When an actress relinquishes her identity for a role within a film she finds herself spiraling through an identity crisis which forces her to either conform to her role within the film or rebel in order to once again reclaim her identity.
Interview with Writer/Director Azissa Ngwenya
Why did you make your film?
At our Film School, AFDA in South Africa, we got the opportunity to make an experimental film. This had a particular appeal because we could let our creativity flow. A chance to get out of the conventions that we were taught at the time, Escapism. We had a chance to say something about the society we live in and chose to do it as a commentary on what actresses put themselves through in order to “make it”.
Imagine I am a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Audience members will relate to the struggles that Erica faces in her career. This is something universal that people deal with no matter who you are, what job you do or where you live. It’s a story about being true to yourself.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Our film explores daunting universal themes such as Existence, but is grounded through the personal experience of our protagonist as she struggles through an identity crisis. Our narrative mimics the everyday systems that we see within our reality. The concept stems from the idea that society in some way is “scripted” and we are all characters within it, defying the script would be defying the world you live in. Conformity is inevitable, but we still need people to notice what is happening and when they can try and act according to their own judgement.
How has the script and film evolved over the course of their development.
The script began like a Jackson Pollock painting, all chaos, and no symmetry. But it needed meaning in all the chaos and I needed it to have a purpose. The task became too frustrating, so I changed scripts which made a few people less nervous, but I quickly became aware that working on a script out of convenience wasn’t the way to go. So I went back to the original script and through meetings with my crew members, we worked out the kinks. We discussed it for many hours, and did a lot of research. The script was then battered and beaten with scrutiny until we planned for as much as we could. The script's final draft was risky at best but there came a time to shoulder its responsibility, win or lose. And then during the editing process, we discovered a non linear structure that made the story into what it always wanted to be.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We’ve mostly received great feedback. Our Film School liked it so much that they sent it to the other campuses around South Africa during our experimental Film Festival 2016. Although our approach was radical, it’s intended meaning came through better than anticipated and people were so intrigued after they saw it, that they discussed with one another what it meant for them.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Yes, certain ideas of feminism came to question. The film has many powerful overriding themes and ideas, and to have feminism dominate was a pleasant surprise. We never really realised that our crew had such a large female participation. It was always just “the crew”. We were a family and didn’t even notice that 60% of the crew were girls.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We would like to gain more exposure for our crew. We had 6 out of 10 crew members being women in key roles such as producer, cinematographer, editor, etc. We also want people to watch the film and allow their pre-conceived ideas to change so that other artists, who might be even more talented than us, can speak their truth and let their own voices be heard.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We need investors and producers who might believe in the concept to help us take the film to the next step. We want to take the story to the whole world and discuss the themes it portrays with other industry professionals who might have different ideas on what it truly says about our society.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
We want people to start talking! They should be brave enough to try and question the things around them. There are all these rules that society sets up for us, and we want people to ask why and argue their own perspectives. You never know what you might learn, or what possibilities might present themselves when you do.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
It should be “Why are these things expected from women in any career?” People should start with “Yes, I agree, but…” or “No, you’re not explaining yourself”. We want people to talk about how they felt watching the film or what it meant for them. People should come out of the film and discuss it with their friends or colleagues. Whether it’s a simple “I didn’t like it”, or a “what we’re these students actually trying to say?” It should be unique to each person.
Would you like to add anything else?
If you’re in Cannes during the Short Film Corner, please come and support the film! The more people see it, the better. We would also love to speak with people about the film if they have questions or opinions.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
The director, Azissa Ngwenya, is finalizing his first feature length script and trying to acquire funding, the film is a South African coming of age story. The cinematographer, Jasmine Corryndon-Baker, is currently working as a focus puller on a SA feature film. The editor, Stephanie Kyriakou, is also continuing her writing and is working on a new script idea, while working free lance in the South African film industry. And finally, the Sound Designer/VFX artist, Jaco van Bosch, is doing his honours degree and has swapped disciplines to Directing/Writing. He is in pre-production for his 24-minute short film debut set to shoot in August.
Interview: May 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
When an actress relinquishes her identity for a role within a film she finds herself spiraling through an identity crisis which forces her to either conform to her role within the film or rebel in order to once again reclaim her identity
Length: 7 min 12 sec
Director: Azissa Ngwenya
Producer: Claudia Lima
Writer: Azissa Ngwenya
About the writer, director and producer:
Director: Azissa Ngwenya is a writer/Director from South Africa who studied film making at AFDA Film School Johannesburg. He is a young, vibrant creative person.
Producer: Claudia Lima is producer who finished her degree in the field also at AFDA in 2016. She is motivated, persistent and gets things done when needed.
Key cast: Angela O’Reilly – Erika
Renier Rautenbach - Adrian
Looking for: producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Social media handles:
Made in association with: AFDA Film School, Johannesburg
Where can I see it in the next month: http://www.afda.co.za/student-work/360/2/scene/