19 Nov Fresh Meat: Meekaaeel Adam
Meekaaeel Adam is graduating from UCT this year, with a BA in Film & Media Production, having done a triple Major in Film, Media and Screen Production. His impressive CV makes him the first cinematographer in this year’s Graduate Series, Fresh Meat, and definitely someone to watch. Meekaaeel shared his journey thus far with us:
How and why did you become interested in film?
I actually applied to study Architecture at UCT, but got accepted for my second choice which was Film and Media. Although I’ve always had an interest in film, I can confidently say that studying film is where my appreciation for the ‘making’ thereof became a serious interest, specifically cinematography.
What has your experience as a student been like, and what valuable lessons have you learned along the way?
I’ve learned a lot about film making as a student, particularly in my Screen Production class. However most of what I’ve learned so far has come from practical experience. In first year I threw myself in the deep end, working on sets as an assistant with no experience. That was probably the best choice I’ve made so far. In terms of film making I personally think there is only so much you can learn from a text book and lecturers, the real learning process begins when you apply film theory in practice.
The most valuable lessons I’ve learned so far is if you want to be involved you’ve got to show it, and people will eventually take notice. Don’t let a budget determine the quality of your work either. It’s true that having a big budget can mean a better film, but it shouldn’t dictate your work ethos or creativity. In my opinion woking with a small budget actually promotes creativity.
I’ve also learned that having a thick skin is a definite requirement, since people in the industry can be as harsh as the job you’re carrying out, so work hard and don’t take it personally. Don’t let it stop you. If you’re not one for criticism then don’t bother trying at all.
Tell us about your final project at UCT.
My graduation film “The Kid” is a story about the collateral damage of abuse and violence, and essentially comments on how, under such circumstances, there is an inevitable cycle that continues from one generation to another. The film is layered with subliminal messages which comments on the history of South Africa, the classification system and race relations. All these messages are tied up neatly into a story of revenge that spans fifty years.
The Kid was accepted into the Class of 2013 Cape Winelands Film Festival, and nominated for Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Editor! We’re entering it at other film festivals next year, so hold thumbs!
How would you describe your personal style, and what influences it?
I find it difficult defining my own style. I think is nearly impossible to claim anything as your own exclusive style in this industry. Also, I prefer to move from one genre to another without being limited. I’m still moving and learning so maybe that’s a question I’ll be able to answer in a couple of years. At the moment I’m greatly influenced by Robert Richardson, Newton Thomas Sigel, Michael Ballhaus and Tim Maurice-Jones.
Describe your dream job.
My dream job would be to work as the director of photography on a full length feature with Martin Scorsese or Guy Ritchie.
What are you busy with at the moment?
I’m one of the camera operators for Jozi Shore, and I work part time for Enigma Ace films. I’m also doing freelance work, and I’m in the process of finding a fixed position as an in-house D.O.P.
What are your plans for the future?
For now I’ll stay in Cape Town, grow, learn and film as much as I can. In the long term I hope to develop my own production company – I know it’s common but what can I say, everybody wants to be their own boss! It’s either that or I go and work full-time for Scorsese.
Check out Meekaaeel’s impressive CV on Linkedin.