Last month filmmaker Bongani Vincent and DOPs Dylan Boerstra and Ruan Vanjaarsveld traveled the 113km dirt road in the Karoo that leads into the heart of the Tankwa desert where once a year the AfrikaBurn festival sets the martian landscape ablaze in a reverie of lights, artworks, fire and radical self-expression. Here’s Bongani’s account of the experience and making this haunting, surreal short film.
I began this project with no idea what to expect and was really excited because of it. We wanted to produce a video of the festival from an abstract and more emotion driven point of view. I wanted to create a visually haunted video piece that focused on the people at AfrikaBurn. It was an interesting experience making this video as it was one of the cinematographer’s and my first time at the festival, so we shot with this in mind and put a lot of attention on a first time experience at the burn.
The voices came in later, we wanted to experiment with sampled voices and meaning as another element for the obscure tone we were going for. The words give a feeling to the festival, they tell a varied story of the people and experiences that are felt and experience there.
Song: Balam Acab Fragile Hope. Words excerpts from: Alicia Ostriker Utopian // Alli Warren Our Portrait Exceeds Us // Brenda Hillman Some Kinds of Forever Visit You // David Tomas Martinez Prayer // Gretchen Marquette Song For the Festival // Jeffrey Harrison Last Advice // Martha Rhodes The World, How // Nathan Parker Prayer // Patrick Rosal Children Walk on Chairs to Cross a Flood Schoolyard // Robert Ostrom With My Brother // Stephanie Ford Lullaby for Anyone // Vi Khi Nao Fog