28 Apr Ana, Patrick and Nicolas | Bongani Vincent Shares The Making-Of His Award-Wining Short Film
Ana, Patrick and Nicolas, which won Best Student Short at the recent SAFTAs, tells the story of a polyamorous relationship that is traumatically interrupted. It’s a portrait of youth, young-love, and friendship. The short film’s writer and director, Bongani Vincent, shared the process of conceptualising and writing the script, casting the characters and bringing the story to life with us:
When I started writing the film, I wanted to explore how a polyamorous relationship could work and how and why anyone would choose this sort of relationship structure over the more traditional relationship. I was in love with two people at the time and the situation kept presenting itself in different ways around me. I also had three friends that were living together and two of them were dating and the third was a friend but they were so close they did everything together; it felt like a relationship, it had always been the three of them. It worked; somehow they had managed to get to a space where they were extremely comfortable with each other even though the one didn’t share the more intimate moments, like sex. Over the course of year and a half (2012, 2013), a lot of research, personal experience, writing and rewriting with help from the film’s Composer Clare Vandeluer and editor Alexa Skordi and Nonthutuko Mahlangu and friends, we slowly built a story around this situation.
One of the most important points in building the story was the love the three people had to share for the relationship to work. Relationships are very complicated as it is, adding another person to the mix surely makes things a whole lot more complicated. The dynamics of working with this kind of relationship were very interesting, especially in the early stages of the writing process. For example, everyone I spoke to about the story would without fail say “what about jealousy?” But this wasn’t the story I wanted to tell. In my research, the polyamorous couples I had spoken to and read about all said that jealousy was a part of the dynamic but was quickly resolved. It was a very controversial topic, it got people talking and that interested me; everyone had an opinion. We then had to choose what to introduce into the triad. We went to with a kind of ‘end of the world’ scenario.
At the beginning in 2013 it was Clare and I in the crew.We had been working together for about three years already. Our close friend Alexa then joined as Editor, who has a feeling for this kind of movie and liked the concept, and Nonthutuko join as cinematographer. I had Lauren Vankiersbilck in mind to play Ana from the beginning. But because of the subject matter it was a lot harder casting the roles of Patrick and Nicolas. The chemistry between the actors is what carries the film so this was very important. It was a month before shoot and we still didn’t have either leading males. Then we found Joseph Putter (Patrick) after about 20 auditions, who was in second year and a friend of Alexa’s. He was brilliant in his audition and understood and was willing to give himself to the role. Ntokozo Majozi joined as Nicolas, and suddenly everything clicked into place and we were ready to begin shooting.
We shot the film in September over 10 days with two mostly handheld cameras. Because the cast were improvising most of the dialogue we would play around with scenes, switch them up; the point was to have the film feel as natural as possible and for the performances to be believable. I wanted the audience to be a fly on the wall in a moment in these characters’ lives. This was also the motivation of having the film broken up into days, telling the story over a week with titles to distinguish the days.
Ana Patrick And Nicolas will be screening at the SANAA Film Fest at the Killarrney Mall on May 22nd at 20:00
Writer: Bongani Vincent
Director: Bongani Vincent
Producer: Gena du Plessis
Cinematographer: Nontuthoku Matlanga
Editor: Alexa Skordi
Visual Effects: Theo Muller
Sound Design: Jeanre Greyling, Renier van Niekerk & Danie Boshoff
Composer: Clare Vandeleur