September 2nd, 2009
— Jesse-Leigh Elford
Jasyn from On Screen sat down and had an exclusive Q&A; with filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, lead actor Sharlto Copley who play’s “Wikus van der Merwe” and the other cast from District 9.
With all the hype surrounding D-9 we had to find out what went into this unique concept that is already being hailed a “masterpiece” and thus far raking in an estimated $38 million at the U.S Box Office. (opening week)
August 28th, 2009
— Jesse-Leigh Elford
ZoopyTV bought us this exclusive tour of the Cape Town Film Studios;
The Cape Town Film Studios is by the far the most ambitious film making initiative to grace African shores. Backed by Anant Singh (VideoVision) and Marcel Golding, the large scale studio complex will be on par with the biggest and best studio complexes on the world. With an escalating budget now reaching the 500 million Rand mark, the project hopes to change the face of the African continent by providing world class film making facilities that will allow for big-budget productions to take place throughout the year.
Zoopy met with the CEO for the Cape Town Film Studios, Mr Nico Dekker for an exclusive tour of the site. According to Mr. Dekker the first phase of the studios will be complete by March 2010.
August 28th, 2009
— Jesse-Leigh Elford
Scripting a short film
“A short film, like a short story, can’t waste any time. You need to give us your principal characters and establish their motivations immediately. There’s very little stage-setting before you get to the inciting incident and the ensuing complications.
The hero’s fundamental problem/challenge/obstacle needs to occur by the time you get to the 1/3rd mark. So, if your short is meant to be three minutes long, the big event needs to happen on page one. If it’s a 10-minute short, it happens around page three. It’s not that you’re worried about your reader getting bored before then — if you can’t entertain us for three pages, there’s a problem — but rather that if you delay any longer, your story is going to feel lopsided: too much setup for what was accomplished.
Beyond that, I wouldn’t worry much about traditional structural expectations. Funny almost always works better than serious for a short, because there’s not enough time to create the narrative movement you expect in drama. But there are exceptions. The Red Balloon for example. And I loved Walter Salles’ chapter in Paris, je t’aime, which was simply a sad rhyme.1
So think funny, or poignant — but only if French.
I’ve put the script for my 1998 short film God up in the Downloads section.2 It’s 30 scenes in 11 pages. A lot of story happens, quickly. But many successful shorts take the opposite tack: they’re essentially just one joke, fully exploited. Todd Strauss-Schulson’s Jagg Off is that kind of short, as are most of the SNL and Will Ferrell videos you’ve seen.
For the competition you’re entering, however, I’d be careful not to submit anything that felt too much like a comedy sketch. If I were a judge, I’d be looking for a script that doesn’t seem like it could end up on Saturday Night Live. (Or the British equivalent.)
Good luck!” - john august
John takes us through adaptations and picking projects in these videos from his personal blog. enjoy.
Its fascinating that most actors find the South African accent to be one of the toughest accents to deliver on screen. I personally feel that Tim Robbins takes the cake in “Catch a Fire.” There is always Leo’s role in “Blood Diamond” - you judge for yourself?
Danny Archer, a diamond smuggler played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the (2006) “Blood Diamond”
Blood Diamond: Leo’s gem of an SA accent!
“Finally Hollywood has brought through its ranks someone who can pull off a South African accent without getting laughed off stage. This has been a point of some concern for South Africans who have seen their lovely accent slaughtered in films like Lethal Weapon 2 and Mission Impossible 2.
It seems to always be racist villains that get lumbered with the task, that and cheesy action sequels. An exception was “the interpreter”, where Nicole Kidman, wisely stayed away from doing a “full blown” rendition and opted for a softer inferred accent. Even so it was still a little crap, and if Nicole Kidman can’t pull it off then who can. Remember she kissed Tom “alien lover“ Cruise with a straight face!.
Strangely enough, South African actors in Hollywood, never get to use their elusive and enigmatic voice in films. Arnold Vosloo was “the Mummy” in the “The Mummy” and would have been much scarier if he was Afrikaans. Charlize Theron, would have been far more believable as a serial-killer-lesbian, if she spoke like us.
Apparently Leo is the man we were waiting for. Leonardo Dicaprio, is the first to my knowledge that has managed to get the subtle guttural tones without it sounding parodic or just plain silly.
