This is a first look at “My Heritage, My Inheritance”, a fashion film for Laduma Ngxokolo’s knitwear brand MAXHOSA by Laduma released in time with the launch of the label’s new website. After his resounding success of the 2014 A/W Collection seen at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, and the brand’s recent expansion into womenswear and homeware, Laduma hopes the film will convey the concept behind his brand while at the same time showcasing the beauty and quality of his products. Laduma works tirelessly to preserve his beloved Xhosa culture through the contemporary fashion he designs. We spoke to him in an interview that was released on Friday about his increasingly successful journey, where he started and where he is headed.
The film was shot in one 22-hour day at Panavision Studios in Cape Town and is a collaboration with director TAKEZITO (Batandwa Alperstein) who shared more about the ‘making of’, “The film was shot in a studio using a black-out cloth for a backdrop. We didn’t have a huge budget so we had to stick to the simplest setup, without compromising the quality of the picture. We shot it on a RED Epic in order to get the beautiful detailed slow motion shots, especially for the stick fighting.”
Read our Q&A with TAKEZITO and Laduma below:
How did the two of you meet and decide to make a film together?
TAKEZITO: I first saw Laduma when he spoke at the 2011 Design Indaba. His Pecha Kucha, as part of the student talks, blew me away. The clarity of his vision, and the precision of his execution made me really proud to be South African, and of my own Xhosa roots. He really inspired me that day, and I vowed to work with him at some point in the future.
Fast forward to 2013 and I was looking for a film project to try my hand at directing. I was thinking about what to do, and that same night I bumped into Laduma at an art gallery exhibition, and I thought, “that’s it!”.
Laduma is planning to further his studies in London as soon as possible and I thought that the brand deserved a fitting tribute and send-off. He agreed and we just took it from there. This is my directing debut, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better project to start with.
What was the brief from the brand?
Laduma: I asked TAKEZITO to make a film that made the public think of my brand as a relevant messenger that carried culture to the modern times in a manner that is still relative to the present time and future. I want them to see it as ideology that
preserves the Xhosa heritage for the future. I want people to ultimately say ‘this is culture made by my people, that is modern and classic’ so they can treasure my items. I wanted something that would make my current patrons even prouder of their items and the brand, and for new people to understand the deeper meaning behind my brand.
Other than that, I just said, “make something dope”.
What is the concept behind the film?
T: The concept was simply to visualize Laduma’s vision in a way that captures the depth of the brand. It’s not often that a fashion brand has such a deep raison d’être and I wanted to go directly into the subject matter. The subject matter is, of course, related to the Xhosa tradition of initiation that brings boys into manhood, within the Xhosa society. This is a subject quite close to my heart so I also got a lot from the process of visualizing the message Laduma wanted to send.
Laduma’s intention with the brand is to help Africans feel proud of their culture in a modern and relevant way, not an antiquated way. He asks important questions like “how do we keep our culture alive in modern times?”. These are hard questions that I feel are important for Africans to answer and so I was happy to contribute to this narrative.
How does the concept meet the ideals of the brand?
L: I aim to preserve culture through contemporary fashion and this fashion film will immortalize my brand story forever. It shows people the rich and textured beauty of my culture, and it sheds a positive light on my culture and people, which is all I want to do. The film is all about the ideals of my brand.
Who did you collaborate with?
T: Graham Ward of Wardwide Music and Ross McDonald of Hey Papa Legend did the entire recordings, sound design and music composition for this project. These guys are the sh*t and I just love them. They put the cherry on top.
The dancers were from iKapa Dance Studio, which is a great company set up and run by Theo Ndindwa, who is motivated by very similar values to Laduma so he was a perfect fit.
The rondavel was built by my creative confidant, Karabo Makenna, and Cobus Engelbrecht, who skate and make all kinds of beautiful things together. They really blew us away with that piece of art department work.
This film would not have been possible without the hard work of Cherize Ross and Kent Satram who hustled to make it all come together.
Who stars in the film?
T: I chose Sakhu as the lead because we go way back and I just love his facial expressions. I knew that he wouldn’t need much directing. Also, his life story inspires me and I wanted to capture that energy in the film too. Also, purely aesthetically, his look is just strikingly beautiful. Lutho is just an all-round nice guy so we scouted him while he was waiting tables at Obz Café. Thembela is an up- and-coming model who a good friend recommended. Then my best friend, Thami, who helped a lot with the project, made a great cameo.
Production Company: The Visual Content Gang
Director: Batandwa Alperstein | @takezito | firstname.lastname@example.org
Producer: Cherize Ross | @sureeyes
Director of Photography: Kent Satram | @kaapstadkent
Editor: Zunaid Green | @zunaidtheeditor
Cast: Sakhumuzi Fonya, Lutho Kote, Themela Langa, Thami Mazana
Dancers: Yamkela Bambatha, Sibusiso Mfeketho, iKapa Dance Theatre
Choreography: Theo Ndindwa | iKapa Dance Theatre
Digital Imaging Technician: Christian Denslow
Lighting: Brent Sauls
Grip: Johan Schoeman
Production Assistant: Rozano Daniels
Art Department: Karabo Makenna & Cobus Engelbrecht
Music Composition: Graham Ward of Wardwide Music & Ross McDonald | heypapalegend.com
Colourist: Francesca Sevillano Barredo | 744digital.co.za
Studio & Equipment: PANAVISION – We are very grateful to Panavision for providing us with the facilities and equipment to bring our vision to life.
Additional: Simon Deporres | simondeporres.com; Costas Leather Shoes.