Neil Sandilands is a South African actor best known for his role as deli owner Bart Kruger in the SABC2 soapie 7de Laan, from 2000-2005 (and again in 2007, when his character was killed off).
Sandilands was born in Randfontein, South Africa, on the 1st of May 1975. He began performing in elementary school in various revues, operettas and drama competitions and was known for his impersonation of musician David Kramer.
At 14 he landed his first lead role in the television production Meester, directed by Annie Basson. He next starred in Konings (1991) and was a presenter for one of M-Net's educational shows. M-Net later sent him to New York to document the One Child One World congress.
Post high school Neil set his own course to discover the world as a Rotary exchange student. Upon his return he pursued a BA in Communications at the Rand Afrikaans University, where he produced and performed his own plays.
One of these plays, Noir, garnered Vorentoe High School second place at the ATKV National Play Festival.
As Neil's reputation grew he was sought for a role in what was to be his first professional theatre production, Women, Wives & Witches (Chekhov). He also starred in the youth series Carpe Diem (1995) and rounded off his University days with awards in most all of his studies and honorary colors for his contribution to culture at the University.
In 1997 Neil traveled the globe again and a year later he was back in the thick of a new experience in South Africa, namely the short film genre, sponsored by M-Net. Neil took the title role in Red Meat.
He later produced his own short film in collaboration with Vita Award Winner Jo Ractliffe, entitled Entre Nous.
2000 saw him back in front of the camera in Soutmansland and on stage in Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight.
In the same year he joined the cast of the SABC2 soapie 7de Laan, as the deli owner Bart Kruger.
Two years later he received a Fleur du Cap Award for his portrayal of Guy in Kevin Ellyott's stage play My night with Reg.
Neil crossed the great international divide with his portrayal of Rijkhaardt Jacobz in Proteus, a controversial art-house movie directed by John Greyson.
2004 brought the opportunity to star as the lead Vince Bates in Bobby Heany's remake of the 80's classic Saturday Night at the Palace from the pen of Paul Slabolepszy, performed at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town.
In 2004 and 2005 he was nominated as the Best South African Actor for the People Crystal Award (People's Choice Award), as well as the Prism Best Actor Award (alongside Colin Farrel, Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley) for Proteus.
In 2005, as part of the 7de Laan cast (appearing in more than 1,000 episodes), he completed a run at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival playing the lead in the farce The Unvarnished Truth/So Waar As Vet.
Neil bid 7de Laan a farewell during September 2005 and immediately started production on Deon Meyer's internationally acclaimed novel Orion, under the direction of Gerrit Schoonhoven. Neil portrayed the protagonist Zatopek van Heerden on whose life the book is based.
The series was voted Best Drama and Neil received the nod as Best Actor by the newspaper Beeld in 2006.
Orion also gave Neil the opportunity to source the soundtrack and to direct segments of the series. He was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Zatopek van Heerden by the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereninging.
He returned to theatre with Hedda Gabler (by Henrik Ibsen) at the National Arts Festival and Faan se trein at the West-End theatre in Pretoria. He also joined forces with musicians Salmon de Jager and Jan Blohm for a poetry/music collaboration entitled Droogland.
Two music videos, Groentrui (Jan Blohm) and Breinskade (Neil Sandilands) were produced, directed and edited by Sandilands that same year. Groentrui was voted the number one music video position on Afrikaans music channel MK89.
He also produced the compilation CD Orion, featuring works by South African musicians Rian Malan, Riku Latti and Jan Blohm, to name a few.
In 2007 Sandilands starred as Machiel Hansen in the controversial drama Festen/Celebration brought to the big screen by Danish filmographer Thomas Winterberg. This play was produced by Hennie van Greunen and directed by Heinrich Reisenhofer for the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival and was consequently booked for all the other major South African Festivals.
Again Sandilands was nominated Best Actor. While in Cape Town, he joined forces with Ollie Viljoen, Valiant Swart, Albert du Plessis and Johan Badenhorst to compile the DVD of a new Valiant Swart project Vuur en Vlam, recorded at Sunset Studios.
A music video for the blind South African balladeer Bacchus Nel was conceptualised and produced by Sandilands, as well as Jan Blohm's first full length live DVD.
Both projects (Vuur & Vlam and Groentrui) went on to win Tempo Music Awards in their respective categories – best traditional and rock album. Both these DVDs were also nominated for South African Music Awards.
In 2007 he returned to 7de Laan for a final goodbye to his character Bart Kruger. He then advanced to a period drama commissioned by M-Net entitled Feast of the Uninvited, where he collaborated with veteran director Katinka Heyns and acclaimed South African playwright PG du Plessis.
The mini-series was screened in South Africa in early 2008. Critic Emile Joubert singled out Sandilands' portrayal of the cowardly Daantjie as a personal highlight.
KykNET employed his services as producer and director for a 19-part documentary series about the theatre, television and film industries in SA entitled Impresario. During 2008 Sandilands also received his American Green Card as an extraordinary ability alien.
His new focus is to work between the two continents. He spent four months in Los Angeles and returned to South Africa to complete post-production for Impresario, while also appearing as a guest star in the M-Net soap Binnelanders (which became Binneland: Sub Judice in 2010), as the villain PJ Bellingham.
In July 2009 he performed the lead in veteran writer Chris Barnard's play Taraboemdery. The play was commissioned by the Inniebos Arts Festival and was also part of a tribute to Barnard, the author.
Taraboemdery received the award for the Best Artistic contribution and was consequently booked for the National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn, 2010.
2009 continued with Sandilands collaborating with powerhouses Deon Meyer and Darrell Roodt - Oscar Nominee, Yesterday 2008 - on the film Jakhalsdans. Not only did Sandilands perform the support lead Le Fleur opposite South African musician Theuns Jordaan, but he was also 1st Assistant Director and Production Coordinator.
MIA films of Cape Town, South Africa called upon Sandilands to guest star their short film Thanks Dad, by director Hein de Vos.
Jakhalsdans premiered in theatres in South Africa in April 2010. Leon van Nierop, film critic, described Sandilands' portrayal of the village handyman Dawid le Fleur as "the heart of the film".
Also in April 2010, Sandilands and Albert Maritz receives the ATKV award for the production Impresario in the category Best Documentary.
Sandilands started production on a documentary about legendary Afrikaans singer/songwriter Anton Goosen during April and returned to the United States in June 2010 to complete post-production and pursue his acting career in Los Angeles.
Neil has appeared on the cover of most of South Africa's leading magazines. He has been written about in newspapers and documented on numerous television shows.
In 2017 Neil was cast as Clifford DeVoe, The Thinker, the main villain on the fourth season of The CW and DC's superhero action series The Flash.