Alexandra Team during the shootAlexandra Team during the shootThe Gauteng Film Commission supported seven teams of young Gauteng film-makers from various townships of Gauteng including Diepsloot, Alexandra, Mamelodi, Orange Farm, Nellmapius, Evaton, Carletonville & Fochville in the West Rand. The teams competed in the 48Hour Film Project, an international contest in which the teams had to produce a movie between Friday evening 22nd  September and Sunday evening 24th September 2017.

The competition began at 6.00pm sharp on Friday 22nd September where the teams had to go and pick genres for their films. Using only modest equipment, the teams had to strategise, write scripts, film and edit a short movie, find locations and actors and deliver the final product by Sunday evening.

Jack Khunou, founder of The Big Tennis Production from Nellmapius, near Pretoria, said he was immensely grateful to GFC for all the support they had provided and for the great work they are doing.

His team was given the choice of “anti-war” or science fiction, and chose to go with science fiction. The pressure was intense, but, working with a young and inexperienced team of “newbies”, he learnt very quickly that he was obliged to adapt. “At minimum, you have to adjust to the level of the experience you have available.”

Evaton team during Post ProductionEvaton team during Post ProductionWhat he learnt from the experience was how to handle a diverse team. “We were not from the same background, we did not have the same output on certain things, we did not see things the same way, so I had to mobilise the team to relate to one another and be one family to complete the task.” What his team learned, was that regardless of how limited the time, you can adapt to work within that.

Cleo Matuwane, team leader of DiepArtment from Diepsloot, said this was the first time she had worked as a producer – previously she had worked as a production secretary. Her team made a movie called “Requiem”, in which a female doctor dozes off in her office, then has a dream in which she has gone on holiday with her lover.

She said the process had been very difficult. “We did manage. We had to write a script, shoot, edit and produce under pressure. There were a lot of emotions running around.” She said she had never worked with members of her team before, and the fact that they first had to get to understand where they were all coming from added to the difficulty of the task. But what she found most valuable was that for the first time, she had the opportunity to get involved with every aspect of film production from the camera work to the editing and post-production.

Diepsloot teamDiepsloot teamThabo Ramaine, team leader of the group from Merafong City on the West Rand, said they chose to make a horror movie, which they called "My Darkest Age". The film is about a 17 year-old boy who is fighting to overcome obstacles of the past. He always fills his head with written poetry, just to escape demons of his subconscious that always pulls him back to the dark past.

The team found the experience worthwhile. ”One thing we learnt, is that the challenge was a test to us to evaluate ourselves working under pressure. It was about how we could keep focus under a speeding time of 48 hours and truly know our strengths and weakness in working as a team.”

Nellmapius team after drop off with Natalie DelportNellmapius team after drop off with Natalie Delport
“It needed patience, endurance, and lots of improvising when things were not going as they were planned. Like we couldn't get suitable locations in time to shoot some scenes. We had to improvise by using the locations we had, making changes to suit our concept. So in that way the team learnt to be creative, as quickly as we could, in order to achieve our goal in a given particular time. And we learnt that the filming industry is not easy, it needs hard workers and creative minds.”

Mongi Maphipha of Alexandra, founder of Refined Talent Entertainment, said that his team drew the categories of Action, Adventure or Sport, and decided to go with an action film fused with sport. They worked really fast, and were done by 9.00am on Sunday, well before the deadline. “We had hiccups here and there,” he admitted. They had hired a cast of actors – who failed to arrive on the morning of the shoot. “But we made one or two calls and we were sorted. We started shooting at 10am Saturday. We were done at 15h00.”

“The high pressure experience was worthwhile. What I learned from the experience was patience. The team was great, but editing and exporting can test a man's patience. We had to sit there doing almost nothing from 15h00 Saturday till 8am Sunday while the editor was doing his job.”

West Rand team during the shoot.West Rand team during the shoot.Zwelibanzi Tshabalala from Sokaa Film Production of Orange Farm, said he was grateful to the GFC for bringing together for the first time people who lived in the same community and were interested in film, but who did not know one another. His team, which consisted of 15 people including the actors, made a “buddy movie” about the relationship between a doctor and a teenager with abusive parents. Before they started the movie, they had decided on roles for each person, and they managed to stick to that. What was most valuable was the way that they had all managed to learn and grow together, how the relationship between strangers had become stronger. He had also learnt about the importance of strong time management and disciplined team work.

Philippe Kouakou, Managing Director of Fayah Pictures, led a team from Evaton, near the Vaal. They chose the concept of “Anti-War” and made a film about an anti-war activist who, caught in a battle between two rival gangs, lays down his life in order for peace to be. “The pressure of the 48 Hour Film Project is worthwhile and somehow very necessary for all filmmakers to undergo,” he said. What the team learned was the necessity of discipline. “Keeping proper time and schedules; allocating responsibilities and delivery, ensuring knowledge of the screenplay, acting and emotions, the necessity of thorough paper-work and more.”

Thabo Zitha of Kalkop Productions in Mamelodi, said the experience was “wonderful, but stressful”. He was grateful to the GFC for providing his team of 17 people with transport from Pretoria to Johannesburg, and for keeping them going through the nights with refreshments. His team made the ambitious choice of making a musical, in which a girl who is a drug addict comes back to her senses after a song is sung. For this they had composed their own original music at the production stage, to accompany singing by an actress. GFC had provided them with permits for locations, one a park, one at the top of a mountain, but due to pressure of time, they were not able to use either, and the film was produced entirely in a house. “We learnt to work as a team. Ideas were many, but we had to all agree on going with just one.”The Orange Farm team at work. Unfortunately the cameraman, Njabulo Mvelase was killed after completing the 48hour film project. May his soul rest in peaceThe Orange Farm team at work. Unfortunately the cameraman, Njabulo Mvelase was killed after completing the 48hour film project. May his soul rest in peace