difficult to hold onto, especially when it is pinned up against the need to save her own son. When these two ideals collide, which one will win? Writer/Producer Diane Vermooten goes on to say: “We wanted to capture the dynamics of  what goes on in a mother’s heart when the decision she makes could mean the life or death of her child. We asked so many mothers what they would do if they had the choice to save the life of their child, and most said that they would do whatever it takes.”  As Becker explains: “The things we believe when we are far removed from a situation are often challenged when we find ourselves confronted with the issue. Very often we may surprise ourselves with the decisions we make.”


From the outset the team behind Bypasswanted to craft a story that creates social awareness and makes a lasting impression. This was fuelled by the realisation that there aren’t enough stories being told around the issue of organ trafficking. Actor Deon Lotz, who portrays Dr Wright, one of the surgeons at the New Day Clinic, adds: “Besides the sex trade and drug trafficking, organ trafficking is one of the biggest problems that we currently face in the world. I am surprised that more movies aren’t made about it.”


Perhaps one of the most poignant messages comes from actor Greg Kriek, who plays Martin Fischer: “Bypass is not just another movie – it gives you a slice of life and exposes the underbelly of an issue that is happening right under our noses.”


The national interest and conversation that Bypass has already managed to create is nothing short of amazing. This film, which boldly takes a stab at a subject many want to avoid, is a major step forward for the South African film industry. Bypass is a thriller that hits home and will keep audiences on the edge of their seats from the opening frame to the closing scene. 


If 90 minutes of thrilling entertainment isn’t enough to get you out of the house and into cinemas, then an added motivation is the fact that the team behind Bypass will give 10% of the profits made in cinemas to the Organ Donor Foundation. Don’t miss this opportunity from 12 May to be entertained while making a difference to society.


Moviegoers who are keen to catch Bypass on the big screen can visit Ster-Kinekor Theatres at the following shopping malls from Friday, 12 May:


* Gateway – Durban (The Open Door Crisis Centre will host a gala premiere on 13 May – tickets available from

* Sterland – Pretoria

* N1 City- Cape Town 

* The Zone – Rosebank, Johannesburg

* Tygervalley – Durbanville, Cape Town

* Cresta – Randburg, Johannesburg

* Baywest – Port Elizabeth

* Kollonade – Pretoria

* Cavendish – Claremont, Cape Town

* Eikestad Mall – Stellenbosch

Visit, to view the trailer, learn more about the film and sign up to become an organ donor.


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