Hanneke Schutte’s ‘Saving Norman’ | Jameson First Shot winner 2013
We’ve got short film on the brain! In a few days we’re headed to Los Angeles for the premiere of the 2015 Jameson First Shot winning short films where Mark Middlewick will be representing South Africa with his film ‘The Mascot’ starring Adrien Brody. We’ll also be hearing and revealing which big name Hollywood star will be the subject of the 2016 contest. And not long after this will come the call for 2016 entries.
We’ve compiled a list of just a few favourites of the fantastic short film works being produced in South Africa, in the hopes that they bring with them the inspiration to write and make your own. Perhaps you’ll be the next to be flown to the States to bring your vision to life with the help of Trigger Street Productions.
Our list strays somewhat from the traditional short film script with the inclusion of documentaries, music videos, fashion and fine art pieces and a brand film or two. At the very least we hope it’s entertaining weekend watching.
After being abducted from a marketplace as a child and forced to kill, Jose had a vision in a dream one night and made the radical decision to risk almost certain death to act on it. He shares his remarkable story in this biopic directed by Dave Meinert of MacDuff Films, which aims to foster a dialogue about the effects of war.
Mitch Stratten is a South African filmmaker. His video art project, OCP (Orifice Conditioning Plate), combines a surreal narrative with a visual language that he describes as “strangely familiar”. The accompanying soundtrack, which Mitch scored himself under his music moniker ‘Nodern‘, is intended to create a specifically immersive experience for the viewer.
This heart-breaking short film by director Jolynn Minnaar and producer Dylan Voogt (Stage 5 Films), made script-to-screen in just 72 hours, was named the winner of the 2014 shnit Real Time Competition. In it, the charismatic Mr Basil Twine talks tenderly about his beloved wife Valma and their daily life together. The film skips between Basil reminiscing about the past and speaking about the present but as the story unfolds the sad truth is gradually revealed.
Project Phoenix is an endeavour by FoxP2 together with co-directors Robin Goode and Karien Murray from Giant films to document the life-changing journey of a former gang member from a criminal to a welcomed member within society.
Rocket Man is a short film by Anton du Preez that won the Daazo Impossible Cannes film competition. It follows the story of Michael, an ex-human cannonball whose wife has sadly passed away and whose daughter has booked him into a nursing home. He spends his last day of freedom preparing for his final show as Rocket Man.
Set in the 1950s Sweetheart is a half hour long film produced by Be Phat Motel film company. When her husband and stepsons don’t return from a routine trip, a young housewife finds herself alone in their remote farmhouse. As it becomes clear that they are not coming back, she must force herself out of an aimless cycle, setting off to find them. What she finds instead is a seemingly derelict world, empty of all but a few dazed ‘survivors’. Unsure who, if anyone, to trust, she must navigate a series of strange encounters to find answers in a world that, with a undercurrent of future science beneath its surface, will reveal itself to be a marked alternative to the world we remember. You can rent or buy the film at africafilms.tv.
Ideas company & Anonymous launched with this conceptual, collaborative short film, Tri-Circ-Circ as a showcase of their style and tone. The majority of the material was shot near Ficksburg in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains and the surrounding farms.
For the SA launch of their limited edition Run Thru Time range of sneakers, adidas Originals created a trio of short films, each representing a style from the range. This film, inspired by the 90s, features the ZX 5000 Response and was shot in Johannesburg with Chris Saunders as director.
The multi award-winning music video for Ragga Bomb, Skrillex‘s collaboration with British jungle group Ragga Twins, was directed by SA’s own Terence Neale of Egg Films and shot in a post-apocalyptic Johannesburg and Alexandra. The video features rival, scavenger, street crews in a burning city where fierce dance groups are preparing for an upcoming showdown.
2BOP released this fun piece featuring B-boy Bax as a teaser film for their range LITEPHASE 02. It was directed by 2BOP’s own Bradley Abrahams together with Eeb Hajee.
Death of Tropics is a 2012 independent, low-fi short art film from Director Sibs Shongwe-La Mer & Producer/Cinematographer Kabeer Shaik.
Looking to the past and to the future simultaneously, director Porteus Xandau imagined a futuristic Anglo-Boer-Zulu war as the setting for this film piece. A sci-fi interpretation of historical events, ABZ-2079 is a portrait study of the Anglo-Boer-Zulu War (circa 2079 – 2084) explored through dance.
Umkhungo “The Gift” is an award-winning short film written and directed by Matthew Jankes. It was produced as part of the Focus Features Africa First programme and released in 2011. The film follows a disillusioned Johannesburg street thug who rescues an orphaned child with uncontrollable supernatural powers. On the run, he must help the sickly boy master his gift before a superstitious family member finds them.
“My Heritage, My Inheritance” is a fashion film directed by Takezito for Laduma Ngxokolo’s knitwear brand MAXHOSA by Laduma. The film aims to convey the concept behind the brand while at the same time showcasing the beauty and quality of Laduma’s products.
This short ‘documentary’, directed by Ben Jay Crossman, accompanied the launch of Roger Ballen’s book of photographs, Asylum of the Birds. With nods to the Surrealist classic Un Chien Andalou and that scene in John Waters’ ultra-grotesque Pink Flamingos, it’s a weird and unsettling journey into the subterranean nightmarish world where the characters and creatures of his photographs reside. It’s an internal world made real, which compounds and confuses what exactly ‘real’ is.
This 12 and a half minute documentary made by Meja L. Shoba profiles South African music duo, Dirty Paraffin, and provides an inside look at the making of their music.
Keys, Money, Phone is a short film directed by Roger Young and produced by Shanna Freedman starring the brilliantly cast Anton Taylor as a young and drunk jock experiencing a ‘total ‘mare’ of a night after losing his belongings. The film was named Best South African Short Film at the Durban International Film Festival last year. The film is available to rent or buy from Vimeo on Demand.
The video for Zaki Ibrahim’s ‘Draw the Line’ was directed by Jenna Bass. About the video, the musician said, “The draw the line story does show me, but not exactly. Coming from the Cape Flats and overcoming an environment with challenges such as poverty, drugs, sexual assault, and Post-Apartheid conditioning is no easy feat. Creating your own path and shining your light through adversity, taking everything that you’ve experienced and everything you are, is what the song is about.”
We’ll leave you with a montage of Elvis impersonators in the trailer for Ari Kruger’s ‘Elvis Tribute Artist’.