mar-screenwriters
Annemie and Linda Lombard
Probably few people in the Gauteng filmmaking community have heard about the Lombards, a family with a big heart for the arts and entertainment industry.

They definitely are an artistic family � Annemie is an actress, singer and screen writer, Linda a screen writer, the mother Gerda writes for the local paper, the Eisteddfod, while the father is a part time singer, �who could soon become a tenor�.

Now their newest claim to fame is that the two sisters have recently had scripts accepted for reads by some of Hollywood�s biggest filmmaking names.

The family hails from Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, and their daughters - Annemie (younger) and Linda (elder) believe they could become among the biggest stars in South African film.
The two have �sold a feature film script for option� and their material has been requested for numerous reads by big Hollywood production companies such as Wendy Finerman Productions and Spring Creek Productions.

To both Annemie and Linda, this achievement means that as screenwriters they are now connected to the international film industry. �Getting your ideas and scripts out there to be read, is the first very important step to become successful and we would like to achieve that in South Africa as well,� comments Annemie.

The last two years have seen Annemie traveling between Hollywood and Johannesburg on film education and networking trips. She has also been in Los Angeles, where she competed and came up tops in a tough worldwide acting competition. �As an actress, what I have achieved when I qualified to go to LA to compete in acting means that Hollywood is not unreachable or unrealistic to me, to South Africa and to the African continent,� she says.

Annemie says that at the moment she and her writing partner, Linda, have several scripts in �pre-writing� and completed to pitch and market.

She views her partnership with Linda as a great team.

�We have big ideas for movies and our minds work alike.  Because I'm the actress, to me placing myself in the script helps to see what an actor would want from his or her character and with my sister as a very creative writer, she can create a clear image to the reader of the script to visualise this as close to our vision as possible.

�And those are the two most important parts of the script: your characters, who they are and how they develop and the storyline, which has a perfect beginning, middle and plot and how creating a scene on paper paints a mental picture to the actor, director and/or the producer when this script is being read.  But many factors contribute to what we consider to write,� she explains.

What comparisons, so far have they made between Hollywood and South Africa? Linda replies: �South Africa has the potential to achieve what Hollywood has achieved.  The only difference is that South Africa limits itself to what should be filmed and Hollywood has no limit.�

What films are they likely to make if they could get good funding? Linda purrs:  �The kind of film we would take on would definitely be an �unrealistic�, as many would call it, mind blowing action or fantasy.  Like Jurassic Park and Matrix were the first of their kind, we would definitely like to take on something which has not been seen before and a great budget to allow us to use the latest technology to create first time effects, etc.�

Annemie attributed their creative minds to an obsession with movies since childhood. �We got our inspiration from movies itself and how we have watched them from a young age, I�m talking since the age when we were able to understand what we see on TV.  This developed our minds to see how far we can go with a film and developed a natural talent for screenwriting as well.

�It�s like putting a five year old in front of a piano, when that child is twenty, playing piano is a natural thing,� she explains.

One of the major reasons for the duo�s success has been the family�s persistent backing. �Our family support is awesome.  Our mom and dad are 200% behind us and there is no limit to how far they would go to support us to become major screenwriters and to support me in becoming the actress I want to be,� says Annemie.

What do they think about South Africa�s filmmaking industry and why?

�South Africa is definitely heading in the right direction in filmmaking.  A �Hollywood-like� film studio will soon be up in Cape Town and South Africa has become so popular and in demand to be used as a filming location,� says Linda, adding that �It�s great for the SA film industry because it allows our film industry to get in touch with international film makers.�

Her concern, though, is that the local industry is not �open to enough ideas�.  She can understand this, as she thinks completing a type of movie which South Africa have not done before is viewed as �a risk � but then, so are all movies.�

�You can�t ever really forecast how a movie will do.  But South African filmmakers would be surprised as to what the country is open to watch on screen.�

Annemie and Linda are managed by their mother, under the family outfit GAL Productions.

Despite their hit with Hollywood, they were still dumbfounded by the response of the industry at home. Says Linda: �That�s what is so weird, for us it was easier breaking into the international movie business but locally it�s harder.  It�s so funny, here in South Africa, and it happened quite a few times, when we wanted to pitch our TV series or movies. Some of the producers started giving us advice about screenwriting and suggested we go for writing courses even before we pitched our work.  They didn�t even read the scripts to see if we need to go for screenwriting classes or not.

�With the Hollywood producers, they request the script and if the script is well written then that�s it.  If they see you can write, then they know you can write.  The only thing is it might just not be the exact type of movie they are looking for at that moment.  So you have to keep on trying��

Linda says their near future goals would be to �of course receive good news� from one of the Hollywood studios reading their scripts as well as to get one of their television dramas on South African screens.