The Refinery team outside their Johannesburg studio
The Refinery team outside their Johannesburg studio. (Photo: Refinery Post Production /

Among the films chosen to have gala premieres at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival are three with which Johannesburg-based Refinery, one of Africa's leading post-production facilities, was closely involved.

The 41st edition of the Toronto Film Festival runs from 8 to 18 September. The festival is arguably the word's most influential movie meet outside of Cannes; its People's Choice Award - it has no jury awards - is widely seen as an Oscar nominations indicator.

Refinery's post-production expertise will be showcased by UK-South Africa co-production The Journey is the Destination, Uganda-South Africa co-production Queen of Katwe, and Amma Asante's biopic of Seretse Khama, A United Kingdom.

Refinery MD Tracey Williams told that The Journey is the Destination was "undoubtedly the film I am the most proud of".

The Journey tells the story of late photojournalist, artist and activist Dan Eldon, who abandoned a comfortable life in London to document the struggle, heartbreak and hope of a war-torn and famine-ridden region of Africa.

'Most extensive post-production work on a film ever done in SA'

Refinery was involved in all aspects of post-production from the beginning, from dailies through to final delivery. "The post-production work on this film was probably the most extensive that has been done on any film in South Africa," Williams said.

The Refinery team were responsible for creating that motion graphic sequences that bring Eldon's inspiring journals to life in film. "We had the opportunity to supervise and then execute some fantastic VFX work - matte paintings, set extensions, explosions, CG helicopters and clean-up work."

Director Bronwen Hughes based herself in Johannesburg for two months while completing The Journey, spending weeks with Refinery's team as they created a sound-track that could do justice to the film's amazing visuals. From crowd ADR to the smallest sound effect, every detail of the sound was painstakingly crafted.

Hughes 'most rewarding, open to creative collaboration'

According to Williams, Hughes "was a most rewarding director to work with. Although she had this film very firmly mapped out in her mind, it did not stop her from inviting creative collaboration".

For Queen of Katwe, Mira Nair's vibrant true story of a Ugandan street girl whose world changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, Refinery handled dailies and provided editorial resources and infrastructure both in Uganda and South Africa.

Lastly, Refinery supplied and set up editorial infrastructure for A United Kingdom, which tells the true story of Seretse Khama, first president of Botswana post-independence, and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission