Film Doesn’t Always Have to Make Sense

I promised myself earlier this week that I would spend some time immersing myself in the work of Debora Prado. She started following me recently on Twitter and from there, I found their website. She’s a really talented visual artist.

I watched all the video clips she has of her film work. It’s unabashedly conceptual and visually striking. I watched U for Una who Slipped Down a Drain and Janela a few times. At first, I was trying to parse them with my ‘rational’ film mind – where’s the story, what’s the point? Then, after the 3rd or 4th viewing, I reminded myself that it’s meant to be conceptual. I actually found that upon this realization, I felt my mind ease, as if a nervous grip on a steering wheel relaxed, and I could just appreciate it for what it is.

Beautiful imagery of a young woman in Janela.


Deft lighting in the opening frames of Una.


After a while, working in the film industry as an entrepreneur dulls your senses; you think in terms of good story, good action, and good production. Going through her work encourages me to get back into a routine that I had last year of visiting art galleries every Saturday morning to train my artistic eye.

I just need to think of a concept…

OLR – “Burn After Reading”

A really excellent film. Entertaining, well-written, and superbly acted by a cohesive ensemble cast. I can’t believe that Brad Pitt finally did some real acting – shocking. The screenplay is tight and the cinematography is well-lit and expressive.

Posted in Film by minademian

OLR – “Rachel Getting Married”

A really fine film. Anne Hathaway in her finest role that I’ve seen. The characters are well developed and the script is powerfully poignant. As the top note of a perfume, the soundtrack by Zafer Tawil is outstanding. A film to learn from on all levels.

Posted in Film by minademian

From a Line Comes a Idea, Comes a Film

One of the short film concepts I’m working on is one about a woman who finds meaning to her difficult and conflicted life through elaborate rituals at her makeup table. I blogged about this a while back here. [Aside, it’s funny – I posted that exactly a year ago. I will really make this film this year! Stop smirking.]

I mentioned in my last post how my process for fleshing out a film used to be going on a single image or phrase or brain-picture, and going with it. With this film – working title right now I Feel Pretty -, it started out just like that.

It was 2007 and I was sitting in the editing suite at Open Window in Pretoria, waiting for the rendering to finish on my first documentary that I had made in London. I was staring at the wall, then the monitor, then the wall. So, I was looking around for a magazine or someone’s assignment that I could read. (You wouldn’t believe the ish people leave around.) So, I found a piece of paper with some random scribbles and then the following line:

“When I put on my makeup, I feel pretty.”

I’ll try to find the original clipping to verify the exact wording. I found the words nevertheless fascinating and my imagination went for a roadtrip, exploring all the possibilities you could on film with a concept like that.

So, with Victor’s process now in my toolbox, I sat in Mugg ‘n’ Bean Rosebank a week or so ago, and started fleshing out the main characters of the story. I wrote pages and pages of backstory. I feel really confident about the film now; I feel I have a much more solid foundation to work with rather than just a single image or word-image.

I’ve got two people already interested in playing the main characters.

Stay tuned!

Writing with Victor

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with Victor Neusteter to workshop a new script for a project that I was in pre-production for. Yeah. Some background.

So, last year September, a little while before my car accident, I was approached by a young screenwriter studying at a vocational centre for screenwriters. He was looking for a production company to help him produce his film that he had written.

I engaged with him on the project, even as I recovered from the accident and dealt with everything at the time. And so began a long and slow process to transform the script from a sprawling story to something I could put my name and company name on. It wasn’t the best, but I was happy with it as a first project. So, this past January, we officially went into pre-production. We started looking for crew and actors. I started looking for directors.

I had met Victor at an acting workshop earlier this year at Fusion Studio. I got his details and gave him my card. I contacted him later about the project and we met up. I told him about the project and gave him the script. Yeah. He hated it. He wanted to go back to the drawing board with it because he liked the basic idea. I got a second opinion from Suzanne Brenner at ProWrite and she confirmed Victor’s feelings although she felt that we could do something with the basic idea in the original screenplay.

I decided to take the plunge, bring the project back to development stage, and come up with a completely new script.

Background done.

In the quiet and serene silence of Victor’s bachpad, we bashed out the characters and basic plotline. I learnt a lot from him and the time spent. I had gone about my scripts in a far more sporadic fashion before, building it around a single image or idea. Victor’s more methodical and systematic approach gifted me a methodology that I can now apply to any project.  Thanks, Herr Victor!

I don’t want to give away too much right now, but it’s a heist film based in South Africa with a very dark and cynical touch.

Stay tuned!

OLR – “Quantum Solace”

Quantum Solace is the best Bond film of the last 10 years. Far more real-world and flawed, Craig’s Bond shows the conflicted side of an agent turned cold killer turned redeemed agent again. Beautifully photographed and the Scorcese-type quick succession of shots is well-done.

Posted in Film by minademian

OLR – “Funny People”

Funny People is a really funny film in now the established school of Apatow comedy. Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler make a good comedic duo, and the film didn’t rely on gags or too many cliches. Relying on a good script and a solid story won the day. Loads of hilarious cameos and walk on’s as celebrities play themselves. Adam Sandler in his most serious role, in the spirit of “Reign Over Me” and “Punch Drunk Love”.

Review by New York Times – do you guys agree or disagree?

Posted in Film by minademian

Introducing One Line Reviews

It started from my regular status updates on Facebook where I would post one line reviews in my status about films I’ve watched.

I thought that it would be a good way to ensure regular content on here, since I watch a lot of films, and to then prompt me to write longer, more complete reviews later.

So, you’ll see One Line Reviews (OLRs for short) and then the name of the film I’ve watched. Sometimes, it will literally be one line and other times it will be a “journalistic” one line, maybe held together by a few commas or periods. Grammar purists, relax before you go on the prowl. 🙂

Hope you enjoy them. 🙂

Posted in Film by minademian