Our RAK Nomination
Our RAK Nomination done last week. Thanks to all at Picture Tree, and Peter and Chris for helping out.
Vehicle 19 Opens in Jozi.
Vehicle 19, the action thriller that opens locally on August 9th, has given South African filmmaking a significant boost with its strong showing in close to 30 film markets.
Starring Paul Walker of Varsity Blues, The Fast and the Furious and Fast Five fame, Vehicle 19 features a nearly all South African production team, cast and music soundtrack.
The film centres on an unsuspecting traveller (Walker) who picks up the wrong rental car when he arrives in South Africa and soon finds himself tangled in a web of corruption. It also stars Naima Mclean (Generations; Wild At Heart) and Gys de Villiers (Binnelanders).
New York Magazine’s Vulture blog praised Vehicle 19 for its riveting car crashes. “For starters, the camera never leaves the car, which means that it’s waiting there before Michael even steps inside, and it seems to keep him there over the course of the film; it’s not just a camera, it’s a force of destiny,” the online publication states. “This is also an excellent gimmick for shooting car chases, and a far cry from the gloriously ridiculous CGI theatrics of the Fast and Furious films.”
Vehicle 19 was directed and written by South Africa’s Mukunda Michael Dewil, (one of Picture Tree’s directors) whose success with the action thriller has already seen his next project picked up by Koch Media for Germany through a deal with worldwide sales company, K5 International.
The R34-million film was funded internationally as well as locally by the IDC, the DTI rebate and by Gary King of Picture Tree. Ryan Haidarian of Forefront Media and Peter Safran from US-based The Peter Safran Company produced the film.
Picture Tree’s executive producer, Gary King, reports that the success of Vehicle 19 globally has seen the film move into a profit phase. King also served as Vehicle 19’s Line Producer and executive producer.
“The positive reception to Vehicle 19 in markets as diverse as Japan and Russia is a significant boost to the South African film industry,” comments King.
“It shows that we are able to access international and local funding and attract a strong lead actor to a South African film that is internationally marketable. This is a real step in the right direction for taking local filmmaking to a new and exciting level.”
Alongside director and writer Dewil, Vehicle 19 – which was shot entirely in Johannesburg - features a predominantly South African cast and production team including director of photographer, Miles Goodall.
With a score by James Matthes and Daniel Matthee of Pressure Cooker Studios, a powerful feature of Vehicle 19 is the inclusion of several original songs by high-profile South African artists. Teargas’ “This Year” opens up the action as Walker drives into Johannesburg from the airport and the kwaito outfit’s “Go Away” is also featured alongside Perfecto’s “Stand Up” and Die Antwoord’s “Liewe Maatjies”.
Dewil is again working with Picture Tree on Drop, his in-development action thriller.
According to reports, Koch Media bought the project off Dewil’s screenplay, which is set on Table Mountain in Cape Town. This time, Dewil’s script revolves around the kidnapping of the US Vice-President by terrorists who trap him in Table Mountain’s cable car before demanding the delivery of the Cullinan Diamond. Expert base jumper and special ops officer James Conner is the only one who can prevent the death of the VP.
“The fact that Koch Media has already taken Drop is yet further confirmation of their belief that another South African film has the ability to be marketed internationally – and that’s a great sign for the future of local filmmaking,” says King.
Fausto Becatti shoots new Spoek video
Picture Tree’s Fausto Becatti helms hot new Spoek Mathambo video
Picture Tree’s Fausto Becatti is the director behind Spoek Mathambo’s brand new video for Diesel+EDUN’s Studio Africa project.
Titled “Awufuni” - or “You Should Have Called (My Heart)” - the clip is a colour-saturated, high-energy tribute to modern women that also exposes the vibrancy, creativity, and rich culture of South Africa.
“I wanted to celebrate exciting modern women – the strength of it, the fun of it, the flavor of it,” Spoek says of the track.
Featured on the musician, rapper and producer’s recent mixtape, Escape from ‘85, “Awufuni” is Mathambo’s take on the song of the same name by an old school South African girl group from the 60s, Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje (“Women of the now”).
“A group of five girls form a futuristic gang, in a surreal way,” says Becatti of the core creative concept of the video.
“There’s a main storyline where Spoek is on a date with this girl and she leads him into this scrapyard. He eventually tries to escape but she chases him and the girls then tie him up and perform this ritualistic dance around him.”
In creating the storyboard, Becatti added his vision to Spoek’s inspiration for the video. The two had been looking for an opportunity to work together since meeting earlier in 2013. “When the Diesel+EDUN’s Studio Africa project came along, Spoek and I knew the perfect opportunity had presented itself,” comments Becatti.
Creating “Awufuni” was a multinational effort that was spearheaded by VICE Magazine on behalf of Diesel+EDUN. Edun, a clothing label founded by Bono’s wife, Ali Hewson, has worked with Diesel on a two-season clothing collection with the most recent one being a 35-piece denim focused collection entirely manufactured in Africa with CCI cotton from Uganda.
The video’s cross-continental creative collaboration stretched from Italy (Diesel) to London (Vice), New York (Edun), Sweden (where Mathambo lives) and Johannesburg, where Becatti and Picture Tree are located.
Shot in a scrapyard in the south of Johannnesburg,”Awufuni” showcases some amazing South Africa talent, including four professional dancers - Robyn Brophy, Melissa Flerangile, Sne Mbatha and Tebogo Ribane. Street casting in Soweto also unearthed a major new talent in schoolgirl, Amanda Magi who plays the main girl gang member and “cat lady”.
“She has something about her – an electricity. I’m excited for her to get her chance to do what she does best,” says Mathambo of Magi’s performance in the video.
The Becatti-helmed “Awufuni” is part of the second season of Diesel and Edun’s Studio Africa. The Autumn/Winter 2013 initiative sees Studio Africa champion three African musicians – Spoek, Faarrow and Olugbuenga.
Crew members included:
Director Fausto Becatti
Art Director Adi Koen
Make-up Amy Anstey
Wardrobe Samantha Constable
Producer Scott Njumbuxa
Executive Producer Gary King
Title Design Caryn Oberholzer
Sound Design Freqncy (Nathi Luthango & Motsi Tekateka
Edit & Grade Warwick Allan @ Mushroom Media
The DOP on “Awufuni” was David Pienaar and the video was shot mostly on Steadicam (Chris Vermaak) to minimize time between set-ups. The use of the Steadicam also allowed for quick dynamic movements, and equally quick changes as the camera is rolling. “Because there were so many set-ups to be nailed in a 12-hour period, this seemed the most logical choice,” comments Becatti. “The shoot day was on the second shortest day of the year in terms of daylight hours, and so it was exceptionally challenging to pull of, and the time constraints were very tight.” The video was shot on RED Epic, using Cooke S4 mini’s, the Allura Zoom lens, and for the super wide shots, the Nikkor 8mm Fish-eye. The choice was made to shoot in 1:2.39 aspect ratio for its cinematic qualities, given the narrative aspect.