He also went one step further to mimic the “meat eating” body language of our fair nation. Our hats are off to him and he is welcome back any time. What is funny though is that American critics slated his accent as being too affected?” - from www.southafricalogue.com
Usually Hollywood movies about Africa and South Africa are a source of hilarity to local audiences as Hollywood tends to get so many details about this country wrong. Who can forget Joss Ackland’s atrocious “Afrikaans” accent as the villainous apartheid-era ambassador in Lethal Weapon II, for instance? Or that ornamental Nazi eagle in his office (come on, which Department of Foreign Affairs official’s office ever looked like that?) Or how about the Nazi-like paraphernalia adorning the podium as the celluloid Jimmy Kruger made his notorious “Biko died after a hunger strike” speech in Cry Freedom?
But what South African audiences usually find the most entertaining (or insulting, depending on your sense of humour) is when Hollywood actors attempt a Seth Effrikan accent. (One can only imagine how they have mangled other “ethnic” accents in the movies throughout the years then, particularly in all those movies featuring the poor Russians as villains!)
However, in Blood Diamond we’re happy to say that while DiCaprio doesn’t always get the accent right, he at least gets the character spot on. Or maybe the role was just well-written, as the screenplay at least seems decently researched with an eye for detail and an ear for the local tongue.
“Doos,” DiCaprio’s character murmurs when faced by an officious soldier, which had the audience I was with laugh appreciatively. DiCaprio has aged well enough to fit this role; no longer the fresh-faced boy star of Titanic, he is more credible as a tough action man than, let’s say, the soft-faced Colin Farrell in Miami Vice. Cynical and opportunistic, DiCaprio comes off like an boer seun Han Solo, spouting the sort of political incorrect dialogue one imagine a character like him would in real life.
Blood Diamond gets other things right too, mostly by casting local actors such as Arnold Vosloo and Marius Weyers as Afrikaner diamond smuggling heavies. One detail that is straight out of the Hollywood cliché rule book though is when DiCaprio’s character visits the Stellenbosch vineyards of his employers and there are machinegun-wielding heavies all over the place guarding it like one always sees with Columbian drug lords in the movies. Very unlikely. ”
Tim Robbins delivers a pretty convincing South African accent in the (2006) “Catch a Fire” where he plays “Nic Vos” an apartheid-era South African police officer.
Matt Damon is now responsible to deliver our Rugby hero Francois Pienaar’s Afrikaans accent - hopefully with the real rugby players’ lingo - in the upcoming film, where with Morgan Freeman they are to reprise South Africa’s World Cup victory in 1995.
Is Matt Damon rugby rugged? Whatever your answer, we are looking forward to seeing this time relived, as it marked the rise of a troubled South Africa guided by the unifying force of our nation’s father, Madiba.
It is clear that there is a lot of interest in the Red One camera in the local industry. Not only does the camera deliver on its promise of super high definition digital cinema but the ease of use and affordability of the camera should make it an irresistable option. Yet we’re finding that concerns over reliability and workflow are leaving many of our filmmakers anxious to give it a try. However, if top international producers and directors like Peter Jackson and Steven Soderbergh are embracing the technology, are we not perhaps missing the boat somewhat. A quick search on the net led us to High Definition Magazine where we found this encouraging interview with Soderbergh, director of the classics Oceans trilogy, Eren Brokovich, Traffic and the upcoming The Argentine & The Informant. Check it out.
Jim Jannard, founder and president of RED cameras revealed today more information about the use of RED cameras by Hollywood Director Steven Soderbergh: “In a very brave move, Steven Soderbergh has chosen to shoot ‘The Argentine’ and ‘Guerrilla’, starring Benecio del Toro, with RED prototype cameras. Soderbergh will shoot RED at full 4K resolution, REDCODERAW and record to Compact Flash.”
“This is the camera I’ve been waiting for my whole career: jaw-dropping imagery recorded onboard a camera light enough to hold with one hand. I don’t know how Jim and the RED team did it—and they won’t tell me—but I know this: RED is going to change everything.” Said Steven Soderbergh.
The prototypes are two generations newer than Boris and Natasha, the cameras Peter Jackson used to shoot “Crossing the Line” in New Zealand a couple of months ago.
The RED 18-55mm T3 (f2.8) CF lens and many RED accessories were also chosen by Soderbergh for these movies. Shooting begins in Spain July 24th.
The Forum will become a much needed online meeting place for film people from across a host of disciplines within the business. Why? Because film is the epitome of collaborative art - no collaboration, no art - and that means no movies.