In a country where people no longer stand up for what they believe in, where heroes and love only exist in Hollywood movies, two wannabe Superheroes have to find the strength within themselves to save the one place where they fit in.
Having had some time now to look at what is going in my own proverbial backyard I am happy to say its looking pretty damn fine. The roots of the trees are taking to their environments, new things are popping up all over the place and that elusive, yet all important “unique South African voice” is softly being heard. Over the next 24 months expect to see a fantastic array of pictures come to your cinema. You might be very surprised to hear how many of them speak with your accent!
This post is going really about one picture I had the pleasure of working on. I wrote a little blurb about it while shooting but thought it is worth a lot more when yesterday I went through my Flikr collections and found Superhelde amongst them.
A brilliantly funny film in the vein of Mallrats, Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and Bakgat. The producer of the picture, Danie Bester also the brains behind the Bakgat franchise as well as the owner of The Film Factory says he works a script for at least nine months before considering it plausible to shoot. In a Hollywood space this could be considered short but in our landscape to be able to pay a writer and invest that amount of effort and money into a script is rare! Obviously though it pays off.
The film follows a group of friends who hang out at a comic book store every day. The store is home away form home, a place where they can live in their imaginations, be themselves and read comics all the time. That is until JJ (son of JJ senior) goes on a mission to annex their beloved store and turn it into….you guessed it….a parking lot. Our characters quickly come up with some hair-brain skeems to raise enough money to buy it back. Alas, there are powers that be and secrets untold that keep them from their goal. The movie ends when….haha, seriously, you thought I was gonna tell you.
No my dear readers, I will only give you a taste of the plot for this picture is surely one you should go and watch. If you have young siblings (not too young though) take them along for the bright comic style wardrobe, fun sets and zany characters are all worth your precious R40. Having worked on this picture I can assure you though that it didn’t just happen. The team behind it worked damn hard for a long time to get the production standard up and make a film, not just a project. The shooting team, which very much include the actors where bound by the intensity of what lay before us and became very capable of problem solving along the way.
The writers, you probably know them if you are Afrikaans and own a TV, Ivan Botha and Andrew Thompson have know one another for quite some time having both starred in Bakgat. This is their first picture that they wrote together and what a great idea. Funny, engaging entertainment for an audience they know and understand. They are now writing a TV series together which promises to be another comedy but set in a slightly different part of South African culture. Together with first time director Stefan Nieuwoudt the three workshopped characters and plot points for months before principle photography started so the by the time the actors got on-set they knew what they had to do. Although Stefan’s first feature film directing job he took the bull by the horns and missioned through the quagmire of on-set stuff with brevity. On of my favorite moments was when, on a certain Monday morning, he came to me and said that he had watched ET again: “Three shots, Spielberg used three shots in a 5minute scene. Keep it simple thats what I have to do!”
This film was part of a three picture slate which included “Nigh Drive” and “Bakgat 2” and is considered the dark horse. Certainly not because of the exact content but rather that it is an unknown picture for a niche audience so the potential return is on the risky side. I guess that is why we all worked so hard to make it unique and as funny/spectacular as possible!
I will leave you with this:
Excerpt from GFC
Asked about what advice he would give to younger filmmakers, Danie Bester responds: “Hook up with a producer that shares your passion for telling stories. Stay absolutely focused on the fact that you want to become a narrative filmmaker. Be aware of the financial reality and try to be as conservative with the budget as possible and know your audience.”