"If you wait for inspiration before you get up in the morning, you will possibly spend a lot more time in bed." Pieter van der Westhuizen

The premiere screening of Chickens Can Fly, a documentary life portrait of celebrated artist Pieter van der Westhuizen, was held at the Cinema Nouveau in Cedar Square last month (22 February 2010). In Focus attended, together with a large group of invited guests, and was treated to 41 minutes of a deeply moving portrayal of this famous South African artist who

Chickens can fly
died last year.

Created by executive producers Paulene Abrey and Luaan Hong of Gauteng-based post production house Deep End Films, the documentary is an artistic portrayal of a great man and his vision of life. It invites viewers to travel along with him through his experiences and triumphs. The documentary includes interviews with himself, family and close personal friends, as well as footage of former president FW de Klerk, who was a great friend of van der Westhuizen and recipient of some of his works.

The catalyst for Deep End's subject choice was that van der Westhuizen was ailing and both Abrey and Hong have a great passion for art. Chickens Can Fly follows his life path, his life's truths and heartaches, and presents the revelations of great joy and spiritual triumph of his work.

"We commenced shooting in August 2008," says Abrey "and when we filmed van der Westhuizen at his home in Philadelphia in the Cape, he was clearly not well. We shot again in September 2009 and he died shortly after."

The quality of the production is excellent and some of the shots are works of art in themselves. This was undoubtedly helped by the sensitive camera work of DOP Paul Kruger, and the use of the ultra high quality RED camera. Editing was by Schalk van der Merwe, the sound was mixed by Mark Philips and the narration was by Marius Weyers.

The clever and sensitive use of music also contributed to what elevates this documentary into the classic mould. "We would like to do more art-related productions," concludes Abrey. "However, Chickens Can Fly will be our calling card, and will be entered into all the documentary festivals. We are hoping for an international sale."

To view the trailer and read more about the documentary, go to www.chickenscanfly.co.za.